Stories about your behaviors, impact, and personal qualities told by others play an essential role in our evaluation of your application. Your letters of reference should provide specific examples and anecdotes that illustrate your ability and desire to make a difference in the world.
Two letters of reference:
- One reference from your current direct supervisor (or next best alternative) at work
- Your choice of either one additional supervisor reference or one peer reference.
Both letters of reference must be submitted by the deadline of the round in which you apply. You must not write, or have any involvement in, the drafting, translation, or submission of the letters.
Current Direct 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 in which a family member is your supervisor
- Have begun a new position where your direct supervisor does not know you well
- Have not notified your direct supervisor that you are applying to business school
- Be a student
If you are unable to provide a letter from your current direct supervisor, use your judgment in finding a source for your recommendation — a previous supervisor, an indirect manager, a client, a member of your board of directors, or any other individual who evaluates your work.
If you don’t have full-time work experience, you may use a direct supervisor from a summer, part-time, or internship position. Alternatively, you may ask someone who managed you in an extracurricular, research, volunteer, or community activity.
The second reference may come from either someone senior to you (i.e., someone who has evaluated or supervised your work) or from a peer (i.e., someone with whom you’ve interacted as an equal). The strongest references typically come from your workplace. You may select a reference from your professional, community, or extracurricular experiences. We recognize that work environments are fluid, so we give you the option of choosing the person who can best represent your potential impact.
The MSx Program requires three letters of reference. Designate one letter you would like reviewed by only the MSx Program. (Both programs will review the other two letters.)
Choosing Your Recommenders
We are impressed by what a reference letter says, not by the title or background of the individual who wrote it or the writing skills of the recommender. You should choose individuals who:
- Know you well through significant, direct involvement with you within the last three years.
- Will provide detailed anecdotes and examples to support their assertions.
- Are truly enthused to write a recommendation for you and will spend sufficient time writing a thoughtful letter.
We require your first recommendation to come from your current direct supervisor. We have no preference, however, between another supervisor and a peer for your second recommendation.
If you are currently a full-time student, we encourage you to select recommenders who have supervised your extra-curricular activities or work, such as internships or part-time jobs.