At IE Business School, we take a holistic approach to evaluating each candidate. We look at every aspect of your application; as such no single element is of unique importance within evaluation, but rather a compilation of all the elements submitted.

Between those submitted elements are the letters of recommendation, fundamental in “adding score points in the path to admission” as Julian Trigo, Director of Admissions at IE Business School. He also addressed that ”finding the right recommenders is crucial” to get to know the strenghts and weaknesses of a candidate applying to the International MBA program.

Here are some tips when choosing your recommenders:

1. Select your recommender: who is the right person to write about you? Find someone that knows you, from a professional or academic perspective, who is able to describe your strenghts and weaknesses. As a general rule, the more work experience you have, the less relevant academic recommenders become. You might use them when you have done “something more” than just only sitting in their classes.
Hierarchy is not important if the higher you aim the less you’re known – so, the recommender is not better if s/he’s the president and does not know you at all. Aim for those who can write a meaningful recommendation.

2. Prepare your recommender: ask for the letter with time in advance. Give enough time for your recommender to write a letter with high quality content avoiding general expressions and be as specific as possible

3. The final letter: make sure your recommender writes about your achievements, specific projects, communication skills, etcetera, following the format of IE Business School’s online application format  (

Something to avoid:

– Do not write the letter yourself, sometimes due to the daily workload, your recommender might ask you to write the letter and sign it. The letter of recommendation is the best way to get to know your strenghts and weaknesses, as well as your closeness and interaction with your recommender. Therefore, the Admissions Committee will verify the information as needed and reserves the right to deny candidates admission at this point in the application process if a discrepancy in the information provided through verification is noted.

– If you apply to several schools and ask the same recommender to write your recommendations, make them clear for which institution they are writing the letter. If they are using the wrong institution name, your recommendation letter might be voided.

For more information about the Admissions Process of IE Business School’s International MBA program, click here.

This post was first published on the International MBA blog.