In “The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to Business School,” Stacy Blackman advises applicants to prepare their recommenders and manage them in order to get the letters on time and in the correct format. I would add that applicants should ask their potential recommenders a crucial question: “Would you be able to write me a strong letter of recommendation?” I can always tell the difference between a letter written out of courtesy and one written by a person who truly wants to see the applicant succeed. Once the recommender has agreed to write the letter, send them an email with the crucial information (deadlines, word limits, and any instructions from the school on the required content). As the key to application success is specificity, you should also send the recommender a concise list of your key accomplishments and the specific strengths you would like him or her to praise. If you are using business school as a platform for a career change, you need to make sure your recommender knows this so that the letter supports the rest of your application. Tell your recommender why you want to make the career switch, what skills and strengths from your previous roles will translate to this new area, and how studying at X School will give you the critical skills to succeed. Ask permission from your recommenders to have an editor proofread their letters, as any error reflects poorly on you. Lastly, be sure to thank your recommenders and share the good news with them when you are accepted!
For more great advice from Stacy Blackman, visit: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/MBA-admissions-strictly-business/2012/06/15/the-dos-and-donts-of-applying-to-business-school