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Letters of Reference

Qualitative accounts of your leadership potential and personal qualities are essential to our evaluation of your application. Your letters of reference should provide specific examples that illustrate your potential to make a difference in the world.


We request three letters of reference:

  • Two professional/workplace references
  • One peer reference

All letters of reference must be submitted by the deadline of the round in which you apply.

Professional/Workplace References

Submit one reference from your current, direct supervisor and another from someone in a position to evaluate your work.

Supervisor Reference

You must obtain at least one recommendation from your current, direct supervisor. We understand, however, that you may be in a situation that prevents you from providing a reference from your current direct supervisor. For example, you may:

  • Be self-employed
  • Work for a family business and a family member is your supervisor
  • Be in a new position and your direct supervisor does not know you that well
  • Not have notified your direct supervisor that you are applying to business school

In this case, use your judgment in finding a source for your recommendation — a previous supervisor, a client, a member of your board of directors, or any other individual who reviews your work.

If you are unable to provide a letter from your current direct supervisor, include a brief note of explanation in the Additional Information section of the online application. It is up to you to choose an appropriate replacement.

If you are a college senior, you may use a direct supervisor from a summer, part-time, or internship position. Alternatively, you may ask someone who oversaw you in an extracurricular, volunteer, or community activity.

Second Professional Reference

The second reference must come from someone in a position to evaluate your work, such as a manager of another department in your organization, a previous supervisor, or a client or customer.

Peer Reference

The final reference must come from an individual with whom you have worked as an equal. This person may be from your place of employment, or from a charitable, extracurricular, or professional team experience. This person may not be your supervisor or subordinate. We understand that this person may not always be a peer in title, but it should be a person for whom there is no structural/positional influence in your relationship.

Choosing Your Recommenders

We are impressed by what a reference letter says, not by the title of the individual who wrote it or the native language of the recommender. There is no one right mix of recommendations that will affect your admission standing. You should choose individuals who:

  • Have had significant direct involvement with you within the last few years.
  • Know you well and can provide the details and examples that support their assertions.
  • Are truly enthused to write a recommendation for you and will spend sufficient time writing a thoughtful letter.

All three of your recommenders will also be asked to assess you on some competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership.

Submitting Letters of Reference

Your recommenders are required to submit their letters through the online application by the deadline of the round in which you apply. You are responsible for ensuring the letters are submitted on time, and will be able to see the status of each letter (either started, not started, or submitted). Late letters of recommendation will not be reviewed with your application.

  1. Register your recommenders. Go to the “Recommendations” tab on the application, and enter their personal information carefully. It is extremely important to enter the email address correctly so that your recommender receives the instructions in a timely manner. Read and check the box next to the waiver statement for each letter of reference.
  2. Your recommender receives an email with log in information.
  3. Your recommender completes and submits his/her recommendation. If he/she experiences technical difficulties, the recommender can contact ApplyYourself Technical Support directly by clicking on the button labeled “Tech Support.”
  4. You and your recommender receive an email confirmation.
  5. Submit your application once all recommendations have been uploaded.

If you do not have a recommendation from a current supervisor, provide a brief explanation in the “Additional Information” section of the application.

Do not mail or fax letters of recommendation that have already been submitted through the application.

Last Updated 2 Aug 2013