Recommendation Do’s and Dont’s from HBS

On Monday, Harvard Business School‘s Director of Admissions, Deirdre Leopold, updated the blog with sound advice concerning recommendation letters.

You can read the post in its entirety here, but below you’ll find Leopold’s most important takeaway points.

  • Choose recommenders who can provide actual examples of your performance in specific situations–empty praise and lots of adjectives are not what HBS is looking for.
  • Steer clear of recommendations from peers whenever possible. Admissions finds it helpful to see developmental distance between you and your recommender.
  • Don’t ask current HBS students to write to Admissions on your behalf; professional or personal associations of this nature won’t strengthen your candidacy.
  • Think twice about asking your current employer for a recommendation. This isn’t the time to jeopardize your employment unless your boss is an enthusiastic supporter of business school for emerging leaders.


For a concise, thoughtful guide that will help you navigate the MBA admissions process with greater success, order our NEW book, The MBA Application Roadmap.

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