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Harvard Business School MBA Recommendation Questions

The Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2026 application is now live, which means that the HBS MBA recommendation questions are available to recommenders. HBS requires two recommendations and suggests (but does not require) that one be from a direct supervisor. The other should be from someone who can speak about your professional performance, leadership skills, and potential.

2023-2024 Harvard Business School (HBS) Recommendation Questions:

Recommender Information

Are you a graduate of the Harvard Business School MBA program?

If yes, year of graduation:

Relationship Type (drop-down menu):

  • Current employer
  • Previous employer
  • University/Academic
  • Extracurricular/Community
  • Other

Relationship Context (drop-down menu):

  • Direct Supervisor
  • Other Supervisor
  • Advisor
  • Colleague/Peer
  • Direct Report
  • Indirect Report
  • Other

Number of applicants you are recommending to the HBS MBA Program this year:

Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, their role in your organization (300 characters):

hbs mba recommendation questions

Candidate Evaluation

HBS asks recommenders to rate the applicant’s leadership attributes using the following scale: No Basis for Judgment, Potential Area of Concern, Developing, Strong, and Distinctive.

Leadership Attributes:

  • Adaptability and resilience
  • Awareness of and respect for others
  • Curiosity
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal skills with subordinates and colleagues
  • Interpersonal skills with superiors
  • Professional maturity
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-confidence
  • Teamwork: engagement and collaboration
  • Teamwork: leadership and development of others

Please comment on the ratings you have assigned, elaborating on relative strengths and opportunities for further development. (Required, 500 character limit).

The MBA Admissions Board is also interested in your evaluation of the candidate’s skills based on the interactions you have had with the candidate. Options are: No Basis for Judgement, Potential Area of Concern, Developing, Meets Expectations, and Exceeds Expectations.

  • Analytical thinking
  • Creative problem solving
  • Listening skills
  • Quantitative skills
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication

Please use this space to comment on the skills ratings you have assigned, elaborating on relative strengths and opportunities for further development. (Required, 500 character limit).

HBS MBA Recommendation Upload

Finally, HBS poses two open-response questions to be answered in a single document and uploaded to the online recommendation. Of note, these questions align with the GMAC Common Letter of Recommendations. Check out our GMAC Common LoR analysis for advice.

Please respond to the questions below in a single document.

  1. How do the applicant’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (Recommended: 300 words)
  2. Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Recommended: 250 words)
  3. (Optional) Is there anything else we should know? Please be concise.