Web Analytics

Book 25 Successful MBA & EMBA Reco- mmendation Letters

$20.00

25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters will help you identify and manage your recommenders and give you a simple method for structuring and generating content for your recommendation. It also contains over 25 professional MBA & EMBA recommendation letters from successful applicants to elite business schools.

Clear

“You write it, and I’ll look it over.”

Written by an MIT Sloan MBA, this book contains 25 real recommendation examples you can draw on and guidance on the entire recommendation creation process. It was written for the many MBA and EMBA applicants (and more generally graduate school applicants, scholarship or fellowship applicants, young and mid-career professionals, etc.) whose recommenders ask them to either write their own recommendation or create a recommendation outline (a.k.a. talking points).

25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters will help you identify and manage your recommenders and give you a simple method for structuring and generating content for your recommendation. It also contains over 25 professional recommendations from successful applicants to elite MBA and EMBA programs and examples of recommendation outlines (a.k.a. talking points).

ISBN 978-2958387945

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leah Derus is an MIT Sloan MBA, a storyteller, a writer, the creator of the story-based resume, and an MBA & EMBA admissions consultant at mbaSTORY.builders She has worked with countless professionals over the years, helping them gain acceptance to top business schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton and transition to top-tier firms.

How? By crafting MBA/EMBA application material (story-based resumes, essays, recommendations and interview material) that conveyed a coherent, desirable, and unique story to the admissions committee. As a story-based resume writer and career coach at resumeSTORY.builders, she leverages the same toolkit and exacting standards to help clients write their own tickets in the job market.

Table of Contents for the Book, 25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters

 

ABOUT

GETTING PROFESSIONAL HELP

CHAPTER ONE  |  RECOMMENDERS

1.1   The Recommender You Want

1.2   The Recommender You’ve Got

1.3   Formula for a Good Recommendation Letter

CHAPTER TWO  |  RECOMMENDATION OUTLINE

2.1   Step 1: Structuring Your Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points)

2.2   Steps 2 & 3: Brainstorming Grid

2.3   Step 4: Strategizing Recommendation Letter Content

2.4   Steps 5 & 6: Writing

2.5   Case Study: SARAH – Brainstorming Grid to Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points)

2.6   Case Study: SARAH – Recommender Letter Email Template

2.7   Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Senior Reliability Manager at Wesfarmers

2.8   Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Operations Associate at HelloFresh

2.9   Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Rotational Program at Bechtel Construction

2.10  Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Engineer at Glencore Mining

CHAPTER THREE  |  STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

3.1   Identify Strengths

3.2   Identify Weaknesses

CHAPTER FOUR  |  RECOMMENDATION LETTER EXAMPLES

4.1   LIAM – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Associate at Strategy& – STRENGTHS: exceeds expectations, acts on conviction; WEAKNESS: failed to delegate

4.2   ZAZIE – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Senior Operations Specialist at BarkBox – STRENGTHS: generates buy-in, persuasive, diplomatic; WEAKNESS: assumed own learning style was shared by others

4.3   MEI – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Business Intelligence Analyst at Royal Bank of Canada – STRENGTHS: translates data into insights, builds community; WEAKNESS: didn’t solicit constructive feedback

4.4   ANDERS – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Geologist at Pandion Energy – STRENGTHS: overcomes technical challenges, poised; WEAKNESS: exacting standards didn’t fit the company culture

4.5   JOANNA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Product Manager at Amazon – STRENGTHS: takes initiative, product strategist, self-confident; WEAKNESS: frustrates easily

4.6   OLIVIA – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Quality Manager Crane Aerospace & Electronics – STRENGTHS: innovative, insightful, good listener, inclusive leadership style; WEAKNESS: rigid definition of success

4.7   CLAIRE – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Co-founder at E-Health – STRENGTHS: well-rounded, diplomatic; WEAKNESS: underemphasized work-life balance

4.8   MARTIN – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Product Manager at Apple – STRENGTHS: cross-functional communicator, actively engages others, persuasive; WEAKNESS: didn’t weigh downstream consequences

4.9   ANNA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Corporate Finance at Marriott Hotels – STRENGTHS: quick learner, takes initiative, clear communicator; WEAKNESS: avoided less engaging work

4.10  KINGA – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Principal Consultant at Korn Ferry – STRENGTHS: principled, emotional intelligence; WEAKNESS: Needs to clarify before concluding

4.11  PAULO – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Internal Strategy Consultant at Israelita Hospital – STRENGTHS: goes above and beyond, values others’ success; WEAKNESS: struggled to go beyond traditional strategy frameworks

4.12  ROB – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Engineer at Morgan Advanced Materials – STRENGTHS: principled leadership, persuasive; WEAKNESS: failed to juggle competing priorities

4.13  DARYA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Investment Analyst at Serent Capital PE – STRENGTHS: performs well under pressure, strategic mindset; WEAKNESS: avoided healthy risk-taking

4.14  DINA – Young EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Equity Research Associate at Evercore, STRENGTHS: chutzpah, aware of own limitations, builds trust; WEAKNESS: confidence waned in front of senior leadership

4.15  KATE – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Business Analyst at Burberry – STRENGTHS: team building, lateral thinker, creative problem solver; WEAKNESS: based decision uniquely on budget

4.16  MALIA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Financial Analyst at Nestle – STRENGTHS: competent, builds bridges where others cannot, technical mastery; WEAKNESS: didn’t listen to interlocutor

4.17  CHYOU – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Rotational Program at GE – STRENGTHS: produces quality work, self-assured, a natural communicator; WEAKNESS: was quick to judge

4.18  IZZAK – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Executive Director at NGO – STRENGTHS: drives to results, clear-eyed, builds organizational culture, builds consensus; WEAKNESS: overestimates resources, fails to delegate

4.19  BOLIN – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Rotational Program at Honeywell – STRENGTHS: can-do attitude, persuasive; WEAKNESS: in rush to advance professionally, work suffered

4.20  HIROTO – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Business Intelligence Analyst at Mayo Clinic –  STRENGTHS: reshaped mission, data storyteller; WEAKNESS: failed to advocate for himself

4.21  KARA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Analyst at McKinsey – STRENGTHS: skilled relationship builder, subject matter expert; WEAKNESS: failed to plan for future

4.22  MELISSA – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Senior Engineer at Johnson & Johnson – STRENGTHS: builds relationships to facilitate change, challenges the status quo; WEAKNESS: tunnel vision

4.23  AVA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Engineer at Cisco – STRENGTHS: extroverted, embraces stretch assignments, identifies overlooked opportunities;  WEAKNESS: lacks self-awareness

4.24  ZARA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Associate at J.P. Morgan – STRENGTHS: analytical ability, impact, executive presence; WEAKNESS: perfectionist

4.25  EMMA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Digital Marketing at Canadian Solar – STRENGTHS: strong communicator, sees opportunity, analytical; WEAKNESS: failed to hold others accountable

Add a review

Book 25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters

$20.00

25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters will help you identify and manage your recommenders and give you a simple method for structuring and generating content for your recommendation. It also contains over 25 professional MBA & EMBA recommendation letters from successful applicants to elite business schools.

Clear

“You write it, and I’ll look it over.”

Written by an MIT Sloan MBA, this book contains 25 real recommendation examples you can draw on and guidance on the entire recommendation creation process. It was written for the many MBA and EMBA applicants (and more generally graduate school applicants, scholarship or fellowship applicants, young and mid-career professionals, etc.) whose recommenders ask them to either write their own recommendation or create a recommendation outline (a.k.a. talking points).

25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters will help you identify and manage your recommenders and give you a simple method for structuring and generating content for your recommendation. It also contains over 25 professional recommendations from successful applicants to elite MBA and EMBA programs and examples of recommendation outlines (a.k.a. talking points).

ISBN 978-2958387945

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leah Derus is an MIT Sloan MBA, a storyteller, a writer, the creator of the story-based resume, and an MBA & EMBA admissions consultant at mbaSTORY.builders She has worked with countless professionals over the years, helping them gain acceptance to top business schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton and transition to top-tier firms.

How? By crafting MBA/EMBA application material (story-based resumes, essays, recommendations and interview material) that conveyed a coherent, desirable, and unique story to the admissions committee. As a story-based resume writer and career coach at resumeSTORY.builders, she leverages the same toolkit and exacting standards to help clients write their own tickets in the job market.

Table of Contents for the Book, 25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters

 

ABOUT

GETTING PROFESSIONAL HELP

CHAPTER ONE  |  RECOMMENDERS

1.1   The Recommender You Want

1.2   The Recommender You’ve Got

1.3   Formula for a Good Recommendation Letter

CHAPTER TWO  |  RECOMMENDATION OUTLINE

2.1   Step 1: Structuring Your Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points)

2.2   Steps 2 & 3: Brainstorming Grid

2.3   Step 4: Strategizing Recommendation Letter Content

2.4   Steps 5 & 6: Writing

2.5   Case Study: SARAH – Brainstorming Grid to Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points)

2.6   Case Study: SARAH – Recommender Letter Email Template

2.7   Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Senior Reliability Manager at Wesfarmers

2.8   Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Operations Associate at HelloFresh

2.9   Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Rotational Program at Bechtel Construction

2.10  Recommendation Letter Outline (a.k.a. Talking Points) – Engineer at Glencore Mining

CHAPTER THREE  |  STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

3.1   Identify Strengths

3.2   Identify Weaknesses

CHAPTER FOUR  |  RECOMMENDATION LETTER EXAMPLES

4.1   LIAM – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Associate at Strategy& – STRENGTHS: exceeds expectations, acts on conviction; WEAKNESS: failed to delegate

4.2   ZAZIE – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Senior Operations Specialist at BarkBox – STRENGTHS: generates buy-in, persuasive, diplomatic; WEAKNESS: assumed own learning style was shared by others

4.3   MEI – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Business Intelligence Analyst at Royal Bank of Canada – STRENGTHS: translates data into insights, builds community; WEAKNESS: didn’t solicit constructive feedback

4.4   ANDERS – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Geologist at Pandion Energy – STRENGTHS: overcomes technical challenges, poised; WEAKNESS: exacting standards didn’t fit the company culture

4.5   JOANNA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Product Manager at Amazon – STRENGTHS: takes initiative, product strategist, self-confident; WEAKNESS: frustrates easily

4.6   OLIVIA – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Quality Manager Crane Aerospace & Electronics – STRENGTHS: innovative, insightful, good listener, inclusive leadership style; WEAKNESS: rigid definition of success

4.7   CLAIRE – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Co-founder at E-Health – STRENGTHS: well-rounded, diplomatic; WEAKNESS: underemphasized work-life balance

4.8   MARTIN – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Product Manager at Apple – STRENGTHS: cross-functional communicator, actively engages others, persuasive; WEAKNESS: didn’t weigh downstream consequences

4.9   ANNA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Corporate Finance at Marriott Hotels – STRENGTHS: quick learner, takes initiative, clear communicator; WEAKNESS: avoided less engaging work

4.10  KINGA – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Principal Consultant at Korn Ferry – STRENGTHS: principled, emotional intelligence; WEAKNESS: Needs to clarify before concluding

4.11  PAULO – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Internal Strategy Consultant at Israelita Hospital – STRENGTHS: goes above and beyond, values others’ success; WEAKNESS: struggled to go beyond traditional strategy frameworks

4.12  ROB – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Engineer at Morgan Advanced Materials – STRENGTHS: principled leadership, persuasive; WEAKNESS: failed to juggle competing priorities

4.13  DARYA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Investment Analyst at Serent Capital PE – STRENGTHS: performs well under pressure, strategic mindset; WEAKNESS: avoided healthy risk-taking

4.14  DINA – Young EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Equity Research Associate at Evercore, STRENGTHS: chutzpah, aware of own limitations, builds trust; WEAKNESS: confidence waned in front of senior leadership

4.15  KATE – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Business Analyst at Burberry – STRENGTHS: team building, lateral thinker, creative problem solver; WEAKNESS: based decision uniquely on budget

4.16  MALIA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Financial Analyst at Nestle – STRENGTHS: competent, builds bridges where others cannot, technical mastery; WEAKNESS: didn’t listen to interlocutor

4.17  CHYOU – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Rotational Program at GE – STRENGTHS: produces quality work, self-assured, a natural communicator; WEAKNESS: was quick to judge

4.18  IZZAK – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Executive Director at NGO – STRENGTHS: drives to results, clear-eyed, builds organizational culture, builds consensus; WEAKNESS: overestimates resources, fails to delegate

4.19  BOLIN – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Rotational Program at Honeywell – STRENGTHS: can-do attitude, persuasive; WEAKNESS: in rush to advance professionally, work suffered

4.20  HIROTO – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Business Intelligence Analyst at Mayo Clinic –  STRENGTHS: reshaped mission, data storyteller; WEAKNESS: failed to advocate for himself

4.21  KARA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Analyst at McKinsey – STRENGTHS: skilled relationship builder, subject matter expert; WEAKNESS: failed to plan for future

4.22  MELISSA – EMBA Recommendation Letter Example, Senior Engineer at Johnson & Johnson – STRENGTHS: builds relationships to facilitate change, challenges the status quo; WEAKNESS: tunnel vision

4.23  AVA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Engineer at Cisco – STRENGTHS: extroverted, embraces stretch assignments, identifies overlooked opportunities;  WEAKNESS: lacks self-awareness

4.24  ZARA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Associate at J.P. Morgan – STRENGTHS: analytical ability, impact, executive presence; WEAKNESS: perfectionist

4.25  EMMA – MBA Recommendation Letter Example, Digital Marketing at Canadian Solar – STRENGTHS: strong communicator, sees opportunity, analytical; WEAKNESS: failed to hold others accountable

Add a review

I Business Intelligence Analyst at Mayo Clinic, MBA Recommendation Letter Example

This recommendation is an excerpt from the book, 25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters.

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.

My name is Thomas Barton, and I have over twenty years of experience in healthcare, working at the intersection of business and big data. I’m the Head of Patient Harm Prevention at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The Patient Harm Prevention Program provides clinical staff data-driven strategies to predict and reduce patient harm. In a clinical environment, patient harm could be anything from a mild post-op infection to accidentally amputating the wrong limb.

Hiroto Tanaka is a Business Intelligence Analyst who has worked on the Patient Harm Prevention Program since YEAR. Since YEAR, I’ve collaborated on Hiroto’s annual review alongside his direct manager, Mary Kate McFarland, Head of Business Intelligence.

LEADERSHIP

In YEAR, senior leadership pushed to rethink the Patient Harm Prevention Program. A generous budget increase allowed me to add Hiroto Tanaka and two clinicians to my team of ten and begin the process of redeveloping the program.

Whereas Hiroto’s peers (other analysts and junior data team members) tended to be silent partners who processed requests well but were uncomfortable being out in front from a leadership perspective, Hiroto was very outgoing and interested in igniting conversations with hospital administrators and senior clinicians. That allowed him to bring his unique ideas and, at times, unique point of view to the table. Early in the Patient Harm Prevention Program’s redevelopment, Hiroto took on informal leadership responsibilities, and within months, he was given a group of four Junior Data Analysts to manage. This is an out-of-the-ordinary assignment for an Analyst and is a testament to Hiroto’s maturity and leadership potential.

RESHAPED MISSION

Hiroto was instrumental in helping to reshape the program’s mission and workflow. Previously, clinicians requested data, and junior data team members fulfilled those requests. Hiroto spearheaded workshops with his colleagues, brainstorming an alternative workflow. Two initiatives, which I fully backed, emerged from those conversations: 1) the team would transition from reactive (fulfilling requests) to proactive (driving operational improvement initiatives using the data it had access to), and 2) the team would develop a centralized data platform that supported a user-friendly dashboard for clinical staff (previously, data had been fragmented and delivered to clinicians in Excel).

Hiroto and his junior data team members developed that dashboard into the most widely used dashboard by clinicians and administrators at Mayo. It offers a standardized and interactive data visualization tool for harm prevention that creates heightened situational awareness, and drives change in the quality of care delivered to our most vulnerable patients. As a result, our high-risk units (>10,500 patient days) have seen more than a 50% reduction in preventable harm.

DATA STORYTELLER

Hiroto is a natural storyteller with a gift for translating large data sets into operational insights, which he communicates in a way clinicians understand.

That’s important because one of the challenges we face at the Mayo Clinic is working with clinicians who sometimes see us (non-clinical staff) as an outgroup. Hiroto has made inroads with clinical staff. He’s done a great job representing the Patient Harm Reduction Program in hospital-wide meetings and when leading workshops. That is because he puts people at ease, often coaching clinicians terrified of new technologies.

During our town hall meeting in February, I listened attentively (along with 200 of our clinical and operational partners) as Hiroto presented the new dashboard and its practical implications. Colleagues were impressed with how the Patient Harm Prevention Program had evolved in such a short time. Hiroto communicated our work with passion and humor. Hiroto is not only an engaging speaker but also an engaged listener. During the discussion that followed, he listened to concerns from clinicians and senior administrators on the challenge of translating data into action. For example, physicians felt we needed better monitoring of outbreaks and pandemics.

Hiroto took their feedback to heart and spearheaded the development of a new standard for flagging outbreaks. His team’s approach was novel: it wasn’t based on meeting a clinical definition of a disease but simply on statistics (frequency of individual symptoms in a patient population). This has allowed staff to identify early-stage outbreaks of pathogens such as COVID.

It has been wonderful to watch Hiroto grow during his time with my team. We are truly fortunate to have him at the Mayo Clinic, and I am sure he will be an equally valuable member of your MBA program.

Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

Some advice I’ve given Hiroto is that he should work on asserting himself in certain situations. Hiroto’s direct supervisor, Mary Kate McFarland, left the department without an immediate replacement in October of this year. Hiroto was interested in taking over her role on an interim basis to build up his managerial skill set. Despite his interest, he told me it would be ‘impolite’ to bring up the idea with the department head.

Hiroto is very outgoing, so I was surprised by his point of view. When questioned, he said that in Japan, people wait to be recognized under the assumption that a job or promotion will come to them when the time is right. I shared my North American perspective that asking for more responsibility is seen positively and indicates the person’s enthusiasm for the new challenge or responsibility. Therefore, if he didn’t enquire about the interim role, the department head probably wouldn’t consider him for it. I suggested that Hiroto put together a proposal and plan of action for how he would approach the department head.

Hiroto had assumed that after eight years in the U.S., he had fully acclimatized to North American culture. Hiroto approached the department head and expressed his interest in the interim role. Despite not being assigned the role, Hiroto thanked me for encouraging him.

II Quality Manager Crane Aerospace & Electronics, EMBA Recommendation Letter Example

This recommendation is an excerpt from the book, 25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters.

Please describe your relationship to the applicant.

My name is Steven Muller, and I’m currently a Senior IT Manager at Crane Aerospace & Electronics. I’ve been with the company for 14 years and oversee software development for two core product lines: the Anti-skid Runway System and the Bird Strike Collision Detection System. I hired Olivia Ayers in June 20XX as a Project Manager. She has since been promoted to Quality Manager. Olivia has been my direct report since YEAR.

How has the applicant’s career progressed during the time you have known or worked with him/her? Please be as specific as possible.

In 20XX, Olivia joined Crane Aerospace & Electronics in a newly created Project Manager role focused exclusively on day-to-day project management for our Anti-skid Runway System. Olivia’s role quickly expanded beyond its initial scope. Today, she is a Quality Manager who a) manages all software development for two core products, b) oversees all third-party suppliers of programming services on a company-wide basis (budget of $25M, managing negotiations and contract execution, and liaising with legal on enforcement), and c) is the point person within the Aviation Electronics Division responsible for initiating and maintaining compliance with ISSEO. ISSEO is a standard way of operating in the aviation industry with defined ways to improve a company’s software development processes and for it to assess its suppliers.

Olivia has become an indispensable member of my team and the broader Crane family. Within our division, she’s also an unofficial process expert whose advice is regularly sought out by engineers several years her senior. She’s received offers from Crane’s Finance Division to take over cost-tracking across the company and from Crane’s Radar Division to manage its project managers. Fortunately, Olivia has enough irons in the fire in the Aviation Electronics Division that she has opted to remain with us.

Please assess the applicant’s intellectual strength, judgment, and creativity.

Olivia has brought fresh eyes to business as usual in the Aviation Electronics Division and spearheaded a series of innovative suggestions and initiatives. Thanks to her ambition to do things well (rather than well enough), all of these initiatives have been successful.

INNOVATIVE

Olivia used her technical and project management skills to create an innovative dashboard that allows us to track and analyze software development projects. We’d previously tracked project progress using a big-picture approach focused on one final deliverable at the project conclusion. Olivia’s dashboard uses an internal logic that breaks a project into modules and creates multiple deliverables. This has been a game-changer, allowing us to attribute issues to specific points in the development process, improve overall code quality, and negotiate better terms with clients like Boeing and Airbus. The dashboard has saved an estimated $650k in 20XX alone.

Please assess the applicant’s ability to work effectively in groups.

Olivia has brought many great ideas and energy to Crane Aerospace & Electronics and the Aviation Electronics Division. During the dashboard rollout (described above), the Systems Team was not eager to change their workflow, as Olivia requested. On the surface, both Olivia and I assumed it was a case of team members rejecting change out of hand. Rather than trying to make her point by re-highlighting the virtues of the new workflow, Olivia asked probing questions: What are your top two concerns about the new workflow? Which aspect of the workflow might negatively impact your deliverables? etc. Budget issues soon emerged as the real issue. Olivia worked out a compromise with the group. They plan to implement the new workflow in our next generation of products.

Please assess the applicant’s potential for assuming major management responsibilities.

INSIGHTFUL

Good managers and leaders distinguish themselves by ‘seeing’ a future state of affairs and acting on that vision. These qualities are key to improving the status quo and perfectly describe Olivia’s management style.

Shortly after joining my team, Olivia approached me with concerns about the product line’s growing costs and quality and delivery issues. To my surprise, she raised the need to elevate our internal standards to industry standards (such as ISSEO). I was thrilled to have someone on board, eager to create improvements and change. Due to our new ISSEO certification, quality is at an all-time high, and costs are down by 12%.

GOOD LISTENER

Good managers listen to what team members say and hear what they’re not saying. Olivia is a careful listener who seems to connect with various personality types, from the introverted to the outspoken. She’s worked with employees and our internal training team to address questions they were previously afraid to ask, like What should be the criteria for accepting or rejecting code delivered by third-party suppliers? Out of habit, employees used to approve and release payment for 99% of all third-party deliverables despite some of this code being unusable. Olivia worked to implement standards and benchmarks that employees now use to guide their decision-making. This seemingly small change has translated into a higher-quality product. For example, improved algorithms have allowed us to reduce in-air bird strikes by 19%.

Please discuss the applicant’s weaknesses and the efforts, if any, the applicant has made to improve in these areas.

Olivia is very action-oriented, and the upside is obvious: she gets things done. The downside is that she can be overly focused on achieving an outcome she defined as ‘success’ at the project’s outset. In doing so, she fails to see that value can also be found in other ‘less optimal’ outcomes.

An example: Olivia took over third-party supplier management for all Crane Aerospace & Electronics in 20XX. Previously we’d approved and released payment for 99% of the deliverables from these suppliers. Olivia instituted higher standards for evaluating code. She began flagging issues and asking suppliers to remedy them before payment was released.

On several occasions, Olivia and I discussed her frustration with suppliers not meeting the clear standards she’d set for them. She considered terminating suppliers who had worked with LRX for years with new ones. It was true that suppliers sometimes missed their mark. Still, as I pointed out, there is a strategic value in using the same suppliers year after year because, in a crisis, they will be familiar enough with your product to help you. Olivia began to reevaluate her position when she realized that even when a supplier failed on the surface to deliver near-perfect code, they had succeeded in advancing other priorities (serving as a future resource).

Olivia is working on moving beyond a black-and-white assessment of outcomes and is redefining success in broader terms to find a silver lining in any situation.

Please discuss your observations concerning the applicant’s leadership skills. Please cite specific situations that demonstrate the applicant’s leadership abilities.

INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP STYLE

Olivia constantly looks to make work easier and more harmonious for others. Her initiative to create special bi-weekly project meetings is an example of that. Clients like Boeing regularly request product updates and modifications. Previously our approach to managing all these requests varied from one team to the next. Some groups would correspond by email or shared dashboards, while others used Slack or regular phone calls. Often key people were inadvertently left out of the loop, creating miscommunication and confusion.

Olivia convinced all the major product contributors (across three teams and 50+ team members) to add another meeting to their already busy schedules. She pitched these meetings as a new forum for the prioritization of changes, the monitoring of progress, and the airing of any concerns. I’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from team leads who say these meetings have helped identify gaps they weren’t even aware of. We now have a single approach to client product updates, and according to our latest survey, a 42% increase in client satisfaction.

How does the applicant defend his or her ideas; can you provide an example?

Olivia is a skilled communicator who seeks, first and foremost, to understand the point of view of her interlocutor. Rather than ‘defending’ her idea in the traditional sense of the term (i.e., one-upping her opponent with a better argument), Olivia focuses on asking questions to understand why and how a person has developed a position or perspective.

An example: Olivia, I, and several others were in a control board meeting when one of the team leads complained that the protocol for managing the shared database seemed to change week to week and that she was frustrated by never knowing exactly how data should be input.

Olivia’s response was to point to three pieces of documentation with instructions on data input procedures. Olivia could have ended the discussion there (Olivia was in the right, there was not a lack of documentation), but she kept questioning the team lead. She discovered that the team lead’s gripe wasn’t about data input procedures but the database’s lackluster user interface. Olivia is now in the process of revamping the user interface.

III Product Manager at Amazon, MBA Recommendation Letter Example

This recommendation is an excerpt from the book, 25 Successful MBA & EMBA Recommendation Letters.

Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, their role in your organization

Since September YEAR, I’ve been the Senior Vice President of Product for Amazon’s Education Division. Joanna Melo Almeida is one of three product managers on my team. I’ve worked closely with her on our hardware product line, the division’s product development strategy, and the business side of the education data center (a product she is spearheading).

How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (E.g., what are the applicant’s principal strengths?)

As an organization that produces a preponderance of virtual products (i.e., web- and cloud-based services), Joanna’s role as a product manager is central. Product manager roles are very competitive at Amazon, with numerous internal and external candidates often vying for the same position. Only the best of the best become product managers; within that cohort, I rank Joanna in the top 10%.

Joanna manages products in the integrated solutions category. These are generally integrations between outside hardware companies and Amazon’s Education Division. Products include school building doors with facial recognition and a tablet message board that dynamically displays content outside classroom doors.

TAKES INITIATIVE

Joanna often takes initiative in the workplace without prompting from other managers or me. For instance, she is currently spearheading a new product: the Education Data Center. Initially, an education data center product wasn’t on our radar, but Joanna’s extensive user outreach and feedback gathering work identified a need. She then rallied stakeholders around her idea and has brought it to market. Young product managers typically oversee existing products, leaving new product rollout to more senior colleagues. Joanna’s achievement is notable because of her relative inexperience and the fact that she pinpointed a greenfield opportunity at a company like Amazon, where the product offering is already robust. Next year the Education Data Center will create an estimated 2% or $4.7M increase in our division’s gross revenue.

PRODUCT STRATEGIST

On multiple occasions, I have seen Joanna step outside her product management role and successfully work on a range of issues including product development strategy. Last year Joanna collaborated with me on the strategic direction of future product development. As part of that process, Joanna created a unique matrix to categorize hypothetical future product mixes. Some of the factors she integrated into her model included revenue estimations, the level of complexity in producing a given product, and the availability of outside service providers. Her final analysis identified two products as likely to succeed: Smart School Surveillance and Smart Classroom Tablet. In fact, both products have since launched are exceeding early sales estimates.

Joanna’s work was on par with that of a post-MBA associate with prior experience in business development or strategy. Her contributions are especially impressive considering that her background is in computer science (not product management or business).

SELF-CONFIDENT

Persuading colleagues and stakeholders to voluntarily collaborate is at the heart of good product management.  That can’t be achieved by a product manager intimidated by others or who backs down at the slightest challenge. The reality is that many early-career professionals lack the self-confidence and assertiveness to be competent product managers (which is why it is typically a role held by post-MBA associates at Amazon). I mention this to highlight the significance of Joanna being promoted to product manager immediately after completing the OFRP rotational program. Joanna’s self-confidence comes through in her day-to-day work and public speaking.

I accompanied Joanna as she pitched the Education Data Center to some of the largest school districts in the U.S. I had assumed that Joanna would discuss the technical aspects of the Education Data Center and leave the business presentation to me. I was wrong. Joanna surprised me during our first pitch to the New York City Department of Education. She expertly covered both technical and business topics during the presentation and afterward during in-depth Q&A sessions, successfully persuading two of the country’s largest school districts – Fulton County School System in Atlanta and Los Angeles Unified School District – to become first mover clients.

Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

Last April, we needed to develop a proposal for revenue and cost-sharing between the Education Division and our partner hardware companies. Joanna is someone who holds herself to a very high standard. She spent time drafting a pricing strategy, carefully considering what would appeal to our customers and partners while maximizing the Education Division’s profit margins. Her solution was a percentage-based split between the two parties.

Because some of the products, such as the school door, would likely be bundled with products from outside the Education Division, I suggested that the percentage-based split model might prove problematic. Joanna agreed to work with me to create a pricing solution. We settled on one with a flat-rate profit share for third-party companies.

Joanna agreed to the new model but still preferred her original proposal. She felt she had invested a lot of time trying to get it right. I agreed with this but reminded her that nobody gets everything right on the first go-around, and that experience is a great teacher.

My feedback to Joanna was that sometimes it seemed like she got frustrated more easily than other colleagues might under similar circumstances. I suggested that if she applied the same iterative approach she used in her team-based product management work to individual analytical work (such as creating a pricing model), she might be less anxiety when things didn’t go quite to plan. Joanna thanked me for the analogy, which she said resonated with her. Since then, Joanna has been more relaxed and actively seeks constructive feedback on her work in an effort to iterate before finalizing.

Privacy Preference Center