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SMU 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)

SMU Letter of Recommendation Example – 1

1. In your opinion, what is the candidate’s potential career advancement or contributions in his organization/industry/society in the next five years?

In these last ten years, Nadim has become a valuable asset in our organization. He is very pragmatic in his approach and has a strong analytical acumen.

Nadim is responsible for conducting due diligence meetings, analyzing a huge amount of information. He leverages his ability to evaluate data, facts, and observable phenomena along with his aptitude to think on his feet, drawing reasonable conclusions and thus making an informed investment decision, which is of great benefit to our team.

Last year his decision to invest in precious metal and his timely decision to sell, netted the return on the investment of more than 50% in one year, this is the 2nd year in a row that we have achieved the return of more than 50% by timely investing in precious metal.

I feel Nadim portrays a promising capability, and I believe that in the next five years he will be well ready to fill in a more challenging role.

2. From what you understand of the applicant, what are his / her main motivations or interests in life?

The important things that stand out with Nadim are that he puts a great emphasis on personal development and he likes to contribute to the community.

His curiosity and desire to get better have made him an avid learner. From time to time, he enrolls himself in courses to enhance his knowledge and skills. In his quest to learn further and grow, we sponsored him to attend an executive program in company valuation, from Oxford. He is an adventurous individual with a knack for physical fitness. I have learned about his stories, whether hiking a 14er, rock climbing or rafting in the Arkansas River.

I myself am a member of the Lions Club of Denver and a board member of Rude park school, and I put great importance in giving back to the community. Over the years I have liked this quality in Nadim as well, he devotes his free time volunteering for various local organizations that support the needy and underprivileged individuals.

3. The Selection Committee would appreciate your candid assessment and comments on the applicant’s strengths & weaknesses, ability to complete a serious programme of graduate study and potential to become a responsible and successful industry leader.

In my opinion, there are two qualities that are key strengths of Nadim: his ability to communicate complex ideas into layman terms for easy understanding and his problem-solving skills.

Working as a VP, Nadim’s responsibility involves often communicating with different stakeholders on a daily basis: clients, prospective clients, fund managers, brokerage houses, and various research firms. One instance that comes to mind, when Nadim skillfully handled a client and managed to get that client to add more money to his portfolio for us to manage. He explained to the client the importance of active management and the art of going defensive at the right time, during a period of high uncertainty. He provided the client with proper hypothetical numbers with different scenarios, and the opportunity cost and return associated with each, establishing a great rapport and trust with the client.

Additionally, Nadim’s problem-solving skill shines as one of his other important skills. Nadim joined our firm after the big financial market meltdown, unfortunately, we also had lost quite a bit of our investor’s money. We were under immense pressure to find a solution to improve our strategies. I assigned Nadim a challenging project to study our models and strategies and to find areas that needed attention, with the goal to have a healthy return on our investments and to shield ourselves during market downturns. Nadim was able to uncover several shortcomings in our models, which had exposed them to severe risks in the past. He not only came up with different ideas and suggestions to fill those gaps but also created an overlay out of his own volition, for our main signals, flattening the tight up and downswings in the market.

The results were drastically better. For instance, during this year’s downturn, our performance was very different from the last market crash, as we did not just protect but also the spread between benchmark indexes and our strategies were more than 25%.

However, one area I would like Nadim to improve upon is to be diplomatic in his approach while debating on contentious issues or giving directions. Nadim has a strong personality and can be stern when giving directives or while discussing. Even though his ideas and suggestions are valid but at times it can be misconstrued as harsh. I would like to suggest to Nadim that the ideas and suggestions are important, but it is also crucial to present them in a more acceptable manner, which will help the others to see his ideas in a better light and be more receptive to it.

I believe Nadim is well suited for the Executive MBA program, because of the breadth of his knowledge and skills. Plus, he is very task-oriented and has an innate desire to learn. There is not a doubt in my mind that he will do great.

SMU Letter of Recommendation Example – 2

1. In your opinion, what is the candidate’s potential career advancement or contributions in his organization/industry/society in the next five years?

I have known Nadim for 10 years now, I am a client of Mission Control Investments and Nadim is my point of contact. In our 10 years of working relationship, I have seen Nadim grow from an Analyst to a Vice President. He took great interest in learning about my investment goals and understood that I prefer a long-term investment path. He values my interest and is always very careful to keep me on track of my investment goals.

There are two particular instances that come to my mind when I wanted to invest in Citi Bank and CVS pharmacy, but Nadim advised me against it. Since then the Citi bank has lost more than 60%. On the other hand, CVS pharmacy, Nadim explained that even though the company is in good shape looking at the fundamentals, but as per his research there is a great risk to the prescription business in the future from online platforms, especially from Amazon’s online business expansion.

I am glad that I took Nadim’s advice, and realized that he always has my best interest in mind. He has earned my trust, and I do value his ideas and suggestions. I believe with his personable nature, diligent attitude and capabilities, in the next five years he has a great potential to grow further in the financial investment field, taking on bigger roles and endeavors

2. The Selection Committee would appreciate your candid assessment and comments on the applicant’s strengths & weaknesses, ability to complete a serious programme of graduate study and the potential to become a responsible and successful industry leader.

There are two things that I really like while working with Nadim. First, he is extremely courteous and reliable, and the second he is very proactive while managing my portfolio.

Over the years that I have known Nadim, I have communicated with him numerous times. Our business relationship has grown, because of the trust he was able to establish. He is very attentive and courteous in his approach, giving me assurance that I could rely on him. Any concerns or issues that I have, he always makes sure to listen and understand, and he meticulously addresses those. In a situation where he doesn’t have the solution, he asks for some time and always comes back with the answer in a timely manner.

Another of his skills that have caught my attention is that he is proactive and always keeps abreast of the current economic trend and market potential. I often communicate with Nadim, either when I need evaluation done on any companies that I am interested in investing in or when he comes across any good opportunities to give me options for investments. Recently, he helped me invest in Microsoft and in the oil. As per his analysis, Microsoft has great financial strength and growth prospects, with very attractive fundamentals. Because of the recent downturn, it was trading at a 30% discount price, making it a very attractive investment. On the other hand, the oil price is down to more than two decades now, as per Nadim’s analysis this price is not sustainable in the long run, due to the huge impact it has on the budget of most of the OPEC countries and the indirect impact of it on the developed nations. The current oil price is going to be detrimental to the world economy if this price persists, making oil another attractive long-term buy, with immense potential for a tremendous gain.

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