Duke Fuqua | Mr. Military MedTech
GRE 310, GPA 3.48
Stanford GSB | Mr. Latino Healthcare
GRE 310, GPA 3.4
Tuck | Mr. Product Marketer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. Aspiring Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.38
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Advisory Consultant
GRE 330, GPA 2.25
Kellogg | Mr. Equity To IB
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Marketing Master
GRE 316, GPA 3.8
Darden | Ms. Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)

Stanford Graduate School of Business Recommendation Questions

If you’re an MBA applicant to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, what does the admissions staff expect from the three recommenders it requires as part of your application?

For the 2012-2013 application season, Stanford wants at least one letter from a current direct supervisor. If you’re unable to get one from your current direct supervisor, the school asks that you include a brief note of explanation in the Additional Information section of the online application. College seniors may use a direct supervisor from a summer, part-time, or internship experience. Alternatively, you may ask someone who oversaw you in an extracurricular, volunteer, or community activity.

Your second Professional/Workplace Letter of Reference must come from someone else in a position to evaluate your work—another supervisor, a previous supervisor, or a client. And your third letter should ideally come from a peer. “An individual with whom you have worked on a team or on a project, in a position equal to your own, should complete this recommendation,” Stanford says. “You may choose this person from any of your team experiences: charitable, extracurricular, professional, or other. The peer recommender cannot be your supervisor or subordinate.”

Stanford provides some general guidelines to help applicants. “As we read your letters of reference, we hope to discover specific descriptions and examples illustrating your potential to make a difference in the world,” the school states on its website. “Choose individuals who know you well, and who will take the time to write thorough, detailed letters with specific anecdotes and examples. The strongest references will demonstrate your leadership potential and personal qualities. We are impressed by what the letter says and how it reads, not by the title of the person who writes it.”

BILL GATES OR YOUR DIRECT SUPERVISOR? 

Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions, an MBA admissions consulting firm, puts it this way: “If you have a choice between Bill Gates, who is willing to write you a letter because your father is a friend of a friend, and your direct supervisor with whom you work day in and day out, choose your direct supervisor.”

Here are the questions Stanford asks recommenders to answer:

Professional/Workplace recommenders

  • Please comment on the context of your interaction with the applicant. If applicable, briefly describe the applicant’s role in your organization.
  • Please describe a time when the applicant changed your thinking or actions.
  • Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.
  • Please make additional statements about the applicant’s performance, potential, or personal qualities you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admissions Office.

Peer recommender

  • Please comment on the context of your interaction with the applicant. If applicable, briefly describe the applicant’s role in your organization.
  • Please describe a time when the applicant changed your thinking or actions.
  • Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.
  • Please make additional statements about the applicant’s performance, potential, or personal qualities you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admissions Office.

Stanford also will ask all three of your recommenders to assess you on some competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership (see below).

 

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.