Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
Even though the admissions season is in its earliest stages, many eager MBA candidates are aggressively moving forward (as they should be!). One step that you might consider taking now is selecting your recommenders and then meeting with them to discuss your experiences together and your path going forward. Some candidates may wonder if such meetings are appropriate. At MBA Mission, we not only think that they are appropriate, but we recommend them — as does Derrick Bolton, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who blogged about this a few years ago in a post that remains on the GSB website. Bolton stated,
You then have occasion to have several candid conversations about your personal and professional development with these individuals who are committed to your success. Through these discussions, you can get feedback that will help you better understand your own strengths and development needs, make a larger impact in your current position, build stronger working relationships, and refine your personal and professional aspirations… If you do so, I believe your recommender will produce a more powerful letter of reference because the process itself will have been so compelling. Further, you will learn more this way!
Recommendations are a key part of the admissions process. While we strongly recommend that recommenders write their letters independently, we still suggest that candidates take time to reflect on their relationships with their recommenders in order to bring long forgotten stories to the surface and thus ensure that these letters are sincere and powerful.