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MBA Admissions Myth: “I Have No Weaknesses!”

May 19, 2014 by

Most business schools will ask an applicant’s recommenders to describe a weakness of yours, or a time when they offered you constructive feedback. You may face great temptation to ask your recommenders to avoid writing anything critical or to present a “disguised strength” as a weakness. Your recommender might write something like one of the following entirely disingenuous statements, believing that he/she is helping you, when in fact he/she is not:

  • “John needs to learn to balance his work and home life better—he is always at work, making sure that he stays on top of every detail.”
  • “Mary is a perfectionist and holds others, who just may not be capable, to the same high standard that she holds herself.”

Alternatively, a recommender who is afraid of hurting your candidacy may write about a “professional development” weakness, focusing on a business skill that you have not yet had the opportunity to … Read full post

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Can Write My Own Recommendation

December 13, 2012 by

Writing your own recommendation letters for your business school applications can seem like a blessing. Suddenly, you have the power to control an aspect of the application process that was previously beyond you. So, your downside risk in these letters is mitigated and your upside is infinite, right? Well, it does not quite work that way.

Admissions committees are not seeking blustery rave reviews, but are seeking recommendations that are detailed and personal, intimate and sincere. Can you really write about yourself with a dispassionate sincerity? And, even if you are a master of “dispassionate sincerity,” are you able to capture the subtleties that enable you to standout? For example, let’s say that among the many important things that you do, you also do something thoughtful, which you do not even perceive to be significant – you take new team members to lunch. While you regard “closing the big deal” … Read full post


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