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10 Tips to Get Great Recommendation Letter

Chicago Booth MBA Admission program have great tips for getting recommendation letter.

Recommendation letters are an important way for us (Chicago Booth Admission team) to learn more about you, so the Admissions team wanted to share some advice on how to provide great letters of recommendation.

1. Your first letter should be a professional recommendation from a supervisor. However, we understand that it’s sometimes not feasible to ask your current supervisor to formally write a letter on your behalf. If you find yourself in this situation, find a professional contact that can speak to your strengths and your weaknesses, such as a past supervisor or client. There is a section on the application where you can explain why you have chosen your recommenders.

2. The second letter is up to you. The purpose of the second letter is to give us a different perspective of your skill sets and provide you with an opportunity to add a new voice to your application. Your second letter can be professional in nature or from an organization, club or volunteer project that you are associated with. There is no preference on who supplies your second recommendation; our only guideline is that it should add new and valuable insights to the application.

3. Choose people who know you well. Fancy titles and famous companies are great, but they won’t help if the Admissions Committee senses the recommender doesn’t know you or your work well. Make sure your recommenders are close enough to provide specific and relevant examples.

4. Meet with your recommenders beforehand. It’s an opportunity to refresh their memory on your past projects and goals, as well as to tell them about Booth. Recent connections can make for richer and more powerful letters of recommendation, which is important in making a great impression.

5. Provide recommender with background information. In addition to meeting with your recommender, you might want to consider providing a packet of materials to help him/her have a better idea of why business school is the next step for you. This could include an updated resume, your application essay question responses, and information about Booth.

6. Don’t rush your recommender. Be mindful of a recommender’s time. You want them to feel they have enough time to write a great letter, not just a good one. We suggest a month’s notice at minimum, if possible. Plus, that gives you time to meet with him/her before they write the letter and for a follow up meeting.

7. Don’t write your own letter. In today’s busy world where everyone is multi-tasking and overscheduled, it’s not uncommon for a recommender to suggest that you write your own letter. But take our advice – please don’t do it!  Since the committee can usually recognize your writing style from other parts of the application, it’s best that the recommender write the letter.

  • Poll – Who Wrote Your Recommendation Letter

8. Submit names of recommenders online. Once you access the online application system, you will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders. The system will then send them an email message providing the link to the online form where they should submit their letters. If you have any problems with the online system or questions about this process, contact us at [email protected]

9. Monitor the progress of your letters.  You can see if your letters have been submitted by logging into the online application.  If the application deadline is approaching and a letter has not been submitted, then you might want to send a friendly reminder to the recommender.

10. Send a thank you note.  Your recommenders took time to write letters on your behalf so it’s important that you follow up with a thank you note or card.  They’ll know that you appreciated their help.

Recommendation Letter for Non MBA

It may not be possible for students applying for MS to get recommendation letters from managers. In such cases you will get all the letters from your professors and lecturers.

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  1. Hello HSB,
    I completed my masters and I want to do phd in biological sciences.I had two years of work experience…I am giving my GRE in next week..I have a question about LOR’s..Is it necessary to get recommendation letters from the supervisors and the employers where I worked last.I am asking like this because I am unable to provide LOR’s from my previous employ because of some reasons.Can I provide recommendation letters from other eminent persons with whom I didnt worked but they know me well since from my graduation and as an advisor their letters are accepted by the US universities..please help me with this.


  2. It is really hard for it to get going. So maybe in this fast-moving world, we can write an outline and submit for the supervisor to edit and add comments. My superviosr knows me very well, she just did not have enough time to write different recommendations. Especially when some recommendations are narrowed down by AO.

  3. It is quite ahard job to get a recomendation written. Professors are busy creatures, they are reluctant to write down arecommendation leeter, but write down hesitatingly. The problem arises when we are sending multiple applications. Asking a professor to write down around five letters is out of question. How do we cope such situations.

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