By UCLA Anderson October 18, 2014 Leave a Comment

Today's application tips are all about UCLA Anderson's letter of recommendation.  For those of you applying in Round 1, it's likely you've already contacted your recommendation provider and filled that person in on its purpose.  If you're still searching for the best person to write the recommendation letter, whether it be for Round 1 or in the future, I hope the tips below are useful!

The letter of recommendation is an important component of the application because it provides a third party's perspective on your leadership and management potential, readiness/fit for business school, interpersonal skills and teamwork abilities.  We prefer a letter from your direct supervisor whenever possible. However, we understand that circumstances may prevent you from asking your current supervisor; in this case an indirect supervisor (people who have overseen projects you’ve worked on, a manager from another department, etc.) is a good option, as well as former employers, clients (especially for those of you who are self-employed) and supervisors from extracurricular organizations. I would steer away from academic references (i.e., a professor from a class you took) because the questions on the recommendation form are best answered by someone with whom you work(ed).  In free-response questions, generic answers will not be as helpful as detailed ones with specific examples.  As such, having an executive with whom you have little direct experience working for write your recommendation won't be as helpful as a manager you work with daily, who has seen your professional growth and impact firsthand.

After selecting your recommendation provider, it's very important to spend some time prepping that person on the letter's purpose and what we're looking for.  This is the only part of the application that you don't write yourself (I hope!) but you can definitely provide input by discussing your reasons for going to business school and post-MBA career plans, and by refreshing your recommender on your accomplishments in the workplace.  It's a small investment of time on your part, but your recommender will absolutely appreciate your insight because it will make their job easier!

What are your questions about the letter of recommendation? Let us know in the comments or send us an email.

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