Curiosity killed the cat, and it can kill your MBA aspirations too if you can’t resist the temptation to view your recommendations.
Poor recommendations are the kiss of death for any MBA application, because schools know it’s the most objective information they will receive outside the personal interview. You can pump your own stock all day long, but if someone you trust and who knows you doesn’t sing your praises, it sends a very negative signal to the admissions committee that you may be more fluff than the right stuff.
You must go the extra mile with your recommenders to choose those who are truly in your corner and have a genuine interest in your success.
Every MBA candidate endures the same gauntlet of applications before they claim a coveted seat in their target program. On the way in, we all must gather recommendations from trusted supporters and former supervisors. While it’s not always easy to choose good recommenders, it’s vital to a successful result. To reduce the risk of a less than inspired or poorly written recommendation, it’s tempting to take a peek at them before you submit.
Schools give you the option to read your applications: Don’t do it.
The one thing that’s worse than submitting a bad recommendation, is to submit a recommendation that you have had the chance to review. Remember that your recommender knows whether or not you have chosen to read the recommendation, and adcoms know what they say and how they rate you can be influenced by this decision. Waiving your right to view the recommendation ensures the admissions committees that the writer had the freedom to be truly objective, without fear of backlash or losing face with you. This means true objectivity remains intact.
The best situation is having a supervisor who lavishes praises in your recommendation without your ever knowing the details.
In order to achieve this, spend some thoughtful time choosing whom to invite into your MBA application process and then even more time casting your vision to them so they can do a deep dive into the details of why you are uniquely qualified to succeed as an MBA candidate.
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