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Vanderbilt / Owen MBA Recommendation Questions

Vanderbilt / Owen mba

The Vanderbilt / Owen MBA application requires one professional recommendation, preferably from a current or former supervisor. The Vanderbilt recommendation questions follow the Common Letter of Recommendation from GMAC. There is an option for the recommender to forgo the CLoR and submit a letter instead.

2023-2024 Vanderbilt Owen MBA Recommendation Questions

Section 1: Recommender Information

Highest degree earned

Institution name:

Type of recommendation letter:

  • Academic
  • Professional
  • Personal
  • Research Advisor

Relationship to applicant:

  • Colleague
  • Professor
  • Research Advisor
  • Spiritual Leader
  • Mentor
  • Past Supervisor
  • Current Supervisor
  • Other

Other than the request for this recommendation, when was the last time you interacted with this applicant?

vanderbilt mba recommendation questions

Section 2: Leadership Assessment Grid

In this section, you will find 12 competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership. The competencies and character traits are grouped into five categories:

  • Achievement
  • Influence
  • People
  • Personal Qualities
  • Cognitive Abilities

For each competency, please select the one button that corresponds to the behavior that you have seen the applicant most consistently exhibit. We acknowledge that all applicants have both areas of strength and areas of development. Your candid and honest appraisal will assist in evaluation of the applicant.  Please assume that each level builds upon behaviors of the previous level.


1. Initiative: Acts ahead of need/anticipates problems

2. Results Orientation: Focuses on and drives toward delivering on goals, objectives, and performance improvement


3. Communication, Professional Impression & Poise: Delivers messages and ideas in a way that engages an audience and achieves buy-in; uses listening and other attending behaviors to reach shared understanding; remains calm and measured even in time of crisis or conflict

4. Influence and Collaboration: Engages and works with people over whom one has no direct control


5. Respect for Others: Acknowledges the value of others’ views and actions

6. Team Leadership: Manages and empowers a team of formal or informal direct reports, including virtual teams

7. Developing Others: Helps people develop their performance and ability over time

Personal Qualities
8. Trustworthiness/ Integrity: Acts consistently in line with or follows explicit values, beliefs, or intentions

9. Adaptability/ Resilience: Adapts to changing demands and circumstances without difficulty. Maintains calm optimism in the face of challenge, problems, or apparent failure

10. Self Awareness: Aware of and seeks out additional input on own strengths and weaknesses


11. Problem Solving: Frames problems, analyzes situations, identifies key issues, conducts analysis on the issues, and produces acceptable solution

12. Strategic Orientation: Thinks beyond one’s span of control and into the future to reshape the approach or scope of work

Is there anything about your ratings on which you would like to comment? (Optional)

Based on your professional experience, how do you rate this candidate compared to her/his peer group?

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

Overall, I…

  • Do not recommend this applicant
  • Recommend this applicant with reservations
  • Recommend this applicant
  • Enthusiastically recommend this applicant

Section 3: Recommendation Questions

Please answer the following questions and provide specific examples where possible.
  1. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Up to 50 words)
  2. How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (e.g., what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Up to 500 words)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Up to 500 words)
  4. Is there anything else we should know? (Optional)