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How to Persuade the Recommender

For creating memorable essays, we can help you build narratives. For Interviews, we have a few tricks that will make you a better conversationalist. But one part of the MBA Application where we expect the applicant to lead is the Recommendation Letter.

I have been approached a few times with the question "Shall I write my own recommendation letter?” It takes a 10-minute rant before applicants understand what I am trying to say.

Your voice is your own.

It is unique.

If you try to write your own recommendation letter, it always comes across in the way the phrases intermix, and how you frequently use your favorite words. Fake recommendation letter tends to be overly sympathetic and less objective about the applicant.

June - Best time for Meeting your Recommender

For a September or even a January Deadline, start shortlisting, and persuading the recommender by June.

If you have not already pursued your supervisor for the recommendation letter, here is a to-do list.

1) Shortlist at least 4 recommenders

What we have seen over the years is that supervisors have a hectic travel schedule. Last minute change in plans can create havoc in your application schedule. Even if the recommender wants you to succeed, persuading them to write a stellar letter between Jet Lags never works out.

Shortlist your favorite supervisors for your favorite schools.

2) Recommenders Burn Out


Don't expect the same level of enthusiasm from the recommenders on his 8th essay about your strengths. Most of the questions are repeated, but a copy-paste approach for, say, Stanford and Harvard would not yield the same result. Each school stands for something unique. And if you don't debrief the recommender on what the school expects, the narrative will fail. Not all your attributes have to be highlighted for your application to stand out.

Map the school's USP with your strengths.

Ask the recommender to highlight only those attributes using elements of storytelling. We have shown how in our Winning MBA Essay Guide.

3) Understand what motivates the Recommender

When I requested my favorite supervisor in 2008 to write a recommendation letter, he told, "write and show it to me. I will sign it.” We are lazy. Supervisors who might be 5-10 years older than you is already taking too much on their plate. The pro-bono work on your recommendation letter needs some tangible return. I am not suggesting you bribe them. Well, not money at least.

But everybody needs some form of appreciation.

Understand what the recommender value:

a) Is the person a sports fanatic? Get them tickets for his favorite team (at least 5 games).
b) Is the person a movie buff? Buy a prequel, the original and the sequel to his favorite movie
c) Does the person need support with a new project? Volunteer to help.
d) Has the person recently welcomed a baby into the family? Get them a cute dress for each month - 3-4, 4-5 etc. for 12 months.

Your 8th recommendation letter will still find the enthusiasm that you deserve if you are thoughtful with your gifts.

Not all recommenders need gifts. Some value public appreciation. Your MBA plan might not be public yet but share how you appreciate the mentorship of the recommender.

4) Set a Schedule Early On

Most supervisors hate writing. You might even hate it. The word count in Essays limit the narrative fluidity MBA Applicants used to have in 2012. Recommendation Letter is the one place where you can bring a third person's perspective on your candidacy. Ask the recommender whether she would like to write letters for 2 schools this week or write one for each school every week.

Whatever be it, schedule it and add the plan to both your Calendars. Preferably, send a mail with an event invite. It is weird to manage your supervisor, but if you don't schedule it now, you would have to accept a mediocre letter, a couple of days before the deadline.

5) Explain what each school expects

I would recommend that you download our Winning MBA Essay Guide, take short notes on what each school expects and give a small (1-2 min) debrief on what the school expects.

Ideally, write an objective for each question in the recommendation letter and mention what you have highlighted in your essay

Q) What would you say are the applicant's strengths?

Objective:
Please highlight my Leadership and Entrepreneurial outlook (Stanford MBA)
Essay: Highlighted my extroversion and problem-solving skills.

Extroversion --> Leadership
Problem Solving # Entrepreneurial


The recommender can complement or supplement your narrative.

Ideally go for a 1:1 structure

In the above example, the recommender will focus on the applicant's leadership from the context of a high-impact project, but subtly mention how he was able to navigate complex work dynamics through extroversion and initiative. The applicant had highlighted his extroversion and problem-solving skills. The recommender can skip problem-solving skills but can mention a unique event where the candidate brought in new revenue streams by thinking like a start-up. Thus, highlighting his Entrepreneurial outlook.

Extroversion supplemented Leadership

Entrepreneurial Outlook complemented Problem Solving Skills


One mistake that we often see applicant make is using the exact traits - right to even the context, word usage, and backstory for essays and recommendation letter. The admission team expects you to coordinate, but subtlety and a distinct narrative for essays and recommendation letter are highly effective for authenticity.

Finally
Develop a friendship with your recommender. Share your worries and ask for advice. We tend to help friends, colleagues, and even supervisors who show vulnerability.
Vulnerability is highly persuasive.

Atul Jose
MBA Admission Consultant, F1GMAT
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80+ Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide

"Pressed against the deadline, I ordered F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay Guide as their blogs always had something interesting to say. It was by far one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Going through the Essay Guide, I learned the art of storytelling, using various ploys mentioned in the book. Most important one being the “W pattern,” a strategy of information sharing that creates a sense of excitement in the mind of the reader." - MIT Sloan MBA Candidate


Only 1 in 900 gains admission to Harvard MBA program. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the 899 rejected applicants.

ATTENTION is the secret ingredient. How will you get the attention of the essay reviewer?

You know why parables shared 1000 years ago are still shared among us?

Storytelling!

Yes, the art of storytelling has won presidency for Obama, transformed Apple from an unknown start-up to a brand synonymous with Quality, and gained admission for the average MBA Applicant.

F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay guide will teach you how to transform your essay to an epic life journey with trials and tribulations that will move the admission team.

Who Should Buy The Winning MBA Essay Guide?

If your essay looks too bland, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you, with examples, on how to use the elements of Storytelling like Incorporating "The Struggle", Using Emotional connectors, narrating the Journey and the use of Chronology, Vividness and Active Verbs to transform your essays.

If you are stuck in the Writing process, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to silence the Analytic Mind and overcome mental blocks.

If you feel that the essays are not persuasive, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will teach you how to use the W-Pattern narrative, Contexts, Turning Points and "The Show Don't Tell Approach" to write a Winning MBA Essay.

If you don't have enough leadership experience, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to highlight non-obvious qualities like Trust, Focus, Listening Skills, Personal Responsibility, Humility, Self-Knowledge, and other secondary traits to prove your leadership.

If you don't know how to review your essays, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.

Pages: 770

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes

+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (318 Words)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood) (667 Words)
   Sample Harvard MBA Essay - Volunteering (Mental Health Awareness)  (776 Words)

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

   Sample Goals Essay 1: Enterprise Technology to Consumer Marketing (496 Words)   
   Sample Goals Essay 2: Healthcare (Finance to Consulting) (499 Words)   
   Sample Goals Essay 3: FinTech (Product Manager to Strategy) (482 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 1: Value from NYC (237 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 2: Entrepreneur Mindset (237 Words)   
   Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 3: Teamwork and Learning (242 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #1 (Elon Musk) (250 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #2 (Father) (244 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #3 (Mother) (243 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #4 (Math Teacher) (242 Words)   
   Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #5 (Co-Founder) (250 Words)    

+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (473 words)  (Consulting to Finance)
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (482 Words) (VC to Consulting (Healthcare))
   Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (497 Words) (Business Development to Finance (Non-Profit in Energy))
   Sample Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s (388 Words)  
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Obesity Epidemic and Healthy Lifestyle (399 Words)  
   Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Energy Efficient Offices (395 Words)   
+ Stanford MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)

    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(400 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)    
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Finance to Green Energy Consulting (389 Words)
    Sample Why Stanford MBA: Private Equity to Operations(399 Words)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (740 Words)(Balance in Life)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (750 Words)(Vulnerability and Learning)    
    Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (748 Words)(Freedom and Commitment)

+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   

   Sample Goals Essay #1: Oil & Gas to Consulting (475 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #2: Social IMPACT to Marketing (Non-Profit) (472 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #3: Accounting to Entrepreneurship (Fashion)(495 Words)
   Sample Goals Essay #4: Technology (Programming to Product Development) (493 Words)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #1 (492 Words)(Father’s Restaurant Business and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #2 (639 Words) (Teach for America and Leadership)
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #3 (496 Words)(Opioid Crisis and Healthcare Innovation)  
   Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #4 (500 Words) (Disrupting the Food Supply Chain)

+ INSEAD MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)

    Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Marketing Lead) (499 Words)  
    Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Consulting to Product Development) (492 Words)  
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (398 Words) (Technology Consultant)
    Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (395 Words) (International Relations) (Negotiations)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (272 Words) (Hiking and Vlogging)
    Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (298 Words) (Improv Acting)

+ Haas MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
     Sample MBA Essay: Marketing   
     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
     Sample MBA Essay: Leadership   
     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
 
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)      

     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Business Development (Mobile Phone Start-Up)(485 Words)  
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Consulting (447 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Technology (448 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Marketing (491 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Entrepreneurship (496 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: IMPACT Investing (495 Words)
     Sample Yale Committment Essay: Oil & Gas to Clean Energy (Consulting) (464 Words)

+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional & a former member of a rock band (96 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a talent to do Impression (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through an Entrepreneurial failure (94 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Consulting for a Pharma Giant (Made a Difference) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Three-Level Sanitation Campaign (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Water Conservation Kit (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Losing client (100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Misreading Market Conditions (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Strategic Planning vs. Tactical Dominance in Chess (97 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone(extra-curricular) (93 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone (Daily Science Show) (99 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: Simplifying Operations (extra-curricular) (90 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Leadership and Culture) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Technology Project) (98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Making Business metrics relevant to a Creative team) (91 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Timidity)(98 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Laziness)(100 Words)   
   Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Pessimism) (96 Words)   
   Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Technology to Marketing)(299 Words)   

+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Consulting for Government (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Plan B (89 Words)   
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things   
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words) (Finance)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (494 Words) (Consulting)
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
     5 Examples with Images

+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   

        Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (Fear-based to team-based culture) (199 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Life Experience) (191 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Courage)(199 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Team Diversity) (193 Words)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (99 Words) (Networking)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Technology to Consulting)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Product Management)
     Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words) (Investment Banking to Private Equity)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words) (Uganda)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (49 Words) (Sweden)
     Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (48 Words) (China)

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)   
    Personality Type (Accepted MIT Sloan Students)   

    Cover Letter Checklist   
    Sample Cover Letter – Technology to Consulting (284 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Healthcare Entrepreneurship (297 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Consulting to Technology (298 Words)    
    Sample Cover Letter – Wealth Management to FinTech (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Manufacturing to Consulting (Retail) (299 Words)    
   Sample Cover Letter – Strategy to Consulting (297 Words)   

+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)(NEW)  
   Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Marketing) (449 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Technology) (447 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Non-Profit) (441 Words)   
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you? (Changing the Traditional Recruitment Formula)(443 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(Seniority-Based to Performance-based Culture)(444 Words)
    Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(From machine-centric to Human-centric customer support)(446 Words)
+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class) (NEW)   
    London as the Financial Hub   
    London as the Technology Hub   
    London as the Consulting Hub   
    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)   
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (489 Words)(Technology to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals (493 Words)(Hospitality to Consulting)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (500 Words)(Government/Non-Profit to Technology)
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals  (495 Words)(Medical Doctor to Investment Banking)

+ Sample Essays

+ The Art of Storytelling 
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths

+ How to write about your Weaknesses

Pages: 770
Sample Essays: 80+
Version: 2020 Entering Class


Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2020 Entering Class)




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