Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Kellogg | Mr. Maximum Impact
GMAT Waiver, GPA 3.77
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Wharton | Ms. Interstellar Thinker
GMAT 740, GPA 7.6/10
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%

Common Rec Form Adopted By 3 Schools

The Graduate Management Admission Council’s push to establish a Common Letter of Recommendation Form for the MBA admissions process is bearing fruit, as three schools — Michigan Ross, NYU Stern, and Cornell Johnson — have adopted the Common LOR, Ross Director of Admissions Soojin Kwon says, with more expected to get on board soon. Another school, Stanford Graduate School of Business, has used the same open-ended questions on its form, a spokesperson says, and would consider using the GMAC Common LOR in future.

Announcing the launch of Ross’s 2017 application July 20, Kwon noted that an application to any of what she termed the “early adopter” schools would result in applicants’ recommenders answering the same questions and using the same rating grid, “not different ones for each school.”

Ross was one of a few business schools that worked closely with the GMAC this past year to develop a common rec to streamline the application process,” Kwon notes, adding that other schools are expected to follow the three early adopters “in the coming year.”

GMAC Director of Media Relations Jennifer Garfinkel said Monday (July 25) that GMAC is not tracking which schools are using the common LOR, but it is “helping to make them aware and connect them to this effort,” serving as a “convener” for schools interested in exploring adoption of the LOR. “The decision to use or not to use the LOR is a school-by-school decision as well as program-by-program within a school,” Garfinkel said in an email to Poets&Quants.


Addressing applicants, GMAC says on its website,, that the new form “is intended to save you and recommenders valuable time by providing a single set of recommendation questions for each participating school. This allows your recommenders to use the same answers for multiple letter submissions, alleviating the workload of having to answer different questions for each school multiple times. You benefit because it makes the ask for several different letters to be written on your behalf much easier.”

The form’s first section, approximately two pages long, asks for recommenders’ personal information. The second section, which fills parts of 10 pages, asks them to check boxes in a Leadership Assessment Grid comprised of “16 competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership,” grouped into five categories: Achievement, Influence, People, Personal Qualities, and Cognitive Abilities. Recommenders are asked to check the boxes that most closely align with the applicant’s behavior.

A sample from Section 2 of the new common LOR form

A sample from Section 2 of the new common LOR form

A third section asks the recommender for two 500-word descriptions of, first, the applicant’s principal strengths, and second, his or her response when given an important piece of constructive feedback.


Calling the development “long overdue,” consultant Linda Abraham, founder of, says the new form will be less work for applicants because it will involve managing only one form and one to three recommenders, instead of “the mess we had to date where different schools had different forms.”

“Either applicants had to ask for a really time-consuming favor from very busy people or have multiple recommenders to ease the burden on individual recommenders,” Abraham says. “It’s less work for recommenders to complete one form, albeit a moderately lengthy one. And for the schools it increases the likelihood that recommenders will actually be sharing their perspective on the applicant as opposed to the applicant drafting the recommendation for the recommenders signature or upload.”

Abraham calls it a “wonderful development for applicants, recommenders, and schools,” noting however that the  form is still on the long side, asking for two 500-word responses “in addition to several ratings and a host answer.”

“Another effect, good or bad,” she adds, “is that alumni status at a given school will probably matter less in choosing recommenders since they will eventually be writing for all schools participating in the program.”

Note: This story has been edited to reflect that Stanford has not, as of August 2016, adopted the GMAC Common LOR. Its previous inclusion among the “early adopter” schools was in error.