November 26, 2021

Advice on Your Letters of Recommendation

This week the University of Chicago Booth School of Business offered some excellent advice on your letters of recommendation. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We’re sharing it in full because it captures most schools’ recommendation preferences so well. Enjoy:


Booth’s Advice

“You’ve been working diligently on your application, which means you recognize that the letters of recommendation are an important part of the process. Your recommenders’ letters allow the admissions committee to view your candidacy through the unique context of a third-party point of view. Given how often we get asked about recommendations, we thought we’d share answers to the most commonly asked questions so you can select the best recommenders and submit your application.


Who should I select for my first recommender?
The first letter of recommendation should come from your current supervisor. This individual can offer intimate knowledge of your impact in and across the organization. If it’s not feasible to ask your current supervisor—perhaps you’re in a new job, or it may jeopardize your standing—that’s okay. Choose another professional contact with relevant knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, such as a client, business partner, or prior supervisor. Just be sure to explain why you are not selecting your current supervisor.


What about selecting my second recommender?
While there is no preference on who you select to write the second letter, don’t immediately target the person with the most impressive title, a notable name, or the Booth alumni you met briefly at an event. Instead, opt for someone who can speak to recent, specific examples of your performance and contributions. Consider how their perspective will offer new dimensions and insight into your candidacy. The best recommender is the person who knows you well, and can provide insight into your personal character and potential for success. We are paying more attention to the content and substance of the recommendation than we are to the recommender’s reputation.


How can I best prepare both of my recommenders?
Once you add them to the application, make sure to confirm your recommenders have received the link. Use the weeks that you’ve allotted for them to write your letter to connect further with your recommenders. Share your goals for pursuing an MBA, the reasons you’re selecting Chicago Booth in particular, and refresh their memory on the specific accomplishments and challenges you’ve overcome through your work. This conversation will help them to highlight your unique attributes and allow you to stand out.”


Admitify can give you strategic advice on choosing your recommenders and empowering them to develop recommendations that authentically convey your strengths. Contact us today and get started!