MBA Recommendation Letter

MBA recommendation letter, also known as an MBA letter of reference, is an official document providing a thorough and mainly positive review of work performance, leadership, and other achievements of an individual intending to apply for an MBA program. Such a letter is a consistent benefit to a student’s application and their overall credibility.

There are two examples of an MBA recommendation letter required when applying for MBA university programs. Learn more about recommendation letters in our comprehensive guide –

When And Why You Have To Submit A Business School Recommendation Letter

MBA letter of recommendation is a 99,9% compulsory component of your MBA program application. Business school recommendation letters are mainly submitted from the workplace and are written and signed by the applicant’s current or past employer or direct supervisor. The first thing to rely on before writing such a letter is the fact that business schools are aimed at more factual, concrete anecdotes that reveal the following qualities and abilities of the applicant:

  • the applicant’s skills in business management
  • the applicant’s attitude to problem-solving
  • the candidate’s proven and solved business cases
  • other related practical experience in the management or business area
  • related personal characteristics, such as multitasking, flexibility, strong leadership, and so on.

Before proceeding to critical aspects of writing this type of reference letter, an applicant needs to browse through the details and requirements of the chosen university’s application process to find the proper recommendations and compulsory regulations on its format and layout.

Who to Select As A Referee?

First and foremost, when choosing the best referee to submit your request for an MBA reference letter, bear in mind that most business schools would prefer the review given by a current or past employer or supervisor rather than academic advisors and professors. However, a professor or peer may be selected to provide such a letter, especially if the candidate does not have any consistent previous work experience.

The bottom line is, the referee should know the applicant professionally and personally through effective and direct collaboration, be it during several years of work or study experience. The more detailed information (including examples, stories, and anecdotes) is given about the applicant’s capabilities, assets, and the necessary qualifications for a particular business school, the better the letter becomes.

If the applicant is self-employed or has only recently been hired for a certain position, consider contacting their previous employer instead of asking the new supervisor for a reference. Another opportunity is to request an indirect manager, a client, a member of the board of directors, or any other relevant person able to estimate the applicant’s performance and qualities in a principal reference letter format.

The referees must know what schools or universities the candidate is applying for and why. The supervisors and referees should also be provided with a copy of the student’s CV, personal statement, and other documents as a basis for reference.

After the letter of recommendation is guaranteed or provided, the applicant will usually have to get at least one more confirmation letter of recommendation. The candidate can select another professor, supervisor, or employer from their circle to provide a supporting letter of recommendation. It is not the title of the writer’s job that should sound impressive but rather their opinion about the candidate’s abilities and strengths.

So when selecting a suitable writer for an MBA letter of recommendation, consider a person who is not only a professional in his field but knows you well and can give just and comprehensive feedback on your behalf. The person should devote themselves to writing a well-thought and detailed letter.

Core Points To Cover In An MBA Reference Letter

Basic things to mention

Most of all, focus on convincing practical examples when the candidate revealed their skills and qualities most compellingly and profitably during the previous work or study period.

  • A concise explanation of how the referee knows the MBA applicant
  • A brief outline of the applicant and his or her assets and skills
  • Specific examples and anecdotes illustrating the cases

The next thing to consider is the size of the letter. An MBA letter of recommendation should be one page long and consist of an introduction, at least two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Today, most MBA recommendation letters are submitted directly through the university or college website or by the supervisor’s or professor’s official email. However, this does not imply that following the standard and rigid business letter format is compulsory. If the reference letter is being sent by mail or fax, include the standard business letterhead. Never hesitate to enquire about the submission requirements for a particular university/school before requesting such a letter.

What to Include In An MBA Letter Of Recommendation

  • A Title, such as A Letter Of Recommendation or MBA Letter of Reference
  • First name, last name of the referee, and their address. These details are usually stated in the signature or/and in the left upper corner of your letter. The referee should provide detailed contact information to the recipient of the letter, such as the referee’s position, the company’s title, and so on.

If the name of the recipient is known, specify it in your salutation. If it is not, the phrase “to whom it may concern” will suffice.

  • The applicant’s name. Enter the full candidate’s name and proceed to further details.
  • Related cases, professional and personal qualities, and responsibilities of the MBA program candidate. This description should be more detailed and practical rather than generic; name the applicant’s duties and functions at the previous job position, and state the applicant’s related problem-solving cases successfully solved. Briefly mention their background, abilities, and knowledge applicable to the MBA program.
  • Personal traits and capacities. To give the reference letter a more personal tone, the referee may name the candidate’s personal and professional interests and skills potentially valuable for the program.
  • The signature or full name. After the referee has described the candidate’s strong points, they should sign the form and write the full name of the person who developed the MBA recommendation letter.
  • Contact details. Contact options, such as the company’s title, address, phone number, and email address of the referee should be noted in the reference letter to make a more wholesome impression.
  • The date when the letter is written and signed. It is compulsory to state the current date on the letter so that the recipient knows the actual date it was written.

Below are several steps on developing a good MBA reference letter, along with two basic templates to rely on.

Writing A Letter Of Recommendation For An Internship

We have highlighted the required steps to follow when writing an MBA reference letter. Mind the following aspects or switch over to the samples below.

1. Introduction (heading, addressing, introducing the person)

Begin your reference letter with a proper heading—better write it in bold so that the recipient has a better notion of the document’s purpose. Do not forget to address the recipient properly. If you do not know their name, add “To whom it may concern” to sound polite.

Briefly introduce yourself, add your job position or university status (if applicable) and mention the candidates’ name and your relations. Mention how long you have known them and proceed to the main body of your reference letter.

2. Main Part

Strict requirements do not regulate this part of the letter—you may start with the applicant’s background, previous study, or work experience. If you have known the person for a long time, outline how the individual has developed and evolved at his position, providing examples of his problem-solving approach, hard work, and conflict-regulating skills.

Do not omit the applicant’s academic achievements and other related interests if you know any. The bottom line is to give comprehensive and detailed feedback on the person’s accomplishments and qualities so that their image is wholesome, versatile, and convincing for the particular MBA program.

3. The closing part (signature, contact details)

It is important to make the recipient see that you wrote the letter willingly and with great pleasure. So, mention your readiness to provide further feedback or answer any questions about the candidate. This way, you demonstrate the overall positive relations with your applicant.

Besides, make sure you note down contact details such as full name, signature, and the company’s stamp (if applicable) under the main body of the letter. Giving additional information, such as your workplace email, contact phone, or social network profile, will show your openness to feedback and contribute to the overall positive opinion on the candidate.

Dos and Don’ts to Bear in Mind when Writing an MBA Reference Letter

If you are a referee or an MBA applicant and want to make sure once again you’re doing it right, browse through the following tips and hints when creating your MBA reference letter.

What You Should Do

  • Be detailed but mind the letter size. Generally, the size of the MBA reference letter is around one page up to 1,5 pages maximum. Specific facts should strengthen your opinion on the candidate, but you should not cover the applicant’s full biography or detail each task they succeeded in. Avoid general phrases and platitudes to make your letter more concise.
  • Be concrete and provide successful cases, examples, and anecdotes about the applicant. Avoid generic statements, platitudes, and cliches. Concentrate on the proven examples of their achievements and business cases or problems they managed to solve when working for your company after briefly covering the applicant’s character and the related background.
  • Stay attentive to facts and details. Always be careful about the details provided, including the titles, address, date, surname, and so on. Remember not to leave the writing process for the last day. The MBA program candidate should check out all the core points and details in the letter they receive from the referee. Make sure each core aspect is mentioned, and there are no mistakes or inaccuracies in the letter.
  • Provide enough contact details and welcome the recipient’s reply. Show the recipient you would gladly reply to any further questions about the applicant and specify enough contact details, including your position, email address, and phone number, as well as the essential information about your company.

What You Should Avoid

  • Provide too many “commonplace” and general statements. It should come by default: you should agree to write the letter if you know the individual personally and have something to say about their business management achievements and properties.
  • Risk of over-criticizing or praising the applicant too much. The referee shouldn’t hesitate to temper their praise with mild and balanced criticism if needed. However, keep in mind that the more honest the attitude to criticizing is, the more convincing the praise should be. If the referee criticizes the applicant, they should also describe a candidate’s reaction to any challenging situation or criticism.A little critique can be balanced by outlining the applicant’s impressive problem-solving capacities. Giving a positive outlook, which is undoubtedly the core content of any reference letter, the referee may demonstrate some drawbacks. Any distraction or lack of knowledge gradually turned into vantage points as the candidate evolved (if there were any such cases during your collaboration).
  • Agree to write a reference letter if you are not in a good relationship with the candidate or hardly remember them. If your relations with the applicant are or only superficial, we would advise you to politely refuse to provide an MBA reference and offer another candidate instead.

MBA Recommendation Letter: Templates

Below are two templates of  MBA reference letters. Since there are no specific prerequisites concerning the whole structure of MBA letters of recommendation, both are subject to changes and variations. You can adapt them according to your university’s requirements or personal preferences.

We hope these samples will ease the overall writing process and provide at least some peace of mind for the referee and the applicant.

Sample 1. MBA Reference Letter From Manager

From ________________



(Write your name and address here)

Date:  ___________________, 20___

(Write the current date here)



Reference Letter For

Dear [_______________] /  To whom this may concern,

My name is _____ and I am a Senior Manager at _______ [specify your position and company’s title]. It is with great pride and pleasure to write this letter of recommendation in favor of ____ [insert the applicant’s full name] for his/her due application in your MBA degree program.

I will gladly answer all further questions about _________________ (the candidate’s name here). Use my contact info below to _____________.

I hope that you will consider this recommendation letter and think through the candidacy of ______________for the upcoming MBA program.

Thank you for your time.

Yours Sincerely,

_______________ (your signature or full name)

E-mail: _______________

Phone number: _____________.

Other contact details (optional)________.

Sample 2. MBA Reference Letter From An Employer

From ________________



(Write your name and address here)

Date:  ___________________, 20___

(Write the current date here)



Reference Letter For

Dear [_______________] /  To whom this may concern,

My name is ______________________ [Your Name] and proud to offer my recommendation of ______________________ [Individual’s Name], whom I have personally known for ___ years as my ______________________ [enter the candidate’s position] at ______________________ [Where you’ve known the individual –  the company, organization, and so on].

During my relationship with ______________________ [Individual’s Name], I have experienced an individual who shows up earlier than asked, works hard, carries himself/herself in a polite, respectable manner and demonstrates a number of precious skills and abilities _______[describe the applicants’ skills and capacities. Provide several examples of anecdotes]. In addition, ______________________ [Individual’s Name] is exceptionally gifted at learning new concepts and without reservation, I recommend a place for him/her in your upcoming MBA program.

If you have any requests or questions, do not hesitate to contact me. I leave my contacts below.

Yours Sincerely,

_______________ [your signature or full name]

E-mail: _______________

Phone number: _____________.

Other contact details (optional)________.

For Applicants: How to Politely Ask an Employer to Write the Letter?

If you have maintained warm relations with your manager, employer, or peer, do not hesitate to request a reference letter. In most cases, the employer would be glad to give you a decent recommendation. Here are some briefly outlined takeaways and tips to think about before requesting an MBA reference letter.

  • Make a list of all related employers or university peers during the past years before choosing one.

Write down a list of all the potential referees and choose one with the most positive relationships. The amount of years spent working at the particular company does matter as well. For an additional (supporting) reference letter, make up a list of your colleagues and clients.

  • Write a letter to your referee.

Calling your employer directly is only applicable if you’re in touch with them and have close relationships. In most cases, neither direct calls nor messages on social networks are the best option. Instead, write down a concise and polite letter to their her email.  Be prepared to wait for several workdays up to 1,5 weeks before getting the response.

  • Specify the deadline for a letter in advance.

It is always wise to send a letter request at least a week before the deadline. This way, you make an impression that you value the employer’s occupation and timetable.

  • Being polite is better than being too assertive.

We understand how important the letter is for your future career but mind the upper statement. Keep in mind that your peer or employer does not have to provide the letter for you, so avoid a pushy tone. Being friendly, tactful, and polite will play into your hands anyway.

  • Consider another referee in case of refusal or ignorance

Even if you cannot get a reply for several weeks or get a letter of refusal from your intended referee, do not worry. Instead, consider contacting another referee.

Published: Jun 27, 2022