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Harvard Business School MBA Recommendation Questions

The Harvard Business School 2020-2021 application is now live, which means that the HBS MBA recommendation questions are available to recommenders. Below you will find more details on elements of the application that are typically only available to recommenders after you’ve submitted their name and contact information.

2020-2021 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:

hbs mba recommendation questions

HBS MBA Recommendation

HBS asks recommenders to rate the applicant’s traits and skills using the following scale: No Basis for Judgment, Area of Concern, Opportunity for Development, Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations.

Traits and Skills:

  • Awareness of and respect for others
  • Humility
  • Adaptability and resilience
  • Imagination, creativity, and curiosity
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal skills with subordinates and colleagues
  • Interpersonal skills with superiors
  • Professional maturity
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-confidence
  • Teamwork: leadership and development of others
  • Skills: analytical thinking
  • Skills: listening
  • Skills: Quantitative Aptitude
  • Skills: verbal communication
  • Skills: written communication

Based on your professional experience, how do you rate this candidate compared to others in their peer group?

  • Below Average
  • Average
  • Very Good (well above average)
  • Excellent (top 10%)
  • Outstanding (top 5%)
  • The best encountered in my career

Please feel free to comment on the ratings you have assigned (optional):

HBS MBA Recommendation Upload

Finally, HBS poses two questions to be answered in a separate 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.

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