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MBA Letter: Tips to Write the LOR for MBA Application


It's essential that you have a strong letter of reference (LOR) ready for your MBA program because it will play a significant role in your application. Beyond your GPA and other academic achievements, a well-written LOR for MBA that impresses the admissions committee and emphasises your abilities and attributes will help you stand out from the competition.

Your MBA recommendation letter(s) ought to be thorough yet concise. Along with your transcripts, MBA letter of intent, MBA personal statement, and any other papers needed for your official MBA application, these letters will make up your whole application package.

What is a Letter of Recommendation for an MBA?

lor for mba

Most MBA applicants need a document called an MBA recommendation letter. Generally, candidates are urged to submit two reference letters; however, this may differ per school. Your recommender/writer will describe your characteristics, abilities, and accomplishments, as well as their interactions with you, in an MBA recommendation letter.

The main goal is to explain why you are an excellent candidate for an MBA and why the programme you are applying to will benefit from having you. It would be best if you only had encouraging and powerful suggestions; thus, it is crucial that your authors fully back and encourage you in your ambitions.

The letters will speak to your character and give the admissions committee information that they wouldn't learn from reading your transcript, noting your GPA, or looking at your list of honours and achievements. 

Understanding the LOR for MBA Applications

First and foremost, you should always review the recommendation letter specifications of each MBA program to which you apply. Some people could specify who they want to serve as your references, such as professors, managers, volunteer programme directors, etc.

However, because this is an MBA reference letter, it would be best for you to include recommendations from people who have worked with you in a supervisory capacity, whether university professors or office managers. These individuals would be more qualified to talk about your career.

Crafting a Strong MBA Recommendation Letter

By giving precise information about your professional background and character traits, you may complement and strengthen the remainder of your business school application. Even questionable applicants may be pushed into the admission pile by them.

Avoid including unfavourable details that call into question the impression you've worked so hard to present. Even average letters of recommendation might be detrimental if they lack that additional punch. 

These three suggestions can help you get outstanding letters of reference for your MBA application.

1. Be Careful who you Choose as Recommenders

Business schools favour suggestions from industry experts above those from academics. Try to obtain both letters from reputable sources if an MBA school asks for two letters. One of them must come from your current direct supervisor (If any).

A former boss is a suitable recommender, too. If this is not possible,  an indirect manager is also an option. Usually, if three letters are needed, one can come from an academic source.

Your MBA recommenders have to be able to elaborate on your qualifications and support the ideas you've previously laid out in your own MBA essays. They should emphasise your leadership, interpersonal, and career accomplishments in the same ways that you do. If you have a few people in your network that meet the criteria, start building those connections.

2. Give your MBA Recommenders Good Preparation

Everyone is busy. People enjoy having a plan. Do not write your recommendations for people to sign. Give your recommenders the background knowledge they require to produce strong and don't want you to compose your recommendations for people to sign. 

Here are some suggestions that users have found helpful:

  • Give them the same resume you'll be including with your application.
  • Your statement of intent should explain what you hope to achieve with your application. If you haven't already done so, give them a general summary of your statement of purpose.
  • Let your recommender know if you'd like feedback on a particular project or task you oversaw. Give them instances of how they can demonstrate your talents and abilities.
  • Inform your recommender of the colleges you are applying to and the reasons you selected them.
  • Prior to deadlines, request recommendations. If you really do need a reference right away, go in person and let them know why.
  • Make sure to specify whether the letter should be sent by mail or the business school's online system when your recommenders are ready to submit it. Include envelopes and stamps if your schools need postal letters.

3. Include a Message of Thankfulness

It is a courtesy to write recommendation letters. It's courteous and considerate to send a thank you message to your recommenders two weeks before the deadline. The message will also serve as a gentle reminder that the letter was due to be delivered already.

Finally, after receiving your MBA acceptance decision in the mail, inform your recommenders of how everything went out. 

How to Write an LOR For an MBA

Begin with an engaging introduction to the significance of Letters of Recommendation in the MBA application process. Explain how an LOR provides insights into the applicant's abilities, character, and potential from a third-party perspective. Highlight its role in distinguishing candidates in a competitive pool.

What is an LOR?

  • Definition: Briefly define what a Letter of Recommendation is and its purpose in the MBA application context.
  • Importance: Explain why LORs are crucial for your MBA application, focusing on how they offer a personal narrative to your professional and academic achievements.

Who to Choose as Your Recommender

  • Selection Criteria: Outline how to select the ideal recommender, stressing the importance of choosing individuals who are intimately familiar with your work ethic, achievements, and personality.
  • Professional vs. Academic Recommenders: Discuss the pros and cons of choosing a professional supervisor versus an academic professor, depending on your background and the MBA program's requirements.

Preparing to Write the LOR

  • Gathering Information: List the types of information and documents you should provide to your recommender to facilitate a comprehensive and personalized letter.
  • Setting Deadlines: Stress the importance of giving recommenders ample time to write the LOR, including suggested timelines.

Structuring the LOR

  • Introduction: Guidelines for crafting a compelling opening statement that introduces the recommender and their relationship with the applicant.
  • Body Content: Instructions for detailing the applicant's relevant skills, achievements, and potential for success in an MBA program. Include tips for incorporating specific examples and anecdotes.
  • Conclusion: Advice on concluding the LOR with a strong endorsement of the applicant's candidacy for the MBA program.

Key Elements to Include in an LOR

  • Leadership Qualities: Emphasize the need to highlight leadership experiences and potential.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Illustrate the importance of demonstrating the applicant's ability to work effectively in teams.
  • Innovation and Problem-Solving Skills: Suggest ways to showcase the applicant's creativity and analytical skills.
  • Ethical Standards and Integrity: Discuss the significance of reflecting the applicant's moral compass and professionalism.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Generic Statements: Warn against the use of clichés and the importance of personalizing the letter to reflect the unique qualities of the applicant.
  • Overlooking Weaknesses: Provide strategies for addressing weaknesses in a manner that showcases growth and resilience.
  • Ignoring Specific Requirements: Remind readers to tailor the LOR to meet the specific requirements of each MBA program.

Final Thoughts

Conclude with encouragement for both recommenders and applicants to approach the LOR process with sincerity and strategic thought. Offer reassurance that a well-crafted LOR can significantly enhance an MBA application.

Useful Resources Before You Start

It is beneficial to spend some time gathering and digesting data on the prospective student's application as a whole as you are ready to write your letter. Some valuable things may be:

Applications Programmes 

Application programs for MBA students are software tools and platforms specifically chosen to aid in various aspects of their academic and professional journey. 

Intended Fields of Study

MBA programs offer diverse fields of study, including finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, healthcare management, and more. Students can tailor their education to align with their career goals and interests, gaining expertise in specific areas of business to excel in their chosen industry.

Additional Application Documents

MBA applicants often need to submit additional documents like a resume, essays, transcripts, recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose to provide a comprehensive view of their qualifications and aspirations.

Guidelines for the Recommendation Letter

You can select recommenders who know you well, give ample lead time, offer insights into your qualifications, emphasise specific achievements, and align your qualities with program requirements.

Talk with the potential learner following your evaluation of the introductory materials. Before you start organising your letter, take the time to ask any remaining questions you may have regarding the requirements and the procedure. It would be best if you also used this chance to collect any additional information you may need.

Many business schools require or recommend Letters of Recommendation (LORs) as part of their application process. Some well-known business schools that recommend LORs include Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD, and London Business School, among others.

However, specific requirements and recommendations can vary between programs, so it's essential to check the individual school's application guidelines.

The following inquiries might help you write a better letter:

  • What are your immediate and long-term objectives, and how can an MBA aid in their fulfilment?
  • What do you consider to be your best assets and weakest points?
  • What do you consider to be your best professional achievement thus far?
  • What facet of business most interests you?
  • Has anything that has happened in our partnership affected the way you go about doing business?

So that you can review the potential student's responses as you continue to work on the letter, take notes or record your chat.

Your MBA Recommendation Letter's Structure

lor for mba

You're prepared to begin planning or writing once you've acquired the relevant data.

So, talking about LORs for an MBA application, typically, two formats are followed. 

  • Q/A LOR
  • Free format LOR


For a lot of MBA schools abroad, different LOR questions need to be answered. But generally, those questions are specific to what they ask and talk about almost the same content through a different set of questions. Given below are the GMAC LOR Q/A, which is followed by a majority of universities in their MBA applications. 

  • Please briefly describe your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organisation. (50 words)
  • How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (500 words)
  • Describe the most crucial piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (500 words)
  • Is there anything else we should know? (Optional)


Besides the Q/A LOR, the free format LOR is also acceptable in some universities's MBA applications.

Your recommendation letter should follow a standard format that includes an introduction, two to three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The letter should be written in a formal tone, using typical business letter formatting.


Start your letter out with a proper salutation. Make an introduction and list your qualifications and affiliations. Next, please give a brief description of the potential MBA candidate you are writing about and your relationship with them. Keep this section concise; you may go into more information in the letter's body.

Middle Paragraphs

Mention any special abilities, leadership potential, or other characteristics that set this person apart. For instance, if the candidate wishes to work in the nonprofit sector, try to relate his/her highly specialised aspirations to the particular program they apply for.

Include specific instances when you've seen these qualities in action, and explain how those instances support your claim that the individual would be successful in an MBA school. The most important part is to be sincere in this and also address areas for development or criticism that have impacted the candidate remarkably.

Section Description Importance
Introduction Start with the recommender introducing themselves, their position, and their relationship to the applicant. Include how long they've known the applicant and in what capacity. Sets the context for the recommendation and establishes the credibility of the recommender.
Body Content Divided into several paragraphs, each focusing on specific qualities, achievements, or experiences of the applicant. Demonstrates the applicant's suitability for an MBA program through concrete examples.
Leadership Qualities Highlight instances where the applicant demonstrated leadership skills, including both successes and challenges. MBA programs highly value leadership potential; this section showcases the applicant's readiness for leadership roles.
Teamwork and Collaboration Describe situations where the applicant worked effectively within a team, emphasizing their ability to collaborate and contribute. Illustrates the applicant's interpersonal skills and ability to thrive in collaborative environments.
Innovation and Problem-Solving Skills Provide examples of the applicant's creativity, initiative, and problem-solving capabilities in professional or academic settings. Highlights the applicant's analytical thinking and innovative approach to challenges.
Ethical Standards and Integrity Share anecdotes or examples that reflect the applicant's moral principles and professional integrity. Affirms the applicant's character and ethical values, which are crucial for future business leaders.
Conclusion Conclude with a strong, personalized endorsement of the applicant, summarizing why they are a suitable candidate for the MBA program. Reinforces the recommendation, leaving a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

Top MBA Colleges for Admission 

When it comes to pursuing an MBA, choosing the right college can significantly impact your future career prospects. Several factors come into play, such as the quality of education, faculty, infrastructure, industry connections, and alumni network. Here is a list of some of the top MBA colleges worldwide known for their exceptional programs:

MBA Colleges Abroad Program Duration Full-time MBA Tuition Fees Full-time MBA Average Salary Average GMAT
Harvard MBA 2 Year $115,000 $90,789 720
Stanford MBA 2 year $79,860 $160,000 650
Wharton MBA 2 year $87,370 $175,000 728
Columbia MBA 2 year $80,472 $175,000 729
MIT MBA 20 months $197,000 $165,000 730
Cornell MBA 2 year $79,910 $155,048 710
Tuck MBA 2 year $77,520 $175,000 726
Kellogg MBA 2 year $78,276 $175,000 731
UCLA Anderson MBA 2 year $45,240 $130,000 710
Rotman MBA 2 Year CAD $136,410 CAD $104,622 720

Useful Links

Deadlines MBA Deadlines
Essays MBA Essays
SOP Statement of Purpose for MBA
Resume  MBA Resume Format


Make sure you read the requirements and application materials for each university you're applying to if you're applying to an MBA program. Please choose the appropriate authors for your work and give them adequate time and advance notice to create a letter of excellent quality. 

 I need someone to write my MBA recommendation letter. Whom Do I Request?

Your MBA reference letter should be written by someone who is a professor, manager, instructor, employer, or teaching assistant. Even if you might only need two writers, it's better to come up with 3-5 candidates in advance in case the person you contact cannot take on the assignment.

When Do I Ask for My Recommendations to Write My Letter?

The ideal amount of time to offer your recommenders to prepare your letter is at least eight weeks. You don't want the quality of your recommendation letter to be compromised since your bosses, supervisors, and/or instructors are probably busy. If you have someone in mind to write your letter months in advance, you may always choose to give them a heads-up and formally assign them the work eight weeks before the application deadline (with a clear due date).


How many letters of recommendation are needed?

It is not advised to submit more or fewer letters of recommendation than necessary. If you submit too few or too many letters, the admissions committee may classify your application as "incomplete." Additionally, it's possible that they will disregard the extra letters, so all your effort will be for nothing. Both situations might give the impression that you are unable to follow directions, which could hinder the admissions process.

 If I do not have anyone to write a recommendation letter for me, what happens?

If you intend to attend graduate school, you should be aware that building solid relationships in both the academic and professional worlds is crucial. You could require a recommendation from someone more than once in order to be taken into consideration or admitted to a programme!


What is the best way to contact my writers to ask for a recommendation?

Asking someone to write a reference letter for an MBA might be intimidating! But don't worry, this duty is one that many specialists are accustomed to completing. If you've If you have interacted with them previously (as a student, coworker, etc.), you may be certain that, as long as you give them enough notice and ask nicely, there is a strong chance they will agree to your request. But don't forget to request "strong" letters.

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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