Stanford GSB | Mr. Entrepreneurial Bassist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.61
McCombs School of Business | Ms. Second Chances
GRE 310, GPA 2.5
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. IT To IB
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Kellogg | Mr. Green Business
GMAT 680, GPA 3.33; 3.9 for Masters
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Account Executive
GMAT 560, GPA 3.3
NYU Stern | Mr. Military Officer
GRE In Progress, GPA 2.88
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Commercial Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
Wharton | Mr. Marketing Director
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Healthcare Startup
GRE 321, GPA 3.51
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65

How To Ask For Business School Recommendations

Ask for business school recommendations

It’s an honor to be asked to write business school recommendations, and also a big responsibility. Taking these steps will help you get great results, and also shows your recommenders that you appreciate their support.

  • Get organized.

Create a document with a list of all the schools you are applying to, and the questions themselves. (You can find the forms on the school’s website, or through a google search.) Highlight the recurrent themes – there is a surprising amount of content overlap, and some schools even use a common form. Your recommenders will hopefully be reassured about the scope of the work.

  • Polish your resume and goal statement.

Along with this comprehensive document, please give your recommenders a brief goal statement and the resume that you have optimized for business school. They can’t advocate for you if they don’t know what you want to do – “I think that Jim wants to go back to school to be a consultant” isn’t terribly compelling.

  • Brainstorm – but don’t script.

After your recommenders have had a chance to review your materials, set up a time to strategize with them. Tell them more about your strengths and weaknesses as a candidate, so that they can offer details that help you present an optimized profile. Share relevant personal information that they might not have known, like the fact that you were a varsity athlete or the first in your family to go to college. Finally, offer to help them think about powerful illustrations for some of the trickier questions, like how you handle feedback or conflict. It’s really important not to write this content down for them, even in bullet form – the responses need to be in the recommender’s own words.

  • Set deadlines.

To avoid stress and weird dynamics, set clear deadlines. It’s completely legitimate to tell your recommenders that you plan to submit the week before the application is due (that is your plan, right?) and that your application isn’t complete without their recommendation. Some candidates also find it useful to establish interim check-ins, which can alleviate stress on both sides.

These concrete steps will help you ask for business school recommendations the right way, and enable your recommenders to advocate on your behalf.


 Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Duke, Georgetown, Haas, Ross, NYU Preparing and more. Over the last three years, clients have been awarded more than 10.3 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.