Stanford director传授如何写作推荐信

6已有 1428 次阅读  2010-05-25 01:19   标签director  Stanford  传授  写作  推荐 

How To Secure Compelling Letters of Reference

The business school application process provides you with a compelling opportunity. The valuable by-product of this process is the business school application itself. But I hope that you will realize during the process that the larger benefit is the unique chance to reflect deeply on your experiences and values, assess your potential as a leader, and determine how you can make the biggest impact in our society. Seize this opportunity!

The Benefit To You of Asking for Recommendations

Your essays give you a chance to contemplate your life experiences and to renew your aspirations, and then to share your story in a thoughtful, personal way.

The process of securing letters of reference is an experience that, in my opinion, can be just as valuable. In selecting the individuals who will serve as your recommenders—people with whom you have worked closely, who can evaluate your impact, from whom you have learned, who can see the areas in which you have grown and those in which you still develop further, in whom you place your confidence—you get them to commit to help you reach your goals.

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.

In other words, instead of viewing this process as a means to an end (the letter of reference), I encourage you to view this process as a valuable experience in and of itself. 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!

Stories About You, Written By Others

It is critical that the content of your recommendation be determined solely by your recommender. Why? To quote my friend Marie Mookini, who served as Director of MBA Admissions at Stanford for a decade:

"Application essays are stories about you, told by you. Letters of reference are also stories told about you, but told by others."

Your opportunity to share your voice comes in the essays, which work complementarily with the recommendations. Others see things in you that you may not identify in yourself. If you rob yourself of the feedback and growth that come from discussion with others, then your application loses the richness and depth of another perspective on you.

To be explicit, you must not write your own letter of reference—even if your recommender asks you to put together a draft for her/him and agrees to sign the letter. On the other hand, we would not suggest that you simply send your recommender the letter of reference form (or email, for the online letters of reference) without some context. You need to exercise judgment, just as you will need to exercise judgment as a leader throughout your life.

It is appropriate for you to give your recommender context on what you are trying to convey through your application, particularly how the Stanford MBA experience can help you reach your goals. You should be prepared to provide some personal and professional background information; some applicants find that sharing their essays can initiate a productive dialogue.

We suggest that you review the recommendation form and jot down relevant anecdotes in which you demonstrated the competencies or character traits being asked about.

Specific stories will help make you come alive in the paper process, and your recommender will appreciate the information. However, the actual content of the letter must be determined solely by the recommender.

Two Types of Recommendations

Recommendations are a vital part of the admission process. Letters of reference help us to learn more about your character, behaviors, and attitudes, as well as your impact on those around you—traits that we rely upon heavily in evaluating your leadership potential.

They demonstrate to us not only how you can contribute at Stanford, but also—and this is an essential part of every admission decision—how the Stanford MBA Program can help you to grow personally, intellectually, and professionally.

There are three letters of reference for the Stanford MBA Program application. All three recommendations should provide evidence of your impact on the organization and should demonstrate your ability to learn and grow.

  • Two recommendations (Professional/Workplace) of the three should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional competence and personal character.
  • The third recommendation (Peer/Team) should come from a person with whom you work side-by-side.

Of these two Professional/Workplace References, at least one should come from your current direct supervisor. (If this is not possible because, for example, you have just moved to a new job, or because you do not wish your direct supervisor to know that you are applying to business school, then simply include a brief but specific explanation in the Additional Information section of the application).

The other Professional/Workplace Reference could come from anyone in a position to provide a perspective on your work, such as a client, board member, or a previous supervisor.

The third recommendation (Peer/Team) should come from someone who can speak descriptively about what it's like to work side-by-side with you on a project or on a team. This letter of reference may come from within or outside the workplace. For example, you could choose a co-worker from your organization, or you could pick a colleague from a community activity. We understand that this person may not always be a peer in title, but it should be a person for whom there is no structural/titular/positional influence in your relationship. We hope that you understand—and adhere to—the spirit of our request.

What Matters Most In Selecting A Recommender

We often are asked how you should select recommenders. Do titles matter? What about a recommendation from a professor? Will a recommendation from a Stanford MBA alumna/us make more of an impact? Is it better to get all three recommendations from the same company/organization, or is it better to have them come from different companies/organizations?

The short answer to these questions is that we focus on the content of the letter, not the recommender's title, alumni affiliation, company/organization, or status.

This means you should choose a recommender who knows you well, and who will make time to write a detailed, thoughtful letter of reference.

Regardless of the recommender's title or position, if the person does not know you well, and does not take the time to provide specific anecdotes and candid examples, the letter will not strengthen your application.

A brief note about academic recommendations: If you worked with a faculty member outside the classroom, perhaps as a teaching assistant or on an independent research opportunity, then that professor might be in a position to write a helpful recommendation—but you have to think carefully about whether that person can address the questions we ask in the recommendation form.

We often say at the Business School that most Stanford MBA students have excelled by doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. If you commit to make this "ordinary" recommendation process extraordinarily valuable for you, it will yield benefits that extend far beyond your application.

Derrick Bolton, MBA 1998
Assistant Dean for MBA Admissions

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发表评论 评论 (3 个评论)

  • smartfay 2010-05-25 15:37
  • hsWang 2010-05-25 15:49
    smartfay: 这个一定要顶
  • smartfay 2010-05-25 15:51
    hsWang: 只有你一个人顶。。。看来识货的人不多,哈哈