Support e-mails are short letters sent by an MBA student, alumnus or professor of a certain school to the admission committee of that school.
Level of impact on admission chances: 1 out of 5
Here is the 2013 briefing on support e-mails, based on past meetings with admission committee representatives:
1. The support e-mail is written in an informal "internal memo style" to the admission committee or, preferably, to a specific admissions officer that is responsible for your region. It could also be addressed to the head of admissions.
2. The support e-mail is written, among other reasons, because the writer is concerned that the school will have the best student body possible.
3. The support e-mail honestly describes the length and nature of the relationship. The "superlatives" should be in accordance with the nature and length of the acquaintance. The support e-mail should be "gentle" in nature.
4. Support e-mails are usually sent in the few weeks following the application submission date.
5. We recommend up to two supporters per school.
6. Do not feel discouraged if you have no e-mail supporters. Most candidates do not have any. Effective support e-mails could give you a small advantage in the admission process.
7. Extraordinarily strong support e-mails may significantly enhance your candidacy.
Ineffective support e-mails may hinder your candidacy (for example, lukewarm content, e-mails that "smell" from nepotism, e-mails that seem to originate from the candidate rather than from the supporter).
8. Support e-mails must feel and be authentic. Therefore, they should be different for each "supporter" and each candidate.
9. Harvard Business School seems to be exceptional among the b-schools in its approach towards support e-mails this season. HBS will probably be less influenced by such e-mails, at least during this season.
Hope this helps. Much much luck with the process,
The Aringo Research Team