Common Mistakes to Avoid in MBA LOR

Common Mistakes to Avoid in MBA LOR

Common Mistakes to Avoid in MBA LOR
Mandira Pangeni

When applying for an MBA program, your Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is vital in showcasing your potential to the admissions committee. A well-written LOR can greatly enhance your chances of getting accepted. 

However, there are common things that applicants often need to correct when crafting their MBA LORs, which can negatively impact their application. In this article, we will explore these mistakes and provide valuable insights on how to avoid them.

Top Universities for MBA

Choosing the right university is crucial for a successful and rewarding educational experience when pursuing an MBA. The reputation and quality of the institution can greatly impact your career prospects and networking opportunities. This article will explore some top universities renowned for their MBA programs.

Harvard Business School (HBS)

Harvard Business School, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is widely regarded as one of the world's best business schools. HBS offers a rigorous and comprehensive MBA program focusing on case-based learning, leadership development, and global perspectives. The school's strong alumni network and prestigious reputation make it a top choice for aspiring business leaders.

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford Graduate School of Business, situated in California's Silicon Valley, is renowned for its innovative and entrepreneurial approach to business education. The MBA program emphasises experiential learning, collaboration, and social impact. Stanford GSB provides excellent opportunities to connect with industry leaders and venture capitalists in the heart of the technology and innovation hub.

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania is known for its rigorous academic curriculum and a strong focus on finance and management. Wharton's MBA program offers diverse concentrations and dual-degree options, allowing students to tailor their education to their career goals. The school's extensive alumni network and close ties to the business community provide valuable networking opportunities.


INSEAD is a globally renowned business school with campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), and the Middle East (Abu Dhabi). The school offers a diverse and multicultural environment, attracting students worldwide. INSEAD's MBA program emphasises international business perspectives and provides opportunities for students to study in multiple locations, fostering a global mindset and cross-cultural understanding.

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London Business School

Located in the heart of London, London Business School is consistently ranked among the top business schools globally. The MBA program focuses on experiential learning, collaboration, and a diverse student body. London Business School offers access to London's vibrant business and financial hub, providing excellent networking and career opportunities.

MIT Sloan School of Management

The MIT Sloan School of Management, situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is renowned for its focus on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. The school's MBA program combines rigorous academics with practical, hands-on experiences through its Action Learning Labs. MIT Sloan's strong ties to the technology and startup ecosystem make it an ideal choice for those interested in these fields.

Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School in New York City offers a rigorous and diverse MBA program on finance, consulting, and entrepreneurship. The school's proximity to Wall Street and the vibrant business community of New York City provide exceptional networking and internship opportunities. Columbia Business School also offers various electives to tailor the program to students' interests.

HEC Paris

HEC Paris is one of Europe's leading business schools, known for its rigorous academic curriculum and focus on leadership development. The school's MBA program offers a diverse and international student body, with a strong emphasis on experiential learning and case studies. HEC Paris provides excellent networking opportunities in Europe and beyond.

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago is renowned for its collaborative and team-based approach to business education. Kellogg's MBA program offers many specialisations and experiential learning opportunities. The school's strong alumni network and reputation for excellence make it an attractive choice for prospective MBA students.

IE Business School.

IE Business School, based in Madrid, Spain, is known for its innovative and entrepreneurial approach to business education. The school's MBA program offers a flexible curriculum, allowing students to customise their learning experience. IE Business School's focus on entrepreneurship and global perspectives prepares students for success in the dynamic business landscape.

Understanding the MBA LOR

Purpose of the MBA LOR

An MBA LOR aims to provide the admissions committee with a detailed and unbiased assessment of your skills, achievements, and potential as a candidate. It should complement your application by presenting a different perspective on your abilities.

Importance of a Well-Written LOR

A well-written LOR can offer valuable insights into your character, work ethic, and potential contributions to the MBA program. It allows the admissions committee to evaluate your candidacy more holistically and better understand your qualifications.

Common Mistakes in MBA LOR

Lack of Personalization

One common mistake is submitting a generic LOR that needs more personalisation. Each LOR should be tailored specifically to the program and highlight your unique qualities that align with the school's values and objectives.

Focusing on Weaknesses

Another area for improvement is emphasising weaknesses or failures in your LOR. While honesty's essential, focusing solely on weaknesses can overshadow your strengths and leave a negative impression on the admissions committee.

Exaggeration and Superlatives

Exaggerating your accomplishments or using excessive superlatives can undermine the credibility of your LOR. It's important to present a balanced and realistic picture of your achievements without resorting to hyperbole.

Generic Statements

Avoid using generic statements or clichés in your LOR. Instead, provide specific examples and anecdotes that demonstrate your skills and abilities. This will make your LOR more engaging and persuasive.

Lack of Specific Examples

One mistake applicants make is not including specific examples to support their claims. By providing concrete instances of your achievements, you can validate your statements and make your LOR more compelling.

Poor Structure and Organization

A poorly structured LOR can be challenging to follow and may fail to convey your message effectively. Ensure your LOR has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion, with each paragraph addressing a specific point.

Ignoring the School's Requirements

Remembering the school's requirements and guidelines for the LOR can help your application. Take the time to thoroughly understand what the school expects and tailor your LOR accordingly.

Grammatical and Spelling Errors

Grammatical and spelling errors can create a negative impression and suggest a lack of attention to detail. Proofread your LOR carefully, or consider seeking assistance from a professional editor.

How to Avoid These Mistakes

Research and Understand the School

Before writing your LOR, thoroughly research the MBA program and the school's values, mission, and culture. This will help you understand what qualities the school is looking for in applicants.

Personalise the LOR

Tailor your LOR to each school, highlighting why you are interested in their program. Connect relevant experiences to the school's offerings to demonstrate your genuine interest.

Highlight Strengths

Focus on your strengths and achievements throughout your LOR. Emphasise the skills and experiences that make you a unique and valuable candidate for the MBA program.

Use Specific Examples

Support your statements with specific examples that illustrate your abilities and accomplishments. This will provide evidence of your qualifications and make your LOR more persuasive.

Follow a Clear Structure

Organise your LOR logically and coherently. Start with an engaging introduction, develop your points in the body paragraphs, and conclude with a strong summary that reinforces your suitability for the program.

Proofread and Edit

Thoroughly proofread your LOR for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Consider seeking feedback from trusted individuals, such as professors or professionals, to ensure the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.


Crafting a compelling and error-free MBA LOR is essential for a successful application. You can create a persuasive LOR that highlights your qualifications by avoiding common mistakes such as lack of personalisation, focusing on weaknesses, and using generic statements. 

Remember to tailor your LOR to each school, showcase your strengths, and provide specific examples. With careful attention to detail and a clear structure, your MBA LOR can significantly enhance your chances of admission.


How long should an MBA LOR be?

The length of an MBA LOR can vary, but keeping it concise and focused is generally recommended, typically around 500 to 800 words.

Should I write my own MBA LOR?

While you can draft your own LOR, having someone else, such as a professor or professional mentor, is often beneficial to review and provide feedback on your writing.

Can I use the same LOR for multiple MBA applications?

It's important to personalise your LOR for each school to demonstrate your genuine interest and alignment with their program.

How should I choose my LOR writers?

Choose individuals who can provide a comprehensive and unbiased assessment of your abilities, such as professors, supervisors, or mentors who know you well.

Can I submit additional LORs to strengthen my application?

While some schools may accept additional LORs, it's best to adhere to the specific guidelines provided by each institution.


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