An article on the site Poets & Quants reports that due to the suspicion that MBA candidates often write their own recommendations, a number of top U.S. business schools plan to use a joint recommendation system with the intention to decrease the burden on recommenders and enable them to write their own sincere recommendations about the applicants. The schools behind the movement are Columbia, Wharton, Yale, Darden, Chicago, and Kellogg.

Last year a survey was published that found that 38% of MBA candidates were asked by recommenders to write or formulate their own recommendations, and some say the numbers are even higher. Candidates who apply to many programs find it difficult to expect recommenders to write so many recommendations. These findings surprised business schools, that until then had believed they were receiving real and honest recommendations, and therefore they proposed the new system that will allow recommenders to invest more thought in recommendation writing and candidates to apply to more programs in less time.

Although Harvard and Stanford reported that they will not participate in this group process, they published two identical recommendation questions early this year, and it seems the other schools will adopt these same questions (Wharton already publicized that they will use these questions.):

How do the candidate’s performance, potential, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)

Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicants. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)

Put Me in Business (applying in less than a year)
Put Me in Business (applying in more than a year)