Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring Social Investor
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Ms. Chemical Engineer
GMAT 720, GPA 3.53
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Emory Goizueta | Ms. Marketing Maverick
GRE 303, GPA 3.2
Columbia | Ms. New York
GMAT 710, GPA 3.25
Wharton | Mr. Energy Industry
GMAT 740, GPA 3.59
Harvard | Mr. Fraternity Philanthropy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
London Business School | Mr. Global Graduate Scheme
GMAT 750, GPA 7.2/10
Stanford GSB | Ms. Startup Poet
GRE 330, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Transformation
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Startup
GRE 327, GPA 3.35
INSEAD | Mr. Sailor in Suit
GMAT 740, GPA 3.6
Tuck | Mr. Global Corp Comms
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Aero Software ENG
GRE 312, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Lucky Banker
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Honduras IE
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
HEC Paris | Mr. iOS App Developer
GMAT 610, GPA 3.3
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Harvard | Mr. Public Finance
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Ms. Almost Ballerina
GRE ..., GPA ...
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65

Wharton Recommendation Questions

If you’re an MBA applicant to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, what does the admissions staff expect from the two recommenders it requires as part of your application?

Like most business schools, Wharton says that it prefers recommendations from people “who can speak directly about your aptitude for, or accomplishments in, leadership and management.” So work-related recommendations are far more valuable to Wharton’s admissions committee than academic ones.

The school advises applicants to select two people “who really know you and your work, who you believe can best address the questions asked, not the two most important people you know. If a Wharton graduate happens to be one of those two people, he or she may be able to use his or her understanding of Wharton to describe how you will fit into the Wharton culture. Please don’t seek out alumni who aren’t truly qualified to write about you.”

Adds Wharton: “Please make sure your recommenders understand that an effective recommendation is more than checking the right boxes and writing a couple of sentences. If the recommender believes that you are a good team player, he or she should present an example or two that illustrates that point. Useful recommendation letters are usually two to three pages long. You may want to brief your recommenders beforehand so they understand the competitive nature of the admissions process in which you are engaging.

“Applicants working in family businesses, entrepreneurial environments, or other nontraditional environments will need to be more creative in terms of choosing recommenders (and perhaps use the optional essay to allow us to understand how you made your choices). You may consider clients, mentors, or those that you have worked with in the community.”

Below are the recommender questions for the 2012-2013 application process:

1) How long have you known the applicant and describe your relationship to the applicant?

2) Provide an example of constructive feedback you have provided to the applicant.  How did the applicant receive this feedback and what efforts did the applicant make to address the concern?

3) Please provide an example of a time when the applicant was particularly successful at interacting with others in a team (employees, peers, managers, etc.)?  How does the applicant compare to his/her peers in this dimension?

4) How has the applicant’s career progressed and what sets them apart from their peers?

5)  Is there anything else about this applicant that you would like us to know? (Optional)

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.