Last month MIT Sloan posted two essays questions for its MBA program beginning in 2015, with the second question asking candidates to write themselves a recommendation from the point of view of their last employer. A Businessweek article attempts to decipher what stands behind the surprising requirement.
MIT asks candidates to put themselves in the shoes of their employers and to write a recommendation letter with a 750-word limit, with creativity welcome:
Write a professional letter of recommendation on behalf of yourself. Answer the following questions as if you were your most recent supervisor recommending yourself for admission to the MIT Sloan MBA Program: (750 words or fewer)
• How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
• How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
• Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.
• Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
• Which of the applicant’s personal or professional characteristics would you change?
• Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.
In addition to this essay each candidate is asked to provide two authentic recommendations. It is important to note that the questions for the essay are identical to those for the recommenders. According to an interview with the school’s admissions committee, the idea was inspired by a process businesses use in which they ask employees to rank themselves and their co-workers. Perhaps it is also connected to the fact that in any case some MBA candidates write their recommendations themselves. An AIGAC survey published recently reported that about 36% of candidates were asked by their employers to write the recommendation themselves…