Knowledge Base

What are the differences in LOR requirements between US and European MBA programs?

While both US and European MBA programs require recommendation letters, there can be subtle differences in their expectations. Here’s a breakdown to help you navigate the process effectively:

Number of Letters #

  • US: Typically, applications require 2-3 letters of recommendation, with a preference for letters from current or past supervisors who can directly assess your work performance.
  • Europe:  Programs often request 1-2 letters, with some accepting more. Here, recommendations from professors or academic mentors might hold greater weight, especially for applicants with limited work experience.

Content and Focus #

  • US:  Admissions committees in the US value leadership potential, teamwork abilities, and quantitative skills. Recommendation letters should emphasize these aspects through specific examples of your achievements and contributions.
  • Europe:  European programs tend to place a greater emphasis on academic achievements, relevant work experience, and how you fit with the program’s specific focus or research areas. Letters should showcase your intellectual curiosity, research aptitude, and potential for academic success.

Format and Length #

  • US:  There are often no strict formatting requirements for US recommendation letters. However, they tend to be longer and more detailed, providing a comprehensive overview of your skills and experiences.
  • Europe:  Some European programs might have specific formatting requirements, such as a CV format for the recommender’s information. Letters can be shorter and more concise, focusing on the most relevant aspects of your candidacy.

Additional Considerations #

  • US programs might prefer recommendations written in English, even if your prior education was in another language.
  • European programs might be more flexible regarding the language of the recommendation letter, especially if the program itself is offered in multiple languages.

Proactive Steps for Applicants #

  • Research Program Requirements:  Always double-check the specific requirements of each program you’re applying to regarding the number, format, and content expectations for recommendation letters.
  • Communicate with Recommenders:  Discuss these program-specific requirements with your recommenders and provide relevant information about the program to help them effectively tailor their letters.

By understanding these key distinctions and taking proactive steps, you can ensure your recommendation letters resonate with the specific requirements of both US and European MBA programs, strengthening your application for your chosen path.

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