Reference Letters

We use feedback from recommenders to understand how others perceive you and to gain a firsthand perspective of the influence and impact you have had on others.

Two reference letters are required. Each letter should provide information and examples that help us understand your:

  • Leadership aptitude
  • Skills and competencies
  • Character traits that align with our values

What You Provide

In your application, you will register two individuals who will serve as your recommenders.

Choose individuals who know you well and who will put time, effort, and enthusiasm into your recommendation. They should be able to provide recent and specific anecdotes about your leadership expertise and speak to your managerial performance and executive potential.

Your recommenders should be:

  • A current, direct supervisor
  • A former supervisor, an indirect supervisor, or an individual who has had direct involvement with you recently

What We Ask Recommenders

Both of your recommenders will be asked to assess you on some character traits and competencies that contribute to successful leadership.  Here are the questions we ask recommenders:

  1. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Provide specific examples. (e.g., what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) - Up to 500 words
  2. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. - Up to 500 words
  3. (Optional) Is there anything else we should know?

A Few Words of Advice

More Is Not Better

While we know there are people excited about you who may want to submit unofficial letters of reference, additional letters are neither necessary nor encouraged. The overwhelming majority of successful applicants do not submit any additional materials. If someone submits an additional letter of reference, we will do our best to add it to your application. However, we cannot guarantee it will be considered.

Language for Recommendations

Your letters of reference must be submitted in English. For references from non-native English speakers, we will ignore minor syntax or grammar errors, or awkward phrasing. However, it may be to your advantage to have your recommender write the letter in his/her native language and then have it translated into English.


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Tip: Process for Translating Letters

If English is not your recommender’s native language, ask them to write the letter in their native language, have it professionally translated, then submit it online. As an applicant, you cannot translate or submit the letter.

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Tip: Options for a Direct Supervisor

If you have not disclosed your application to your supervisor, you are the CEO or cofounder of a company, or perhaps you work for a family business (meaning you cannot ask a current direct supervisor for a reference) — no problem. Choose the next best alternative such as an indirect or previous supervisor, a client, or board member. What’s most important is to ask someone who can speak comprehensively about what you have accomplished and how, as well as your growth potential.