Letters of recommendation give us the opportunity to see you objectively through someone else’s eyes. They give us insight into what you have accomplished, how you accomplished it, and how what you did was different from others. They also give us a window into your qualities as a team member.
We require two letters of recommendation. We prefer that one letter comes from your current direct supervisor and the other from a former supervisor, or other individuals who have overseen your work and with whom you have had significant professional interaction.
We understand that there may be situations that may prevent you from providing a letter from your direct supervisor such as if you are self-employed, work for a family business where a family member is a direct supervisor, or you have recently moved into a new position with a supervisor who does not know you well. In those situations use your best judgment in finding an alternative source - a previous supervisor, an indirect manager, a client, a member of your board of directors, or any other individual who supervises your work. We strongly discourage letters of recommendation from co-workers, subordinates, business partners, professors, family, or friends.
Choose individuals who know you well and who will take the time to write thorough and thoughtful letters on your behalf. Their title or status is not important. What does matter is how closely they have worked with you and whether they can attest to your value as an employee, your professional accomplishments, and your personal qualities.
Choose your recommenders carefully, and give them plenty of time to write a thoughtful letter (ideally 3-6 weeks ahead of the deadline). In your application you will be required to explain who you chose for your recommendations and why, including when you worked with them and the context of your professional relationship.
We find the most helpful letters provide specific and detailed examples to support their assertions and are more convincing than those with positive, but general statements. Consider sitting down with your recommender and reviewing your recent accomplishments - much as if you were preparing for a performance review. Let them know your goals and how the Berkeley Haas MBA will help you achieve them. Letters that are recent, relevant, and written specifically for the Berkeley MBA application give us the best insight into who you are and will be as a leader.
Do not draft or write your own letter of recommendation, even if asked to do so by your recommender, as this can result in denial of your application or withdrawal of an offer of admission.
We strongly encourage your recommenders to submit letters via the online recommendation form. As part of completing the online application, you will provide email addresses for recommenders and indicate that they will be submitting their recommendations online. This will generate an email to them providing access to the online recommendation form. After a recommender submits a letter, both of you will receive email confirmation.
If you wish to give your recommenders hard copy forms to print, complete, and mail, you may download the same recommendation form (PDF). Please review and complete the submission instructions at the top of the form prior to sending it to your recommender.