Berkeley Haas Letter of Recommendation Questions: 2023-2024
- Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Up to 500 words)
- 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?) (Up to 500 words)
- Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the
applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Up to 500 words)
- Is there anything else we should know? (Optional)
Berkeley Haas Letter of Recommendation Example – 1
1)How long have you known the applicant, and what is the nature of your relationship? (150 word limit).
I have known Sagar since February 2012, when my team hired him from California State University, Sacramento as an engineering graduate intern for 6 months. Sagar’s excellent performance as a technical intern made it easy for my team to hire him as a full-time college graduate software engineer. Sagar reported into my organization for 3 more years from 2012 to 2015, got promoted to a senior software engineering role in a short time. In 2016, Sagar moved on to a different business group at Intel, though we still touch base with each other and I am generally aware of his career progression at Intel.
2)What are the applicant’s principal strengths? Please provide specific examples (250 word limit)
Sagar’s principal strength is an excellent combination of business and technical acumen. My organization at Intel is responsible for delivering technical software and platform solutions to Intel’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers. Sagar’s strength was primarily why my team hired him into the team out of school. In his first role in my team in 2012, I gave him a critical responsibility to drive my business group’s strong presence in “Computex” Technology event in Taiwan. His strong execution on two fronts – (a) solving technical platform software and firmware issues, and (b) driving Intel customer partners during the event towards a common goal – was instrumental in making the first of the kind of demo for Intel possible in a short time against odds. He was awarded with a Division Recognition award for his leadership and execution. His strong contribution made me give him additional responsibilities to lead technology show and tell events for Intel in future industry events and Intel’s executive management meetings.
Sagar has demonstrated excellent problem-solving skills with a strong go-getter attitude. In 2012-2013, my team was building a strong Intel Architecture ecosystem for Android based tablets and smartphones. Sagar was responsible for driving technical solutions with Software Application Vendor community. Despite various ecosystem enabling challenges, Sagar was instrumental in bringing several Android applications to Intel Architecture (IA), that enabled multiple IA first usages as a competitive strength to Intel. His strong performance led to him receiving division level recognitions, and his promotion to the next big opportunity.
3)Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response (250-word limit).
Sagar came to my team with an excellent combination of technical and business acumen, plus a great sense of customer orientation. While working on my team in his early years at Intel, Sagar was learning solving new technical problems and at the same time increasing his knowledge of the Intel customer ecosystem. In his role, he would spend more of his energy looking at problems through an engineering lens, paying less than required attention to the bigger picture, influencing decisions being taken in the business group. My feedback to him was to spend time on understanding the customer ecosystem and the business environment influencing the decisions. Sagar, based on my feedback, networked with right experts with sales and marketing and product marketing experience in the organization to seek coaching and mentorship. He took additional relevant trainings at Intel to enhance his skills in this area. His efforts on both fronts, helped him be a better and stronger contributor towards solving customer business enabling challenges for years to come.
4)Please explain your rating and comment on the candidate’s potential for future career progression (250 word limit).
With a strong educational background, technical work experience, business acumen, and excellent performance at Intel in his 8 years. I believe, Sagar is a very well rounded professional. He has progressed faster than normal at Intel. I would rate his career progression 8/10. He has demonstrated great appetite to learn from his coaches and mentors. I believe, with this progression, I see in him a great future leader.
5)In the Berkeley MBA Program, we develop leaders who embody our Defining Leadership Principles; one of them is Confidence Without Attitude; or “confidence with humility.” Please comment on how the applicant reflects this Berkeley Haas Principle?
When my organization was responsible for delivering Intel Atom low power SoC based tablet devices to the market, Sagar was part of my team responsible for solving various software ecosystem related challenges, the corporation had to address to, in order to deliver a great end user experience on our products. Sagar demonstrated extreme passion being a part of the team, solving technical problems and relationship challenges with industry partners; he worked in the lab to create key data points, needed to unblock stalled conversations with our partners. In this process for ~3 years, Sagar, despite being relatively new to the organization, was very receptive to any feedback on job. He grew as an engineer working with and learning from senior members of the team. He welcomed coaching and mentorship from domain experts and grew into even more valuable an asset to my organization. Through his domain expertise, he conducted a thorough in lab study to prove that a cost trade off that the organization was doing while designing tablets with lower memory and storage specification would negatively impact user experience. This study helped my organization to rethink about the priorities and product positioning direction.
Though Sagar moved on to different career opportunities outside my team, I have stayed in touch with him. I am excited to see how he has shown a continuous improvement in his approach to solving business challenges with his technical aptitude. I see in him a great future leader, I wish him good luck in his endeavors.
Berkeley Haas Letter of Recommendation Example – 2
1)Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Up to 50 words)
I have worked with Shivam for 3 years as his reporting manager at TechnipFMC. Presently I am the director of ThinkNotch Solutions. I offered him to join my startup, which he gladly accepted. Shivam has been directly reporting to me since January this year.
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?) (Up to 500 words)
In the duration when I have managed Shivam, he has been consistently performing well and has also been promoted. I can say that Shivam has been very good in client management and helped in strengthening confidence of global teams in the relatively new engineering center in India.
I observed positive feedback about Shivam from Jereme (from the R & D department in Houston, USA) and Chance (from the new product development in Norway) while working at TechnipFMC. The two main projects for which Shivam collaborated with them were critical and needed advanced problem-solving skills. Shivam’s work in these projects was appreciated by the top management and led to new skill development in the India team. As a result, Shivam was made single point of contact for key analysis projects for key clients like Exxon and Shell. Because of his commitment towards work and team development, I recommended Shivam’s name for an early promotion in 2018.
Another key skill of Shivam which the leadership team of the company noticed and wanted to leverage is his ability to connect with new engineers and help them in their accelerated development. One year after he started working in my team at TechnipFMC, Shivam was identified as a ‘Buddy mentor’ for the two new graduate engineers in year 2013. I got a very positive response about Shivam from his mentees, and the positive feedback was also supported by the high motivation levels of his mentees and their quick and easy assimilation in the technical team. As a result, Shivam was given an additional responsibility of the technical training of the graduate engineers inducted in the analysis team in the year 2013, 2017 and 2018.
Apart from the technical and interpersonal skills, I have observed that Shivam takes keen interest in extracurricular activities of the organization. He is a trained classical singer and has been performing at the cultural events at the organization to raise funds for the NGO named Kartavya, which he supports since his college days. Moreover, he was a key member of the cricket team of the company which participates in annual corporate tournament in the city. I can see a good blend of empathy and self-motivation in his personality.
3)Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Up to 500 words)
During the whole period of my professional interaction with Shivam, I noticed that he was always looking for feedback to improve himself. The most important feedback which I could remember giving him was about his presentation skills.
There was an instance when I had to advise Shivam on improving the quality and content of a web seminar in TechnipFMC. In this seminar series an expert in each region (Americas, Europe and Africa and APME) was selected to deliver a 2-hour session on the topic chosen by the global training team every month. This was a great opportunity for Shivam, and he was the youngest engineer to get selected for this role in the India office. Shivam was inexperienced to handle the nature of the audience which was present in the seminar.
I got a chance to attend a practice session arranged by Shivam for the team before the actual web seminar, and found that the material prepared by him was a little cramped up and some concepts were for advanced users of this field of science. I highlighted these issues and suggested he keep the broader perspective of the stakeholders and audience in mind when a mixed group having different levels of technical understanding is present. On these lines I also suggested that he read the book ‘Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life’ by Marshall Rosenberg.
Shivam took the feedback seriously and arranged a discussion meeting with me and other senior members of the team for a review of the content. He came up with an idea to include more graphical content and real life examples from everyday events so that the complex physical phenomenon can be explained to people without using a lot of equations. His new idea was appreciated as it improved the quality of the content of the seminar and made it more interactive.
4)Is there anything else we should know? (Optional)
After knowing Shivam for over 7 years, I hired him in my startup in January this year to lead the project team. He has the additional responsibility for the development of the new capabilities in the team as we plan to scale up our operations in the future. As he expressed his desire to learn about the business, he is also a part of the core business development group of the company. Shivam has shown great commitment to the business and has kept the morale of everyone high.
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