IIM Lucknow Letter of Recommendation Questions
- How long and in what capacity have you known the candidate? (No word limit)
- If this is a work-related reference, in what position is/was the candidate employed and for how long? (No word limit)
- What do you consider to be the candidate’s principal strengths/talents? (No word limit)
- What do you consider to be the candidate’s weaknesses or areas that need improvement? (No word limit)
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IIM Lucknow Letter of Recommendation Example-1
I have known Vaibhav for more than five years now. I was his direct manager for three years from 2015 to 2018 in TCS.
If this is a work-related reference, in what position is/was the candidate employed and for how long?
Vaibhav has worked for TCS for more than 12 years now. He started his career in TCS right after college and quickly progressed in his career to become Project manager/Program Manager. He joined my team in 2015 as Functional Consultant/Program Manager when I am Chief Digital Officer for the Life Sciences Unit of TCS.
Since Vaibhav joined my team, I have mostly staffed him on international client facing roles. His prior international experience and good functional knowledge made him a good fit for such roles in my team.
One of Vaibhav’s primary strengths, which I noted while he was working on the Amgen Multi-Channel Marketing project, is people management skills. The project was in trouble and we were in fire-fighting mode. There were a lot of escalations from client and lack of synergy amongst the multiple TCS teams involved. This is when I decided to put Vaibhav into the project as Functional Consultant/Program Manager and he immediately took the lead on most burning issues. With his clear communication and understanding of who needs what, he was able to win client’s trust within the first few interactions. He also worked with stakeholders from over 9 different countries and built fantastic relations with all the stakeholders. This helped bring a lot of cohesiveness and alignment amongst the multiple TCS teams which were at loggerheads before. By acting as a bridge between them Vaibhav was able to bring everyone on the same page and solved clients issues. After the project I received multiple appreciations regarding his contributions from our clients.
Another skill that impressed me was his analytical Skills. His analytical ability came to fore when he single handedly did the entire CRM system data analysis. Client’s CRM data, backbone of any commercial unit of pharma, was set up on a toll that was implemented about 7 years ago. It had to be brought into a new system we were building so that trend reporting can be done. But the problem was that interpretation of data was not easy. Vaibhav took this task up and went the extra mile in analyzing the data for which he often had to reach out to different people in the client’s organization to understand how they were using that data. With his persistence and hard work, he was able to understand the data and it’s usage for clients. Then he completed the activity in time and managed to keep the overall project on schedule.
Overall I think People management and analytical skills is what makes vaibhav standout from his peer group and helped him succeed as a consultant and project manager in our team.
Although Vaibhav has excellent technical knowledge and good domain understanding, but two areas where I saw potential areas of improvement were Presentation skills and business acumen.
I gave this feedback to him in our appraisal feedback session also. During his tenure in the Amgen project, we were often required to explain the value proposition to senior business leaders from the client side in a business friendly language rather than technicalities. Vaibhav’s language was often too technical and was not able to speak business language that would have excited the audience of that level. After 10 years of experience if he wants to continue growing he needs to enhance his business acumen as well to be able to connect with senior business leaders.
Another important feedback that I gave him was to improve his presentation skills – both preparing the content and delivering it. I am happy that he took both the feedbacks very positively and I have seen significant improvement in one of the areas. I recently worked on one client proposal with Vaibhav and was impressed with his improvement. His presentation skills – both in terms of the ideas and contents he captured in the presentation and delivering those messages to clients – have significantly improved. Though there still remains scope of improvement. I believe Vaibhav has a lot of potential to become a leader. I fully support his decision to pursue MBA.
IIM Lucknow Letter of Recommendation Example-2
I have known Ganesh for almost a decade now. He was reporting to me as a Solution Architect, addressing customized technical solutions encompassing Tata Communications portfolio of products and services during 2010-11.
He joined my team, pre-sales team, from operations with no prior experience in sales operations but quickly learned and delivered great results. More details are in the next question.
He left my team at Tata Communications to join Cisco Systems. As I have been in touch with him since he left, I know he is doing great professionally at Cisco with 2 issued patents, 2 CCIE certifications to his name, and working as a Technical leader right now.
Ganesh is quite keen to pursue new opportunities and is always in the urge to learn new skills. This program should pave the way to realize his growing ambitions to become a true business leader. Wish him all the success.
I am confident that Ganesh has the potential to get into a senior leadership role in the future given his ability to act in the right direction proactively.
I distinctly remember an instance when Ganesh went along with a sales manager to meet a client to close a $100K deal. In the meeting CEO of the company was present and as a side note he mentioned a different potential deal while expressing his displeasure at the lack of options for network connectivity in an African location.
Ganesh was not involved in the other deal because it was for a different line of business. But he took the initiative, listened to the pain points, understood the entire context and business proposition. He pursued the deal and ensured the customer was taken care of despite knowing that official credit for the deal will not be awarded to him. He came back, and highlighted the importance of the deal and options to deliver the solution to the senior management. As a result, Tata communications got an additional deal of $3 million per year. This is one of the embodiments of his selfless leadership and doing the right thing to do for the customer and the business.
Describe the candidate as a person. Comment on his/her ability to establish and maintain relationships, sensitivity to others, self-confidence, attitude, etc. Specifically comment on the candidate's behaviour or skills in a group setting/team environment.
Ganesh has proven himself to be a strong cultural fit at Tata Communications pre-sales team. His empathic communication style coupled with a friendly and approachable demeanor synergized well with the cross-functional demands of his role. Ganesh is always ready to mentor others and lend a helping hand and contribute towards the betterment of the company.
For instance, in early 2011 Ganesh proactively took the initiative to train partners just after 2-3 months of joining the team alleviating the burden on other members of the team going above and beyond expectations out of him at that point in time. It was a challenging task but he used his presentation skills and delivered the well-appreciated training. Following this, Ganesh became a highly respected member among other team members.
In group meetings, he respects his colleagues and is always eager to hear their thoughts and opinions. He quickly establishes strong working relationships with various departments by displaying honesty, consistency, and accountability in his professional interactions.
IIM Lucknow Letter of Recommendation Example-3
I am Engagement Manager for one of the accounts within TCS’s Life Sciences vertical. I have known Vaibhav for more than 13 years. I was his direct manager from 2008 – 2014 and then again from 2018 onwards. I have seen Vaibhav come a long way as a professional and as a person.
If this is a work-related reference, in what position is/was the candidate employed and for how long?
I have worked as Vaibhav’s direct supervisor in various roles. First when Vaibhav was developer and I was Project Lead, and then again we got to work together when he became a Program Manager and I was the Engagement Manager.
From early on in his career Vaibhav demonstrated good leadership skills and I think that’s what made me trust him with project lead responsibilities back in 2008 when he was only in the 2nd year of his career.
Seeing his performance in the first project we worked together, I was thoroughly impressed with his thought process and the way he managed the project. I made him backup project lead in the next assignment for our client Material Master. I made him responsible to lead a large team in which there were people who had more experience than Vaibhav. It added to Vaibhav’s challenge of leading a team for the first time, but he did exceptionally well.
He patiently worked to earn everyone’s trust and his place in the team. I have noticed that he inspires his team members. He also won the Cynosure – best leader award that year which is a highly sought-after award in our organization for two reasons – the entire team has to nominate their manager for this award and they then have to make a case presentation to the senior leadership to convince them.
Another area where Vaibhav is very strong is client management. The way he interacts and engages with people, be it clients, his peers or his direct reports, is great. In one of our engagements, we were doing a POC, Scout to EDC integration. The POC was delayed by more than two months. Some reasons were attributed to us while some were to clients. Vaibhav managed the entire situation very well. He presented facts and figures to client so that there was not even a single escalation. The same client went on to give us more work worth $800K.
In my opinion, the area where Vaibhav needs the most improvement is strategic thinking. In the consulting industry, providing out of the box solutions and evaluating multiple options is becoming more and more important. Vaibhav has the skills to propose the solution when a problem is described to him, but he needs to sharpen his skills in identifying the improvements that can be brought in the existing business workflows.
For Vaibhav to take up a leadership position, he should be able to identify what users need, understand the vision and should be able to influence them. He sometimes works with a short-term vision. He once proposed and built a solution without properly understanding what exactly users want and hence did not understand the user’s vision. As a result, he made a solution that had to be rebuilt four months after the go-live. The client was not happy with this rework. Vaibhav needs to look at the big picture and understand the vision.
I believe that his decision to pursue MBA will provide him with the above necessary skills. He has leadership qualities and an MBA will fill all the gaps for him to become a successful leader.