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LOR Samples from Supervisor/Mentor

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What makes an LOR, Letter of Recommendation, great?

 

In this article, we'll delve into the fundamental building blocks of a great recommendation letter and how to ensure you have the best chance of obtaining one.

1. Authenticity: Know Your Recommender Well

The first and foremost building block is authenticity. Is your recommender genuinely acquainted with you? Have they worked closely with you or supervised your work? The temptation to seek out a well-known executive or a prominent alumnus is understandable, but it's often more valuable to have someone who truly understands your contributions and your character.

The essence of authenticity lies in the recommender's ability to provide specific, firsthand knowledge of your work, your accomplishments, and your character. Admission committees are not merely looking for a famous name but for an authentic reflection of your capabilities and qualities.

2. Specificity: Detailed and Personal Insights

A great recommendation letter should be specific. It should delve into the specifics of your performance and contributions. A recommender who can discuss actual projects you've participated in, your role in those projects, how you managed other team members, and the leadership you exhibited provides invaluable insights.

Specific examples from your professional or academic experiences can give admissions officers a clear understanding of how you operate, your work style, and your interpersonal skills. These details paint a vivid picture of you as a candidate.

3. Quality: The Power of a Positive Endorsement

A good recommendation letter should be, quite simply, a positive endorsement of your potential. Admissions representatives have shared stories of bad recommendations, emphasizing that not all letters are created equal.

How can you ensure you receive a strong recommendation? It often boils down to the quality of your relationship with the recommender. Ideally, your recommender should have a deep understanding of your motivations for pursuing a graduate degree and be genuinely invested in your success.

The Key to Success: Building Relationships

Many experts argue that the most effective recommendation letters are born out of solid relationships. Finding a mentor or a colleague who has known you for a significant period and has seen your performance firsthand can be invaluable. The key is to build these relationships before you ask for a recommendation.

The Right Number of Recommendations

Most schools will require two to three recommendation letters, so there's not much room for many more. It's better to focus on securing a smaller number of high-quality recommendations rather than quantity.

Engaging Your Recommender: Striking a Balance

Engaging your recommender effectively is essential. You don't want them to merely write the letter without your input, nor do you want them to agree and then disappear. Instead, strive for a balanced approach.

Your recommender should understand your MBA application strategy and the key points you want them to address in the letter. Collaboration is key; the recommender should be willing to work through the process with you to create a comprehensive and powerful endorsement.

The Verdict: A Strong Recommendation

A great recommender is someone who can confidently say, "This person is an excellent candidate and would be a valuable addition to your MBA program." They should be willing to provide a holistic perspective of your character, abilities, and the potential you offer.

In conclusion, when seeking recommendation letters, the three building blocks—authenticity, specificity, and quality—should be at the forefront of your strategy. Remember that the path to a top school often begins with establishing and nurturing the right relationships. Strong recommenders can be your allies in the competitive world of MBA admissions.

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