ISB 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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ISB Letter of Recommendation Example – 1
ISB Recommendation Question 1: Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant.
I have known Sneha (Name Changed) since she joined the firm 2.5 years back as a Junior Research Analyst. I am the Director of Global Financial Institutions Centre of which Corporate and Investment Banking is a sub-team. I have had direct visibility of her work in the team and have overseen her promotion to Research Analyst.
ISB Recommendation Question 2: How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?
Sneha (Name Changed) has managed to deliver a high impact in a variety of settings. It is because of this impact that we decided to promote her to the role of Research Analyst.
One of the primary strengths of Sneha (Name Changed) that I have observed is strong problem-solving and analytical rigor. For instance, she was supporting a team offsite for an external publication on the capital markets industry. The effort involved extensive problem-solving with experts since the project required coming up with new thinking on how to assess the performance of capital markets. It also entailed building complex models to derive at the answer since the benchmarking was data intensive. She helped define frameworks used in the publication and helped derive useful insights for a comprehensive analysis of the capital markets industry. She displayed efficacy in data collection and sound industry knowledge. Due to her excellent work on the project, she was invited onsite for the project in Hong Kong. The publication also had an immense impact on the firm as it laid the foundation for various discussions with regulators of capital markets in Asian economies.
Another key strength that I have observed is that she doesn’t shy away from taking additional team responsibilities. She has started taking business-unit wide training such as the Global Financial Institutions Centre (GFIC) Academy. She had also helped streamline processes in the team when she institutionalized an onboarding toolkit for her sub-team. As a result, she has now earned the reputation of an excellent coach and mentor to new joiners in the team.
Overall, Sneha (Name Changed) is a well-rounded individual universally recognized not only for her work but also for her helpful attitude and a proactive mindset. She brings a high level of energy to any team she is part of. She is considered very approachable by all team members which really makes her stand out.
ISB Recommendation Question 3: Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant.
As an enthusiastic new joiner, Sneha (Name Changed) often took up more responsibilities. Also owing to her soft nature, she undertook more tasks herself than reaching out to others for help. When she did reach out, she wasn’t able to push people to deliver beyond a point that acted as a deterrent for her. For instance, as part of the onboarding toolkit, she was building primer material for the team which is a fact-pack and quick introduction to the Corporate & Investment Banking industry. For the same, she often had to reach out to content experts who were often busy and couldn’t dedicate that much time to the project which led to delays. We felt the need to nudge her to delegate more and speak up more often so that she could motivate others to contribute promptly. She took this feedback quite positively and has now learned to be more efficient at managing expectations with others. She was able to complete the primer material which is now used regularly by the team as the basis for training new joiners.
4. Is there anything else we should know?
In a short span of time, Sneha (Name Changed) has been able to build her credibility in front of tenured colleagues across the globe. Seniors in the team also vouch for her reliability and her strong work ethic. We decided to present her the ‘McKinsey Research Leadership Award’ due to her strong research skills, valuable contributions, and ability to create opportunities even though she was a very junior member.
Sneha (Name Changed) has emerged as a very successful Analyst, and I believe that with the right guidance from an institute such as ISB she can be an even more successful consultant. Hence I am very happy to recommend her to the PGP program.
ISB Letter of Recommendation Example – 2
ISB Recommendation Question 1: Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant.
I have known Akankshi (Name Changed) for the past 4 years. Akankshi (Name Changed) joined Deloitte Consulting as a fresh graduate engineer. I was a trainer for the 2 months long on-boarding Bootcamp program for her batch of 80 fresh graduate engineers.
After Bootcamp, she joined me in the Omnicare team where I was leading the Integrations track and then we moved together to the Cardinal Health project. I was her project lead for one and a half years. Then we worked together on the CDM Smith project last year.
ISB Recommendation Question 2. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?
Since last year, after being promoted as a consultant, Akankshi (Name Changed) has been mostly involved in client-facing roles. I think one of her principal strengths is collaborating with cross-functional teams involving clients and other stakeholders in the project.
I observed this strength of Akankshi (Name Changed) when she was working as a tech lead on the CDM Smith project. The requirements of the project were a little unclear. Akankshi (Name Changed) put in commendable efforts in collaborating and coordinating with the client and our teams in the USA, Delhi, and Bengaluru to get the requirements clarified. Her apt handling of conflicts between the client and our on-site and local teams ensured that everyone was on the same page throughout the project. She acted as a single point of contact and stretched her working hours to manage project work between globally dispersed teams in different time zones. With Akankshi’s (Name Changed) commitment and efficient collaboration, the team managed to deliver the entire project ahead of time schedule. This project showcased her potential to lead future projects and fill in the shoes of a senior consultant.
Another key strength of Akankshi (Name Changed), I really appreciate, is her diversified interest in Deloitte’s extracurricular activities. She has been leading Deloitte’s education-focused CSR team for 3 years in partnership with an NGO named Literacy India. She leads a team of 20 volunteers for all projects related to child education which includes fundraising, organizing volunteer visits, and other events. To me, this displays her versatile nature and self-motivation. It’s always a pleasure to have such a team member who keeps the entire team motivated towards benevolent causes.
Overall, I think it’s her social work experience that has really helped her hone her collaboration and project management skills, which reflects in her professional work as well and this makes her stand out among her peers in the organization.
ISB Recommendation Question 3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant.
While Akankshi (Name Changed) is a great asset to the team, sometimes she tends to stretch her limits and take on lot more responsibilities than her experience allows her to. During the Omnicare project, I appreciated her energy but at times because of her inexperience, she could not estimate the effort and time needed to handle a particular job. For instance, she asked me to delegate the responsibility for common error handler utility to her, which I advised would be too difficult for her to handle given her already stretched work scope. Enthusiastically, she persuaded me and I assigned the task to her. It proved to be a tough task for her to manage and became a bottleneck. As a result, we ran into slight delays on the project. I had to take off the responsibility from her work scope and explain to her that she should not take up responsibilities blindly. She took this feedback positively and over time she has learned to manage her responsibilities and expectations very well.
During our 2 years of the working relationship, Akankshi (Name Changed) always incorporated constructive feedback from seniors and displayed a sharp growth curve as a professional. After our 2nd annual appraisal, I recommended her for promotion to the consultant level. I am proud to mention that last year, she was among the top 3 candidates who were given fast track promotion to consultant role out of a total batch size of 80 business technology analysts.
ISB Recommendation Question 4. Is there anything else we should know?
Akankshi (Name Changed) has earned the reputation of an excellent mentor and trainer very early in her career. Based on recommendations from her previous projects and positive feedback from analysts and interns, she was selected as a trainer in the official Bootcamp training team. The Bootcamp team includes trainers with more than 5 years of extensive experience within Deloitte, but Akankshi (Name Changed) made it in with 3 years of experience.
ISB Letter of Recommendation Example – 3
ISB Recommendation question 1: Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant.
I have directly worked with Rishi (Name Changed) for more than 3 years. Rishi (Name Changed) joined ZS Associates as a fresh graduate engineer. As his manager, I have observed him closely while he performed tasks such as enhancing the reports he manages based on business requirements, performing analytics on pharma data, and providing BI reporting solutions to the client.
ISB Recommendation question 2: How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?
When I compare Rishi’s (Name Changed) performance with his team member the 2 skills that make him stand apart are first of all his sense of ownership and second is his versatility.
One of the biggest and long-lasting projects that my team has worked upon is the Synvisc project for the client Sanofi and Rishi (Name Changed) have been involved since the very beginning of this project. Initially, we gave Rishi (Name Changed) a small scope of the project to lead and he showed great maturity in taking ownership of complete end to end deliverable of the scope. He developed a good in-depth understanding of the client’s business model and gather data points which enabled him to give specific insights to the client. These insights helped our clients recognize the gaps in their sales performance and Rishi also suggested improvement measures they can take. Based on this small scope, I received very positive feedback about his work from the client.
The positive impact that he made for the Synvisc brand enabled me to give him additional responsibility on occasions when other tenured team members transitioned out. He picked up new skills in no time and used his strengths to taking ownership to do justice to his new roles by delivering timely results and enhancements. Over the last 1 year, he has shown great capabilities to quickly fill in the roles for some of the senior members who moved out of the team and seeing his capabilities to take on additional responsibility I promoted him to Associate Consultant.
Hence, overall after knowing him for 3 years, and observing him grow and learn I think he is a well-rounded guy with a strong sense of task ownership and versatility which made him stand out from his peer group and earn him a well-deserved promotion.
ISB Recommendation question 3: Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant.
While Rishi (Name Changed) has been a great asset for the team, in a few of his initial engagements with clients we had some gaps which Rishi (Name Changed) was not able to deliver upon. On discussing further with him we found out that majority of the issues where due to the incorrect understanding of the requirements and communication gap with the client. I realized while Rishi (Name Changed) is great at taking ownership of the task and run with it until the desired result is achieved, but he lacks project management skills & awareness about quality control measure we have before delivering anything to the clients, which he is now required to learn in his new role after promotion.
I gave him constructive feedback and told him to seek the guidance of other senior team members to improve the quality of his deliverables, as this is not about learning technical tools anymore. Soft Skills are best acquired by taking guidance from experienced members in the team.
He has acted on the feedback and turned it around completely with an increased focus on comprehensive quality control procedures and proper project management tasks. He created issue trackers where short and long-term mitigation plans for each issue were created and adhered to. He started having weekly cadence calls with the clients to better understand their requirements and updating them on the project progress. His efforts have resulted in increased accuracy of his and his team’s deliverables. From that time onward he has made sure to ask for help from other people including myself in case there are some issues, and he has managed to lead projects more effectively and getting things done before deadlines.
ISB Recommendation question 4: Is there anything else we should know?
Rishi (Name Changed) is actively involved in the training and development of new team members at ZS associates. He likes takes part in mentoring other ZSers in office-level boot camps and induction sessions which have helped him groom his leadership skills.