Loyola Business Blog

Three Tips for Better MBA Recommendation Letters

MBA recommendation letters play a key role when applying to business school. They provide a third person perspective of your professional achievements and personal characteristics – reinforcing the image and skills you have presented in your application. Like most business schools, the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola requires MBA recommendation letters. The part time MBA admissions requirements for the Sellinger School’s Professional’s MBA program also include one professional MBA recommendation. Learn more about the admissions process and recommendation letter guidelines at our MBA FAQ page.

“Letters of recommendation are an essential part of the admissions process,” says MBA admissions consultant Stacy Blackman in U.S. News & World Report. A strong MBA recommendation favorably impacts acceptance and even has the potential to move borderline candidates into the admit pile, according to The Princeton Review. Conversely, a negative or simply lackluster MBA recommendation may call your qualifications into question and raise flags. Your future rests on the strength of your MBA recommendation letters, so here are some important MBA recommendation letter tips to keep in mind:

  1. Choose credible recommenders. “Pick someone who can write,” advises the MBA admissions service, MBA Applicant. Use professional references from your current and most recent jobs – people who have directly supervised you – who can provide specific details about your professional achievements along with relevant personal traits such as leadership skills, drive and determination.

  2. Prepare your recommenders. Make sure they understand they are advocating for you (and not providing a performance review). Share your resume, your goal statements and your application essays. Provide stories that illustrate the strengths you would like emphasized, so your recommenders can give specific examples that demonstrate your abilities and support the image you are presenting. “Schools want factual, concrete anecdotes," says MBA admissions consultant Paul Bodine in U.S. News.

  3. Manage your recommenders closely and check in with them regularly. “These references are a small but crucial test of your management abilities,” Blackman says. “If you can't ensure that your recommenders submit on time or follow other directions, what does this say about your skills as a manager?”

Do not leave your MBA recommendations to chance. "When you take such pains to carefully craft essays, study for hours on end, and conduct your own research of and outreach to the MBA programs, it can definitely be scary to put your faith in someone else's hands," says MBA student Kyle Judah in U.S. News. Follow these MBA recommendation letter tips to help ensure you secure the best possible recommendations.