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Your letters of recommendation should avoid anything that could be construed as even remotely negative. This includes the subtle implications in the tone of the letter as well as the content itself.
Highlight specific examples to distinguish this letter from the common, generic recommendation. This part of your application should provide enthusiastic anecdotes to help further your candidacy.
The writing itself should be fluid, clear, and completely free of grammatical mistakes. A well-written recommendation is easier to read and will make a better overall impression for your application.
Dear Sir or Madame,
I am very honored to make a recommendation for [name redacted] for your MBA program. He has the perseverance, intelligence, teamwork ability, leadership, awareness, and skill to succeed in your program. He has been a great worker at our company for four years. He began work as a summer intern before his last year of college. He made a good impression soon on me when introducing himself at our departments weekly all hands meeting. I was surprised because interns rarely introduce themselves to department heads, but happy at his boldness. I was even more impressed with the questions he asked me. His question just showed how quickly he had an idea of the difficulties faced in our company and the details of our work.
His great work made us offer him a job after college. Now I have watched him rise quickly as a link between our engineers in Seoul and London since he has good English skills and technical ability. I am proud he now manages a team of over 20 engineers when he started as a low-level engineer. He has this ability because of his technical and leadership skills combined. I have mentored him over this time, and I think he can do even more in our business if he earns an MBA degree.
[Name] showed his leadership on a consumer-electronics project in the last fiscal year. He had to coordinate engineers teams in Seoul and London. Without him the project would not have been completed with his great work. He managed the Korean team and the whole project. I was worried because he is the youngest engineer I have given this much responsibility. But he did such a good job and brought the project in on time and under budget.
His leadership was strong on this project. He led every person on the team well with many different aspects to consider. He made sure the London engineers handled the software and firmware, and oversaw the Seoul engineers doing the hardware engineering. His broad knowledge was the only way he could manage the resources for both teams. More impressive, his English skills are much stronger than his peers so he could break the language barrier to help both sides stay on track. He translated difficult concepts between the languages when needed. Just this skill makes name valuable to many companies and I am sure he will complete his MBA program in English successfully.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have had the pleasure of working with [name redacted] for the last four years. I first met [name] when he joined our company as a summer intern, during the summer before his last year of college. I can vividly remember our first conversation; [name] approached me to introduce himself at our department's weekly all-hands meeting. I was immediately struck by his initiative, as it is rare in our organization for a summer intern to introduce himself to the head of his department, and I was quickly impressed by this young man. He asked me a few questions which showed that, within his first few weeks at the company, he had acquired a strong understanding of the technical details of our operation and that he had already realized the major strategic challenges we faced.
Needless to say, [name] proved himself a truly valuable asset to our organization that summer, and we immediately offered him a job pending his college graduation. Since he has strong English-language skills and a sharp technical understanding of our industry, he is quickly rising in our organization as a liaison between our engineers in Seoul and London. In the last two years, [name] has moved from being a low-level engineer to managing a team of over 20 engineers. He is a rare individual who combines a deep understanding of all of the technical aspects of our business with a natural leadership ability and business sense. As his primary mentor in our organization, I confident that pursuing an MBA will help him to continue to innovate in our field.
Last fiscal year, we embarked on an ambitious consumer electronics project, involving a partnership between two teams of engineers in Seoul and London. In short, we could not have completed this project without [name]. He served as the project head; not only managing his own team of Korean engineers, but also taking full responsibility for the project as a whole. [name] is the youngest engineer I have ever elected to serve in such a capacity, but the risk I took in appointing him to this position paid off handsomely. He executed the project brilliantly, bringing it in on time and under budget.
I was particularly impressed by his leadership of both teams. In order to successfully lead, he had to juggle numerous moving parts. First of all, the teams in London and Seoul were working on completely different aspects of the project: our London engineers handled the software and firmware side of our product, while the Seoul engineers were responsible for the hardware engineering. In order to allocate resources to both teams correctly, he had to have a complete understanding of both sides of the system. This alone would already have been a difficult task, but it was compounded by the fact that the project was operating remotely and in two different languages. [name]'s command of English is far stronger than most of his peers, and he has the ability to communicate translate complex technical concepts between Korean and English. This ability alone makes him a strong asset to any company and makes me sure that he will be able to complete an English-language MBA program with great aplomb.
Sincerely, [Name Redacted] Vice President of Operations, [Company Name Redacted]