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    Letter of Recommendation (LOR) for MBA: Guidelines, Sample and Structure for Popular Specializations

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    Sugandhi Sood

    Study Abroad Expert

    A letter of recommendation (LOR) for MBA evaluates an applicant’s performance in the academic and non-academic areas. Unlike LOR requirements for MS coursesMBA students need to submit both professional and academic letters of recommendation.

    Most of the universities across the world ask for 2 to 3 letters of recommendation for MBA with at least one LOR written by an employer or supervisor. It is important to remember that recommenders should have direct involvement with applicants for 2 to 3 years in a professional capacity.

    How to Write?

    How to Write Letter of Recommendation for MBA?

    Letter of Recommendation for MBA should be written by someone who is capable of narrating the applicant’s qualities with suitable examples and anecdotes. Since professional LORs are mandatory, the how-to-write guidelines for a professional LOR for MBA are mentioned below:

    • Relationship with Applicant: It should be established in the introductory paragraph of your MBA course LOR. Recommender’s designation, organization, and association with the applicant should be discussed.
    • Roles and Responsibilities: Move on to the details about the job responsibilities of applicants in the organization. His/Her performance review, any outstanding achievements, relationship with other team members should be discussed.
    • Vision: Letter of recommendation for MBA should clearly state what applicant’s long-term career goals and how an MBA program will help in achieving them. It is not necessary to provide a detailed plan. The admission committee just wants to get an overall idea of the vision and goals of applicants.
    • Scope of Improvement: This part is important to underscore the importance of an MBA in the applicant's professional life. However, recommenders should refrain from being directly critical. Narrate the applicant’s weaknesses subtly and describe how this degree will help him/her in improving further.
    Course-Specific Guidelines

    Letter of Recommendation (LOR) for MBA: Guidelines for Popular Specializations

    The three basic topics to be covered in the letter of recommendation for MBA for any specialization are the applicant-recommender relationship, the applicant’s qualities, and examples to support such claims. However, every specialization is unique and requires specific skill sets.

    Guidelines for some popular ones among international students are discussed as follows.

    LOR for MBA in Marketing

    Recommenders should put forward a comprehensive nature of the applicant including everything from art and design to human behavior and quantitative skills. In addition to that, the other qualities that can be highlighted in LOR for MBA in Marketing from popular b-schools are:

    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
    • Ability to speak fluently in public
    • Analytical thinking and research-based analysis
    • Creative thinking
    • Negotiation skills
    • Ability to handle stressful situations

    LOR for MBA in Finance

    Letter of recommendation for MBA in Finance must emphasize the analytical skills of the students as it is one of the major components of the curriculum. Some other skills that can be discussed are:

    • Reporting to managers, supervisors, etc
    • Logical Reasoning
    • Location-based understanding of business
    • Ability to manage time effectively

    Basic knowledge of financial terms like investment management, securities, bonds, etc are not necessary but can boost the application of students. So, if a student possesses such knowledge, recommenders should mention them in the LOR for MBA in Finance.

    LOR for MBA in Human Resource

    MBA in Human Resource (HR) is for students who have the ability to maintain a good relationship with people. Thus, recommenders should focus on highlighting instances where applicants demonstrated such skills. Apart from that, following are additional skills that can be accentuated in a letter of recommendation for MBA in HR:

    • Excellent memory to remember details about people
    • Open-minded with no prejudices
    • Understanding of characters
    • Persuasiveness
    • Time management

    LOR for MBA in Information Technology (IT)

    Recommenders should indicate that applicants have the ability to combine business knowledge with IT functions like data security, project management, telecommunications, etc. Skills to manage both team and IT systems should be stated in the letter of recommendation for MBA in Information Technology. This includes:

    • Data mining and coding languages
    • Ability to adapt to different situations with ease
    • Forecasting future based on available data
    • Technical writing skills
    • Ability to work on technology systems and machinery
    • Data management and analytics

    LOR for MBA in International Business

    Letter of Recommendation for MBA in International Business from top universities should outline that applicant has a global vision and thorough knowledge of international trade policies. Following are some qualities that if mention in LOR for MBA in International Business could give an edge to student’s application:

    • Ability to adapt in different cultures
    • Excellent networking skills
    • Ability to influence people for collaboration
    • Relliliant and emotionally intelligent

    Recommenders can also highlight the applicant’s understanding of the international market and other subjects like economics, finance, etc.


    Sample LOR for MBA

    Below is a sample of a professional LOR for MBA program:

    [Recipient’s Address]


    I write in respect of [Name of Applicant] who is seeking admission into the MBA program in your institution. I have known him for over 10 years, two years after he joined the [name of the company]. I have been his supervisor in the department of [name of department] where he was first assigned to.

    He worked assiduously and was promoted to the rank of [name of position] six months after the resumption. The basic criterion for this position is usually two years but due to his diligence, teamwork spirit, dedication, and leadership capability, the management had to make an exception and promote him.

    In the new role, [name of applicant] achieved yet another feat achieving over 50% ROI in less than 2 years. This led to the promotion to the position of [name of new position] in the department of [name of department] working under my supervision. I have no reservation in giving my assurance that he will excel in his studies as he has the spirit of hard work inculcated in him.

    Yours Faithfully,

    [Rame of Referee]
    [Referee Designation]

    (Contact Details)

    Checkout other sample letters of recommendation for MBA for Indian Students:

    Tips for Indian Students

    Writing Letter of Recommendation for MBA: Tips for Indian Students

    The most impactful letters of recommendation for MBA are those where the referee has given his sincere assessment instead of writing what he/she thinks the business school wants to read. Applicants can follow the below-given tips to get a convincing LOR from their supervisor or manager:

    • One of the LOR for MBA must be from your current supervisor. Some universities have strict guidelines regarding this.
    • If you cannot get a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor for some reason, use the optional essay to explain the reason for this.
    • Approach your manager or supervisor in an open manner to discuss your visions and goals beforehand.
    • Be transparent with your referee and give him/her all details of your application.
    • Communicate the content of SOP for MBA with a supervisor so that LOR corroborates with it.
    • Ask for a recommendation letter at least 3 to 4 weeks before the application deadline so that recommenders get sufficient time to write it.
    • Create a short summary of projects you handled in the company which the supervisor can refer to while writing a LOR for MBA.

    It is not advised to feed information to your recommender. Discuss with him/her about your performance and what are his/her opinions about you. Suggest your opinions but do not enforce them. Universities value only those letters of recommendation for MBA which they feel are genuine and written without any influence.



    Ques. Who should write letters of recommendation for MBA?

    Ans. Letters of recommendation for MBA can be written by anyone who has known an applicant professionally for the past 2 to 3 years. At least 1 LOR must be from the current supervisor or manager of the applicant. Rest can be from professors, colleagues, batchmates, etc.

    Ques. Is LOR required for an MBA?

    Ans. Yes, minimum 2 LORs are required for admission to the MBA program of the majority of the top universities of the world. It helps the admission committee to get an insight into the applicant’s character from the point-of-view of those who observed him/her in the workplace.

    Ques. How long should an MBA recommendation letter be?

    Ans. The ideal size of an LOR for MBA is 1 A-4 size page written on a single side. However, this may vary with university.

    Ques. What should be included in LOR for MBA?

    Ans. The 3 basic components that must be covered in LOR for MBA are the applicant-recommender relationship, applicant’s qualities, and examples to support such claims. Other topics that can be discussed include the applicant’s vision, performance comparison with other colleagues, personal qualities, etc.

    Ques. Why is LOR for an MBA required?

    Ans. LOR for MBA is required so that the admission team can get to know the applicant from the perspective of someone who has observed his/her work in a workplace. It also helps in verifying the information mentioned by the applicant in SOP.

    Ques. Can a coworker write a letter of recommendation for MBA?

    Ans. This depends upon the university you are applying for. Some of them accept LOR written by coworkers whereas others don’t. However, at least 1 letter of recommendation for MBA must be from the current employer of the applicant.