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ISB Letter of Recommendation Questions


  1. How long and in what capacity have you known the candidate? (No word limit)
  2. If this is a work-related reference, in what position is/was the candidate employed and for how long? (No word limit)
  3. What do you consider to be the candidate’s principal strengths/talents? (No word limit)
  4. What do you consider to be the candidate’s weaknesses or areas that need improvement? (No word limit)


ISB Letter of Recommendation Example – 1


ISB Recommendation Question 1: Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant.

I have known Sneha (Name Changed) since she joined the firm 2.5 years back as a Junior Research Analyst. I am the Director of Global Financial Institutions Centre of which Corporate and Investment Banking is a sub-team. I have had direct visibility of her work in the team and have overseen her promotion to Research Analyst.

ISB Recommendation Question 2: How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?

Sneha (Name Changed) has managed to deliver a high impact in a variety of settings. It is because of this impact that we decided to promote her to the role of Research Analyst.

One of the primary strengths of Sneha (Name Changed) that I have observed is strong problem-solving and analytical rigor. For instance, she was supporting a team offsite for an external publication on the capital markets industry. The effort involved extensive problem-solving with experts since the project required coming up with new thinking on how to assess the performance of capital markets. It also entailed building complex models to derive at the answer since the benchmarking was data intensive. She helped define frameworks used in the publication and helped derive useful insights for a comprehensive analysis of the capital markets industry. She displayed efficacy in data collection and sound industry knowledge. Due to her excellent work on the project, she was invited onsite for the project in Hong Kong. The publication also had an immense impact on the firm as it laid the foundation for various discussions with regulators of capital markets in Asian economies.

Another key strength that I have observed is that she doesn’t shy away from taking additional team responsibilities. She has started taking business-unit wide training such as the Global Financial Institutions Centre (GFIC) Academy. She had also helped streamline processes in the team when she institutionalized an onboarding toolkit for her sub-team. As a result, she has now earned the reputation of an excellent coach and mentor to new joiners in the team.

Overall, Sneha (Name Changed) is a well-rounded individual universally recognized not only for her work but also for her helpful attitude and a proactive mindset. She brings a high level of energy to any team she is part of. She is considered very approachable by all team members which really makes her stand out.

ISB Recommendation Question 3: Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant.

As an enthusiastic new joiner, Sneha (Name Changed) often took up more responsibilities. Also owing to her soft nature, she undertook more tasks herself than reaching out to others for help. When she did reach out, she wasn’t able to push people to deliver beyond a point that acted as a deterrent for her. For instance, as part of the onboarding toolkit, she was building primer material for the team which is a fact-pack and quick introduction to the Corporate & Investment Banking industry. For the same, she often had to reach out to content experts who were often busy and couldn’t dedicate that much time to the project which led to delays. We felt the need to nudge her to delegate more and speak up more often so that she could motivate others to contribute promptly. She took this feedback quite positively and has now learned to be more efficient at managing expectations with others. She was able to complete the primer material which is now used regularly by the team as the basis for training new joiners.

4. Is there anything else we should know?

In a short span of time, Sneha (Name Changed) has been able to build her credibility in front of tenured colleagues across the globe. Seniors in the team also vouch for her reliability and her strong work ethic. We decided to present her the ‘McKinsey Research Leadership Award’ due to her strong research skills, valuable contributions, and ability to create opportunities even though she was a very junior member.

Sneha (Name Changed) has emerged as a very successful Analyst, and I believe that with the right guidance from an institute such as ISB she can be an even more successful consultant. Hence I am very happy to recommend her to the PGP program.

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