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Harvard Business School MBA Recommendation Questions

The Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2027 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.

2024-2025 Harvard Business School (HBS) Recommendation Questions:

Recommender Information

Do you know this applicant from a previous employer?

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

If yes, year of graduation:

Relationship Context

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 attributes using the following scale: No Basis for Judgment, Potential Area of Concern, Developing, Strong, and Distinctive. To assess the candidate’s strengths and areas of development, HBS divides attributes across several categories:


  • Analytical thinking
  • Professional maturity
  • Quantitative skills
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication


  • Awareness of and respect for others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal skills with colleagues and subordinates
  • Interpersonal skills with superiors
  • Listening skills
  • Teamwork: engagement and collaboration
  • Teamwork: leadership and development of others


  • Creative problem solving
  • Curiosity
  • Initiative
  • Openness to others’ perspectives
  • Receptiveness to feedback and willingness to change
  • Self-awareness

Please comment on the ratings you have assigned, elaborating on relative strengths and opportunities for further development. (Required, 150 words).

Open Response Questions

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.