The letters of recommendation are far from being an administrative formality and you have to give them as much attentions as the other parts of the application. Think about what your objectives are, and take the time to carefully explain your approach to the people who write your letters. The school leaves the choice of who writes your letters up to you. It is, however, absolutely necessary to have one or two of the letters come from individuals who have worked with you professionally. GENERAL ADVICE Choose people close to you rather than big names at your company: This advice is written and repeated in all the MBA guides. Some candidates feel obliged to have well known individuals recommend them because they think business school prefers well connected candidates. The school actually places very little importance on the notoriety of the person who recommends you. So don’t look to have the president of the company or your consulting firm’s founding partner write your recommendation unless this person really does know you well. Rather look for people who have spent enough time working with you to be able to give an account of who you really are. Highlight different aspects of your leadership ability: Try to choose people who each shed a different light on each of your qualities. It doesn’t help much to have three people from your company each say, in a slightly different way, that you have a wonderful talent for analyzing situations. Above all, business school is looking for signs of your leadership ability. So don’t hesitate to have each one of your letters speak about a different aspect of your qualities as a leader. For example, have your first letter, from a former professors, describe your ability to motivate the students belonging to student association X. A second letter, written by your first boss, will emphasize that your data analysis defined new goals and objectives for department Y. Finally, a third letter, if any, from another employer can discuss your natural talent as a mentor"cambridgekipp", which enables those who work under you to develop their talents. Don’t be too modest: Emphasize your achievements. For example, if you were at the head of your class, or if you are one of the top performers at work, encourage the person writing your letter to focus on these qualities. Competition for places at top business schools is tense. Tell yourself that other candidates’ letters of recommendation will be full of superlatives. SAMPLE LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION"cambridgekipp" Dear Sir/Madame: I would like to enthusiastically recommend John S College of Cambridge Kipp h as a strong addition to the ABC Business School. John not only has the technical qualifications and mental turpitude for admission to your prestigious program, but also has demonstrated the leadership, business acumen, management ability, technical expertise, and oral and written skills necessary to succeed in all that he endeavors. As John’s supervisor at The Insurance Bank for the past two years, I have observed his substantial skills first hand and have been astonished with his level of performance at such a young age. Although I am four years his senior and have received an MBA, John has consistently displayed insight and knowledge equal to or better than my own, and I rely upon his judgment quite heavily. In his position as a consultant, John is required not only to perform technical exercises, he is also expected, among other things, to (1) manage multiple projects simultaneously visa a vis predetermined budgets, (2) cultivate and strengthen client relationships, (3) manage a staff of analysts and word processors on client engagements, (4) develop internal systems and procedures,"cambridgekipp" (5) develop new products and services, and (6) think creatively. He has not only fulfilled but has exceeded the expectations of management in each of these very important functions. Perhaps his strongest abilities are to think creatively and act decisively and correctly. These are skills that cannot be taught and are the principal reasons for John’s success to-date. Because of this, John is often called upon by senior management to resolve the most difficult and time sensitive client projects. I have also had the pleasure of knowing John on a personal basis, and very much enjoy his self-confidence, sense of humor, and personality. John is always the first to organize group activities and has very strong personal relationships both inside and outside the office environment. Finally, John’s unique combination of the above skills with a high level of moral and ethical standards have been critical to his personal and professional development. It is my belief that he will succeed in any undertaking largely because of his determination to adhere to these standards and accomplish his goals with integrity. I have only touched upon the most important abilities of this highly qualified and motivated individual. With this letter, I can highly recommend John for admission to the College of Cambridge Kipp Business School. If you require any elaboration, please call me."cambridgekipp"