HOW TO CHOOSE RECOMMENDERS FOR MiM APPLICATIONS
Letters of Recommendation are a big game-changer when it comes to the MiM application process. Through the letter(s) written by your chosen recommender, the admissions committee learns about your professional, academic, and non-academic competence. A recommendation is an essential component of the application process since it allows the institute to learn about you holistically and as a MiM applicant, it gives the admissions committee a clear view of your career trajectory (as it involves quite limited work experience) and accomplishments. An LoR’s content should be excellent in terms of correct projection of your achievements, problem-solving ability, and showing leadership.
Recommendations are a critical part of Master in Management applications, for three reasons.
The first reason is that they are a validation of the skills you claim to have and the strengths you highlight on your CV. The second reason is that people tend to be more objective about other people than about themselves. You may be very self-critical, but your recommenders will have seen what kind of impact you had in your workplace or at university. Thirdly, if you are changing careers or sectors, a recommendation from someone who can draw parallels between your previous experience and the skills and knowledge needed for your new career path is invaluable.
A good MiM recommendation should explain how you stand out as a candidate and what makes you unique, but it should not be too effusive. Admissions officers have seen it all before. They know when recommendations have been written by someone who really knows the applicant or by someone who is just trying to produce a favorable impression. A good recommendation will tell a story about your achievements, rather than simply listing your accomplishments. It will describe why the recommender thinks you are a good fit for the program, and it should demonstrate that you are capable of thriving in the program’s environment.
What To Look For In an MiM recommender
It is necessary to choose the recommenders with caution – always keep in mind that the university’s Admissions Team sifts through applications in abundance, and yours wouldn’t stand out until you have impactful content. Now, to make your LORs unique, you must make sure you request such a dignitary who can associate your traits and successes with real-life examples – meaning, who knows you. Another key element to remember is that they should try to include distinct instances in each one to paint a more creative picture of your profile.
While deciding on this important factor of choosing someone to write you an influential LOR, there are multiple aspects to be considered, as in, will they be able to showcase your qualities and learnings, and tell the multiple stories of your transition into a better-equipped applicant for the program, or not. Here are some principles on which your LOR should be created, and that will yo give you a clear idea of whom to settle for this job-
- A perfect recommender is someone who knows you and appreciates your work – basically someone who has firsthand experienced your professional and academic approach to situations and is willing to share concrete examples of your significant contribution and competence.
- He/She should indicate your position from your academic years (primarily undergraduate) and provide a comparison with students who have completed their undergrad at the same institution.
- A crucial distinction to be made is to make sure that the LOR is not a mirror image of your SOP. The recommender should make your LOR optimal in a manner as to represent facets of your personality that aren’t covered in your SOP or CV. An expert will not write a generic LOR – it is a no-no because it adds very little value to your application for the programme.
When it comes to an LoR, the designation of the recommender is extremely important. Typically, recommenders come from the undergraduate institution (preferably your specific department) as well as where you did your internship (if so). Similarly, a letter from the immediate manager or a senior in the company/companies you’ve worked for makes a difference. Now, who all can be good recommenders-
- Your project guide for senior and final year students.
- Any project managers/companies with whom you have collaborated.
- The professor who taught you in undergraduate courses and your concerned field of study.
- Wherever you have previously worked/interned, project managers/corporate authorities can be another good option.
How to choose an academic recommender for your MiM application
It is extremely important to choose an academic recommender for your Master in Management application who can write about your academic and extracurricular performance as well as your future potential.
Remember that you are applying to top business schools and they want to know why you will be successful in their programs. Therefore, it is very important that the recommender writing on your behalf has a very thorough understanding of the program to which you are applying.
The academic recommender should also have a good understanding of your personality traits, such as leadership, interpersonal skills, and extracurricular activities.
Ideally, you would want somebody with whom you have taken a class before so they know how you compare with other students in terms of academic performance.
If possible, choose someone who has supervised your project or research work (if any). If not, then choose someone who knows you well enough from your classes or extracurricular activities and can comment on your personality traits in detail.
We would prefer that you get recommendations from professors rather than teaching assistants because professors are more likely to have seen a larger sample size of students and therefore have a better perspective on how good of a student you are compared to others.
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How to choose a professional recommender for your MiM application
The professional recommender is someone who can write about your professional skills, personal qualities and the potential for growth. The more they know you and can speak specifically to your strengths and weaknesses, the better. While not all MiM programs require a professional recommendation (most are fine with two academic recommendations too), it is good to get one because it can provide a professional perspective, validation for your goals, and a different viewpoint from the academic recommendation.
The most common recommender is a manager or supervisor, but you could also ask someone who is in a senior position in your company or industry. This person should be familiar with your work and know the extent of your responsibilities, as well as any special projects you may have worked on. Sometimes, an internship can be used for professional recommendations if you do not have full-time work experience. Even though it was an internship, if this person knew you well enough to speak to your skills and abilities then they could be a good fit for a recommendation.
It’s best to choose someone who knows you professionally, but if there is no one like that in your network then it’s fine to choose someone else who knows you well enough to write about these things.
Some more things to keep in mind when selecting MiM recommenders
Here are some additional factors you should keep in mind when deciding who to ask for a recommendation letter.
1.Choose someone who can represent you well
Make sure your recommender has seen you perform in different situations and is able to speak about them in detail. For example, if you have a recommendation from a teacher, it’s better if it’s not just an academic reference but also from an extracurricular activity (such as a club advisor). If your professional reference is from an internship, it’s better if it’s also from full-time work experience. The more varied the role and the longer time they interact with you, the better they will be able to speak about your strengths as a candidate.
Another mistake is to pick recommenders because of the title they hold. Often students think that if they have a recommendation from someone with a fancy title (e.g., CEO, Head of Department, Founder, etc.), it will help their application stand out. However, at the end of the day, the nature of your relationship with your recommender is far more important than his or her title. If your recommender has only seen you in passing and barely knows who you are, it will show in their recommendation letter and can actually harm your chances of admission.
2. Consider the length of time since you worked with them
The length of time since you last worked with your recommender is a significant factor. Similarly, if your academic references are older than three years since graduation, they may not have relevant information about your current performance.
3. Be ready to follow up
Your recommenders are busy, and they are anyway doing you a favour by writing your recommendation. As a result, you may need to follow up with them multiple times before they finish your recommendation. Do not treat this as an additional burden on yourself, but as something that you have to do to ensure that the recommendations are submitted timely and that your recommendations get regular reminders to work on them.
4. Do not choose a friend or family member
This one is especially true for family business applicants. It’s easy to think that someone you know well would be able to write the best recommendation possible for you. However, this isn’t always true. Unless it’s a business relationship, the recommender may not be able to speak about you in any concrete way. Plus, if a friend or family member writes a recommendation letter for you but still doesn’t get to know other parts of your character or skill set, it could leave an incomplete picture of who you really are as an applicant.