We require two recommendations as part of our application process. Who makes a good recommender? It depends, but we typically suggest someone who knows you well and has supervised you in a professional setting. Identify people who will be strong advocates for you in the process and will help us learn more about your accomplishments and leadership potential. Of course, this is general advice, and we defer to you when it comes to actual recommender choice.
When choosing your recommenders (and setting your recommenders’ expectations), be sure to keep in mind what they will be asked to do. Our recommendation process is completely electronic, and your recommenders will fill out two pieces of information — a ratings grid in which they will evaluate you across a set of competencies and a series of short answer questions. The short answer questions are:
- Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization.
- How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?
- Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.
Recommendations are typically the slowest part of the application process, so identify your recommenders well in advance of your target deadline. Make sure they understand why you’re pursuing an MBA and why you’re interested in Darden. We also suggest sharing a copy of your resume with them so they have some perspective on the full arc of your career. And last but not least: Stay in touch. We find that most recommenders are deadline-oriented, so make sure they know your application timing.