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Recommendation Questions

Find out what top MBA programs ask recommenders. Clear Admit will keep you up to date. Need more help? Check out our recommendation guide. And don’t miss our tips on selecting your recommender and dealing with recommendation dilemmas.


Columbia Recommendation Questions 2014 – 2015

Columbia-150x134Columbia has just released its recommendation questions, and we’ve already got clients submitting their requests.  Columbia has one of the simplest recommendation forms–a single, free-form letter with no rankings. But it’s still going to be substantial work for your recommender. The strongest submissions will be about 1,000 words.

Here is what Columbia asks recommenders to include in their letter:

  • How do the candidate’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.
  • Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

Further instructions to recommenders: Continue reading…

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Harvard Recommendation Questions 2014 – 2015

300px-Harvard_business_school_baker_library_2009aHarvard’s application is up, and our clients have begun sending out their recommendation requests.  Here are this year’s recommendation questions.

Recommender Info

The first question that may require some thought from your recommender is the following:

Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, their role in your organization. (250 character limit)

The character limit is hard, so your recommender will have very little space.  The main point of this section is to get the basic facts of the relationship out of the way: how long your recommender has known you (preferably with specific quantities), what the nature of your relationship was (if possible, with quantified statements about how often you met and in what context), and perhaps a quick statement of your biggest accomplishments as your recommender describes your role.

Short Answers

The core of Harvard’s recommendation are two short answers:

1. How do the applicant’s performance Continue reading…

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London Business School Recommendation Questions 2013 – 2014

London Business School has begun sending recommendation questions to recommenders.  See the full list below, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Please answer the following questions regarding the applicant, making sure to save your work regularly. As a guideline for completing the reference form you should aim to write no more than 500 words per question. Please note that 500 words is the maximum amount and not a requirement.

  1. How do you know the applicant? How long have you known them for?
  2. What would you say are the applicant’s key strengths and talents?
  3. What would you say are the applicant’s key weaknesses or areas for improvement?
  4. In which areas of development has the applicant progressed most in the time you’ve known them?
  5. What do you think this person might be doing in ten years’ time? Why?

Please rate the applicant, comparing them with other members of his or her peer group, on the qualities listed below using the following scoring system:
1 = Low   3 = Average   5 = High

  • Intellectual or academic ability
  • Quantitative skills
  • Initiative / Ability to take decisions
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Team skills
  • Impact / Charisma
  • Self confidence
  • Self motivation
  • Spoken English communication skills
  • Written English communication skills

Please indicate your overall recommendation on a five point score from (1) Not Recommended to Highly Recommended (5).

Please feel free to elaborate on your recommendation. (Note: If you prefer to submit additional comments in a separate letter, please email this to apply.mba@london.edu.)

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NYU Stern Recommendation Questions 2013 – 2014

NYU Stern has begun sending recommendation questions to recommenders.  See the full list below, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Thank you for providing a recommendation. Candid comments from those who can evaluate the applicant’s performance and motivation through direct experience are extremely valuable. We appreciate the time you are taking to provide the information.

Is the applicant currently employed by your organization?

  • Yes
  • No

I am the applicant’s :

  • current supervisor
  • past supervisor
  • other

If other, please specify:

Are you an alumna/alumnus of the NYU Stern School of Business?

  •  Yes
  • No

If yes, what year did you graduate?

If yes, what was your degree?

Please make your overall recommendation regarding this applicant’s admission to NYU Stern:

  • I strongly recommend this applicant for admission.
  • I recommend this applicant for admission.
  • I recommend this applicant for admission with some reservation.
  • I do not recommend this applicant be admitted.

Please use this scale to rate the applicant in relation to his or her peers:

Scale

  • Outstanding (Top 5%)
  • Excellent (15%)
  • Good (Top 1/3)
  • Average (Middle 1/3)
  • Below Average (Bottom 1/3)
  • Unable to Judge

Traits

  • Analytical / Quantitative ability
  • Oral communication skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Maturity
  • Teamwork
  • Professionalism

Written Assessment

 Please respond to the following questions, using specific examples when possible. You may answer each question separately in the boxes provided OR upload a Word document which includes all of your responses.

  1. How long have you known the applicant and in what capacity? (1000-character limit)
  2. What do you consider the applicant’s strengths? (3000-character limit)
  3. In which areas could the applicant exhibit growth or improvement? (3000-character limit)
  4. How would you describe the applicant’s interpersonal skills? (1000-character limit)

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INSEAD Recommendation Questions (January 2014 Intake)

INSEAD has begun sending recommendation questions to recommenders.  See the full list below, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Please give your answers to each of the following questions. (text entry forms, no hard limits).

  1. Comment on the candidate’s career progress to date and his/her career focus.
  2. What do you consider to be the candidate’s major strengths? Comment on the factors that distinguish the candidate from other individuals at his/her level.
  3. What do you consider to be the candidate’s major weaknesses?
  4. Comment on the candidate’s potential for senior management. Do you see him/her as a future leader?
  5. Describe the candidate as a person. Comment on his/her ability to establish and maintain relationships, sensitivity to others, self-confidence, attitude, etc. Specifically comment on the candidate’s behaviour or skills in a group setting/team environment.

Please, specify your relationship to candidate:

  • Professional
  • Educational
  • Personal

How long have you known the candidate? Define your relationship with the candidate and the circumstances whereby you met.

How do you rate the candidate on the following criteria?

Criteria

  • Outstanding – Top 2%
  • Very Good – Top 10%
  • Above Average – Top 25%
  • Average – Top 50%
  • Below Average – Bottom 50%
  • Unobserved

Traits

  • Competence in his/her field
  • Professionalism
  • Focus on the task at hand
  • Readiness to use opportunities for achievement
  • Creativity and resourcefulness
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Energy and drive
  • Personal integrity
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Organizational ability
  • Oral communication skills
  • Written communication skills

How do you rate the candidate’s potential for becoming a responsible and successful manager in international business compared with other students or employees whom you have known in a similar capacity?

  • Excellent – Top 2%
  • Very Good – Top 10%
  • Above Average – Top 25%
  • Average – Top 50%
  • Below Average – Bottom 50%

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UCLA / Anderson Recommendation Questions 2013 – 2014

Are your recommenders ready? Our clients have started submitting their requests for UCLA Anderson. Stay ahead of the curve. Check out the full list of UCLA Anderson’s recommendation questions, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Questions

  1. How strong is the candidate’s focus in terms of being results-oriented, strategically-minded, and career-driven? (700-character limit in online form)
  2. How does the candidate demonstrate leadership by creating a vision, motivating others, managing resources, and taking risks? (700-character limit in online form)
  3. How strong are the candidate’s interpersonal skills as shown by their professionalism, teamwork, attitude, and conflict management? (700-character limit in online form)
  4. How effective is the candidate in communicating clearly, eloquently, and confidently (in written and oral form)? (700-character limit in online form)
  5. What are the areas in which the candidate could develop further? (700-character limit in online form)

Optional: If you have a separate document that addresses points not covered above, please feel free to upload it here.

Ratings

Options

  • Exceptional (Top 2%)
  • Excellent (Top 10%)
  • Good (Top 25%)
  • Average (Top 50%)
  • Below Average
  • Inadequate Opportunity to Observe

Traits

  • Analytical/problem solving skills
  • Motivation/initiative
  • Leadership
  • Ability to work with others
  • Respect from peers
  • Respect from management
  • Maturity
  • Written communication skills
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Your overall impression of the candidate

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Berkeley / Haas Recommendation Questions 2013-2014

Berkeley Haas has begun sending recommendation questions to recommenders.  See the full list below, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Instructions

It is very important both to the applicant and to the Haas School that we know as much as possible about the applicant’s leadership potential and capacity for graduate study. We encourage you to be completely candid and to provide specific examples whenever possible. It is helpful to the applicant if you answer the specific questions that we ask. Generic recommendations that do not address our questions typically do not strengthen an application. We appreciate your assistance and cooperation.

Also, please take note of the final section of the online recommendation. We ask you to complete an honor statement by clicking a box indicating that this recommendation was written entirely by you. This box appears before the save and submission buttons at the end of the online recommendation. Finally, note that your letter will not be transmitted until you click “Submit this recommendation.”

Questions

Please comment on the following questions. (no word limits)

1. Please describe your relationship to the applicant. Are you, or have you been, the applicant’s direct supervisor? If not, what is the nature of your relationship? How long have you known the applicant and how frequent is/was your interaction with him/her?

2. How does the applicant’s performance compare with that of his or her peers?

3. What are the applicant’s two greatest strengths? What are the applicant’s two greatest areas (in need) of improvement? Please cite specific examples.

4. How does the applicant overcome negative outcomes? Please cite specific examples.

5. In the Berkeley MBA program, we develop leaders who embody our distinctive culture’s four key principles [www.haas.berkeley.edu/strategicplan/culture] one of which is “confidence without attitude” or “confidence with humility”. Please comment on how the applicant reflects this Berkeley-Haas value.

Ratings

Please give us your appraisal of the applicant in terms of the traits listed below. Compare the applicant with others whom you know have applied to business school or with individuals who are being groomed for leadership positions within your organization. It should be extremely rare for any candidate to receive truly exceptional in all areas, and unusual for a candidate to receive either superior or truly exceptional in all areas.

Ratings

  • Truly exceptional (top 1%)
  • Superior (top 5%)
  • Very Good (top 10%)
  • Good (top 25%)
  • Average (top 50%)
  • Below Average (bottom 50%)
  • No Opportunity to Observe

Traits

  • Self-confidence
  • Communication Skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Maturity
  • Respect for different viewpoints
  • Empathy
  • Ability to influence without authority
  • Ability to accept constructive feedback
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Analytic ability
  • Ability to question the status quo
  • Initiative
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Personal integrity/ethics

To what degree do you recommend this applicant be admitted to the Berkeley Full-time MBA Program?

  • Enthusiastically recommend
  • Recommend
  • Recommend with reservations
  • Do not recommend

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Duke / Fuqua Recommendation Questions 2013 – 2014

Duke Fuqua has begun sending recommendation questions to recommenders. See the full list below, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Instructions

In this online recommendation process, you will be asked to answer a series of questions and have the opportunity to upload additional information. Both the applicant and The Fuqua School of Business greatly appreciate your evaluative comments as it is important that we learn as much as possible about the applicant. We encourage you provide specific examples wherever possible. It is helpful to the applicant if you answer the specific questions that we ask as generic recommendations typically do not strengthen an application.

Short Answers

  1. Comment on the applicant’s interpersonal skills (effectiveness in establishing and maintaining relationships; working with supervisors, peers, and subordinates; willingness to work in a team environment). (Limit 2000 characters)
  2. What do you consider the applicant’s three primary talents or strengths? Please provide examples, if relevant. (Limit 2000 characters)
  3. In what areas does the applicant need improvement or growth? If you have had the opportunity to provide the applicant with constructive feedback, please provide specific examples of the feedback and the applicant’s response to it. (Limit 2000 characters)

Additional Information

If you would like to provide any further comments you feel would aid the committee in the evaluation of the applicant please upload your comments via the Additional Information Section.

Comparison Group

Please describe the peer group to which you are comparing the applicant. (For example, others whom you know have applied to business schools or those within your organization currently mentored toward leadership positions.) (150 characters)

Rating

Please compare the applicant to the peer group described previously. Very rarely should an applicant receive a rating of “Exceptional” in all categories and it should be uncommon for an applicant to obtain either “Exceptional” or “Superior” across all categories.

Ratings

  • Exceptional – Top 2% 
  • Superior – Top 5% 
  • Excellent – Top 15% 
  • Above Average – Top 25% 
  • Average – Top 50% 
  • Below Average – Lower 50% 
  • Unable to Rate

Traits

  • Rate the applicant’s leadership potential.
  • Rate the applicant’s maturity.
  • Rate the applicant’s motivation.
  • Rate the applicant’s analytical skills.
  • Rate the applicant’s intellectual ability / problem solving.
  • Rate the applicant’s ability to work with others.
  • Rate the applicant’s responsiveness to feedback.
  • Rate the applicant’s oral communication skills.
  • Rate the applicant’s planning skills / time management ability.
  • Rate the applicant’s personal integrity.
  • Rate the applicant’s self-confidence.
  • Rate the applicant’s goal directedness.
  • For non-native English speakers, please rate verbal and written English ability.

To what extent do you recommend this applicant? If you Recommend with Reservation or do Not Recommend the applicant, please explain and attach your document in the Additional Information section.

  • Recommend with Confidence
  • Recommend
  • Recommend with Reservation
  • Not Recommended

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UT Austin McCombs Recommendation Questions 2013 – 2014

UT Austin McCombs has begun sending recommendation questions to recommenders.  See the full list below, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Are you a McCombs School of Business Alumnus?

  • Yes
  • No

What is your relationship with the applicant?

  • Direct Supervisor
  • Indirect Supervisor
  • Former Direct Supervisor
  • Former Indirect Supervisor
  • Project Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Other

How does the candidate’s performance compare to other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (200 characters)

Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response (more recent examples preferred). (200 characters)

Please rate the applicant on the following 5 criteria, using the specific descriptors for each ranking for each criterion. We understand that these descriptors are not exhaustive, but are using them as a starting point to measure the broader criteria. Please note that we are using similar rating criterion that other MBA admissions teams are using to evaluate their applicants.

Ratings

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Average
  • Below Average

Traits

  • Leadership Potential
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Initiative/Motivation
  • Ethics/Integrity
  • Maturity

Please provide any additional comments about the applicant’s performance, potential, or personal qualities you believe would be helpful to the Admissions Committee. (200 characters)

Based on your interactions with the applicants and your professional experience, please rate your overall assessment of the applicant:

  • Strongly Recommend
  • Recommend
  • Recommend with Reservations
  • Do Not Recommend

Recommendation Letter

 Optional: Please upload a word or PDF document here. This is not required.

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Carnegie Mellon University / Tepper Recommendation Questions 2013 – 2014

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper has begun sending recommendation questions to recommenders.  See the full list below, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

Recommender Statements

 Briefly address each question in the space provided.

  • In what area is the applicant most exceptional? (500 characters)
  • In what area does the candidate need most improvement? (1000 characters)
  • How effective is the candidate when working with others? (Consider whether the candidate is a leader, is sought out as a team member, commands respect of his or her associates.) (1000 characters)
  • How do the candidate’s achievements compare to peers? (For example, consider the opportunities the applicant has had to make use of his or her abilities and how effectively he or she has exploited them; also, consider whether the applicant completes assignments and is an effective performer under stress.) (1000 characters)
  • How effective is the candidate in communicating verbally, in writing, and through presentations? (For a non-native English speaker, how well does he or she use English?) (1000 characters)
  • Please add any additional statement you may wish to make concerning the candidate’s aptitude for an MBA and/or his or her potential for becoming a responsible and successful business leader. (1000 characters)

Recommender Rankings

 How long have you known the candidate?

 Under what circumstances have you known the applicant?

  •  Current Supervisor
  • Former Supervisor
  • Client
  • Colleague
  • Friend
  • Friend of Family
  • Professor
  • Other: Please List 

Do you/have you supervised this candidate?

 If not MBA students, describe the reference group you are using:

 On a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the strongest, rate the candidate on the following dimensions:

Scale

  • Exceptional (Top 2%)
  • Outstanding (Top 10%)
  • Above Avg. (Top 30%)
  • Average (50%)
  • Below Avg. (Bellow 50%)
  • Insufficient Information

 Dimensions

  • Professional Presence
  • Global Perspective
  • Business Acumen
  • Teamwork
  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Leadership Skills
  • Articulation and Clarity of Goals
  • Analytical Decision Making

Overall Recommendation

 I enthusiastically recommend that this candidate be admitted to the Tepper School of Business.

I recommend that this candidate be admitted to the Tepper School of Business.

I recommend with some reservation that this candidate be admitted to the Tepper School of Business.

I do not recommend that this candidate be admitted to the Tepper School of Business

My reservations are: (500 character limit)


 

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UVA / Darden Recommendation Questions 2013 – 2014

Are your recommenders ready? Our clients have started submitting their requests for UVA Darden. Stay ahead of the curve. Check out the full list of Darden’s recommendation questions, collected and confirmed by Clear Admit.

MBA information

  • Are you a Darden School of Business Alumnus?
  • May we contact you at work regarding this applicant?
  • Have known applicant since:
  • During which period of time have you had the most frequent contact with the applicant?
  • Are/were you the applicant’s direct supervisor?
  • Did you use a translator in completing this recommendation?
  • How many candidates are you recommending to the Darden MBA Program this year?
  • Do you have an MBA?

Recommendation Upload

 Please write an assessment of the applicant that addresses the prompts below. We are looking for your candid and accurate assessment of the applicant’s potential to be a successful leader and what specific traits the applicant possesses that evidence this potential. Please be as specific as possible and use concrete examples where applicable. Do not incorporate anything drafted by the candidate in your recommendation or have the candidate submit the recommendation on your behalf.

Please do not exceed 4 pages, double-spaced, using 12-point font. Recommended fonts are Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman. Please do not include graphics or icons such as company letterhead.

  • Please comment on the context of your interaction with the applicant. How long have you known the applicant and in what connection? If applicable, briefly describe the applicant’s role in your organization.
  • Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.
  • How does the applicant’s performance compare to other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?

Leadership Assessment

Listed below you will find a grid listing some competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership. Within each row, please mark the one box corresponding to the behavior that the candidate most typically exhibits. Your candid, honest appraisal of the candidate will be helpful to the Committee on Admissions.

Please assess the candidate on the following skills/qualities on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

  • Results Orientation
  • Strategic Orientation
  • Team Leadership
  • Influence and Collaboration
  • Communicating
  • Information Seeking
  • Developing Others
  • Change Leadership
  • Respect for Others
  • Trustworthiness

Peer Comparison

Based on your professional experience, how do you rate this candidate compared to her/his peer group?

  • The best encountered in my career
  • Outstanding (top 5%)
  • Excellent (top 10%)
  • Very good (well above average)
  • Average
  • Below Average

Overall, I:

  • Recommend this candidate to Darden
  • Recommend with reservations this candidate to Darden
  • Do not recommend this candidate to Darden

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