Eric Olson is managing director for the MSCM program and oversees the MSCM admissions committee. Eric has reviewed all applications submitted for the MSCM program since its inception and has counseled numerous prospective students on the ideal strategy to develop and deliver a competitive application for the program. Eric knows what makes applications stand out and how applicants can increase their chances of being admitted into the MSCM program.
In these application tips, Eric will share advice on how to put your best application forward. Our online application for the MSCM class of 2015 (starting coursework in January 2015) is live.
Tip: Manage the Recommendation Process
Letters of recommendation are an invaluable component of your application packet. They provide outside perspective on your professional accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses, personal characteristics, and potential fit with the Ross MSCM Program. But this part of the application can be the most challenging. Composed and submitted by others, itís the one piece thatís out of your hands.
To maximize success, you should be actively involved in the recommendation process. Here are some helpful tips on how to manage this process:.
- Choose your recommenders wisely. We ask for two letters of recommendation in your application. Selecting the ideal individuals to write your letters is the crucial first step. Identify people who know you well, have seen you in action, can attest to your professional abilities, value your work ethic, are committed to your success, and are willing to take the time to write a detailed letter.
- Select substance over title. Asking the president or CEO of your company to write your letter of recommendation is probably not the way to go, unless you report directly to him or her. Select someone who can speak to your day-to-day work, give detail, and provide examples of your professional character. A direct supervisor/manager usually provides the best information in this regard.
- Use the right network. Given the format and insight we seek, we highly recommend you select someone from your professional network to write your letters. Professors and those in your personal network typically aren’t able to address the topics and provide the depth that makes an excellent letter. Again, a direct supervisor/manager usually has the knowledge we’re looking for. Another idea is to ask a manager/supervisor from a previous job. Establishing a theme of excellence in your career is very helpful and solid letters from multiple people who have seen you perform make an impact. We know it is not always possible to get a letter of recommendation from a direct supervisor. In that case, we advise you to reach out to a professional mentor or someone who has seen you progress throughout your career. You could also ask a client or a member of another team you worked with.
- Prep your recommenders for the letter. Set up a time to talk with your recommenders to give them context about your career goals and why you are pursuing an MSCM. Make sure they are current on your career accomplishments. At the same time, we encourage you not to counsel them too much. You want to ensure that they give us their personal opinion and supportive information on your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
- The more time, the better. Make sure your letter writers have ample time to prepare and submit the best letter possible. We cannot assess your application packet until all components are received, including your letters. You might want to provide your letter writers with a deadline prior to your planned submission date. Your recommenders’ schedules are out of your hands, so giving them a fair chunk of time to prepare and write will ensure a better submission. The more information they provide, the better!
Keep the big picture in mind.
Ultimately, you cannot control what your recommenders write. However, you do control the choice of recommenders and how well you prepare them to write your recommendations. Selecting the right people to present your professional and personal traits, characteristics, and abilities is critical. Making the process convenient for them is the other way to help maximize your chances.
As always, keep in mind that we assess applications holistically. No component guarantees success or failure. Actively managing your entire application is the best way to make sure you are submitting an application which you feel is a solid representation of yourself and one you are proud of.
If you have any questions about what we look for and/or evaluate in applications feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 734-647-1396. We are here to help! Happy test taking!