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Duke Fuqua Letter of Recommendation Questions


  1. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Recommended word count: 50 words)
  2. How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Recommended word count: 500 words)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Recommended word count: 500 words)
  4. Is there anything else we should know? (Optional)

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Duke Fuqua Letter of Recommendation Example – 1


1. What is your interaction with the Candidate?

I have known Hardik (Name Changed) for over 4 years now. Hardik (Name Changed) reached me on LinkedIn with a desire to pursue an internship in the business analytics domain. He worked with us at Edureka during the internship and after that, I have guided him as a mentor at crucial steps in his career.

2. What do you consider to be the candidate’s principal strengths/talents?

As the CEO of a firm, I have come across many professionals from diverse backgrounds and skillsets and I think Hardik (Name Changed) as an individual stands out among his peer’s community in two qualities. Firstly, he goes above and beyond to solve the problem for the team, and secondly, he is a fast learner.

Hardik (Name Changed) worked with our analytics team on a project to track market penetration KPIs in an automated manner. The project involved integration of consumer analytics, web click, and Customer relationship data of Edureka to strategize business decisions. The project involved understanding requirements from marketing and sales teams and collaborating with technical teams to implement the solution. He was able to successfully navigate through the ambiguous scope of the project and put commendable efforts involving stakeholders from different teams to plan the project execution. I was impressed when Hardik (Name Changed) went beyond the project scope to integrate YouTube views analytics in the framework to track Edureka’s social media footprint.

After an initial analysis of the project, we decided to proceed with R-programming to integrate data from different streams. Hardik (Name Changed) was not proficient with R but however showed great interest in learning a language quickly. I appreciate professionals who progress in projects by giving equal importance to their skill set development. By the end of the internship, Hardik (Name Changed) integrated google analytics, Google AdWords, and Edureka sales data to generate real-time funnel reports involving different parameters.

Impressed by his commitment to the objectives and his capability to learn, I offered Hardik (Name Changed) a full-time opportunity to work in the analytics team with us at Edureka. I roundly endorse Hardik (Name Changed) in all his future endeavors and would very much likely to see him succeed in his career.

3. What do you perceive as the applicant’s areas for growth? Describe the applicant’s awareness of these areas and his/her response to constructive feedback.

During the course of the project, Hardik (Name Changed) worked enthusiastically and performed with the best of these abilities to achieve the set objectives of the project. But one weakness which I observed was the lack of efficient project management skills.

The main aim of the project was to develop a powerful tool that marketers and sales teams could leverage to analyze data from multiple sources and track Edureka’s market performance. The project timeline was tight considering we had three individual objectives to achieve in the project and hence we allocated a junior intern to assist Hardik (Name Changed). But, both of them spent the majority time in tool development and enhancements but I believe Hardik (Name Changed) missed an important aspect of training and education of concerned client teams regarding how to use the tool due to limited time available.

He forgot to properly plan his project timeline and didn’t take into account all the stakeholders and post-delivery responsibilities. Edureka had limited R experts and bandwidth to proceed with the project therefore I expressed this concern over the telephone to Hardik (Name Changed) and we had to involve him from campus to conduct a knowledge session regarding tool overview.

Hardik (Name Changed) was humble and welcoming with this feedback, he didn’t shy away from helming the project towards completion and acted sincerely to conduct a proper project handover.

Duke Fuqua Letter of Recommendation Example – 2


1. What is your interaction with the Candidate?

Hardik (Name changed) is my direct report and working as Tech Analyst in Citi Services Centre, Pune since 2017. He initially worked in Citi Treasury & Trade solutions division and joined our Trade Settlements Team in August 2018.

2. What do you consider to be the candidate’s principal strengths/talents?

I think the two qualities that make Hardik (Name changed) stand out from his peers are his problem-solving skills and his commitment to delivering results by taking complete ownership of his projects.

One specific example where he showcased these skills was in 2017 for the server upgrade project. Citi trade processing team has a suite of around 200 applications that capture trades from upstream systems, calculate client cash flows, and feed messages for payment settlements to different systems. Most of these applications dump client uploaded files at a common high-speed and readily accessible storage location. Over the years, the storage size grew massive to a point that the team planned to buy additional storage but Hardik (Name changed) came up with an idea to optimize the existing one. He chalked out a simplified implementation of the complex problem by identifying each source application, compressing uploaded files, and then updating back new path reference. The in-house developed solution by Hardik (Name changed) saved our team $0.5 million in costs and will serve valuable development for future storage optimization projects.

Impressed by Hardik (Name changed)’s dedication, the leadership team provided him an opportunity to lead a Government regulation project to move our accrued interest calculation away from decommissioned system ALF to new systems of MARS and CG. The new systems were under-development which pushed us to our limits to deliver this business-critical milestone in stipulated time. Hardik (Name changed) went beyond his stipulated job, put in commendable efforts performing several rounds of testing and feeding backtest results to MARS and CG to improve their accrued interest calculation. Afterward, he sought required approval and planned the release of each of the 9 market sector securities in a short time frame of 15 days.

As a result of such strong performances, he was recently awarded the Citi gratitude bronze award for delivering the milestone in a mandated time frame. Hardik (Name changed) received one of the fastest promotions last year in December 2018 and has been rated ‘Highly effective’ (2) which is the second-best rating of the firm and the highest rating awarded in my team. Besides these achievements, Hardik (Name changed) actively contributes to Citi’s CSR initiatives and promotes best engineering practices across Citi, Pune.

3. What do you perceive as the applicant’s areas for growth? Describe the applicant’s awareness of these areas and his/her response to constructive feedback.

Hardik (Name changed) is a highly focused individual with a track record of delivering results under his belt, but what I noticed during the ALF migration project was – Hardik (Name changed) was doing great on the technical implementation front, he lacked the business domain area knowledge, which is essential to make any product a success.

In one instance, I asked him about the business-use case of a market sector Collateralized Mortgage Obligation (CMO) whose migration he was working on and he was not able to convincingly explain to me the trading scenarios of CMOs. Such technology implementation without completely understanding the business use case and the underlying synergies of different processes can result in conceptual gaps that might affect the project developments.

I have raised these issues with him in our year-end career conversations in 2018 while commending him on his ideas. He was responsive and welcoming of my comments. After this incident, I have observed Hardik (Name changed) asking detailed business-requirements from project managers while taking project handovers. I believe Hardik (Name changed) is working on this aspect of his growth to improve his business understanding of technical challenges he works on every day.

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