Kellogg Letter of Recommendation Questions
- Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging of others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values. (300 words)
- How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
- Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)
- Is there anything else you would like us to know? (Optional)
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Kellogg Letter of Recommendation Example – 1
1)Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values (300 words)
I believe I saw Willing living the values of inclusivity and encouraging others when he expressed his desire and shared an idea on how he wanted to improve digital literacy in the Philippines.
When he was invited to speak about digital marketing and the future of business and tech in his Alma mater, he realized that students lacked the knowledge to be competitive in a world powered by technology. To support his desire, I connected him to the Internet and Marketing Mobile Association of the Philippines, where he led the digital academy arm. He led a team of diverse talents from the internet industry like Google, Twitter, Lazada, Shopee, and Tiktok–people who were older than him.
While working with strong personalities who had different agendas, he told me about pushbacks and compromises. Some aren’t willing to hold masterclasses, some would push for a more Google-heavy curriculum, and some would prefer coaching students only in the capital cities rather than the rural provinces. While trying to overcome all these conflicts, He ensured that the program has a holistic curriculum and masterclasses which were accessible across all cities and provinces of the Philippine Islands. Will stood up to ensure the inclusion of students from rural provinces as they would benefit the most.
The program was a success. It was rated positively by the students and the university partners across the islands, so it was replicated again the following year. His love for education, especially to underserved communities, is truly admirable and makes me confident that Will, as an individual, cares about inclusivity irrespective of societal and cultural divides and will always encourage others to do that same.
2)How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples (300 words)
In my team what made WIll stand out from other well qualified individuals were his data-driven and people-centric leadership qualities. I remember how he managed to transform the business of a retail conglomerate client by influencing c-levels with his data Analysis skills.
Robinsons Retail Group is one of the largest retail chains in the Philippines owning thousands of physical stores. During the pandemic, their sales and foot traffic declined as shoppers turned to e-commerce. Will saw this as an opportunity to convince the client to invest in e-commerce and for Meta to become the technology partner of choice.
He did market research to size the opportunity and looked at historical e-commerce industry data to compute projections. After crafting a pitch deck highlighting the opportunity and our offering, he presented it to the client’s leadership team. While c-levels team were quite excited based on the data will presented, but they were not confident to invest and had questions about how e-comm operations and marketing work. Will actively listened and inferred that they needed a prescriptive step-by-step plan to convince investments for unfamiliar territory. He pivoted his approach to a fully guided e-commerce marketing and operations plan.
He worked with partner managers to check which e-commerce developers and advertising agencies could help the client closely. After completing a holistic plan, he presented it to the client and assured them of Meta’s support from strategy to execution. This was appreciated and approved for investment and implementation. This started Robinsons Retail’s e-commerce journey. Will quadrupled the client’s advertising investments and gained their trust for succeeding programs. Having a traditional retailer embrace technology and transform their business was truly a remarkable impact.
In my years of experience working with solution managers, I’m very impressed with how he pushed the bar higher.
3)Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)
When it comes to critical feedback, Will proactively seeks feedback which allows him to accelerate his growth while building strong relationships. However, he tends to avoid tough conversations if it’s his turn to share honest feedback with his cross-functional partner who isn’t delivering good outputs. His immediate reaction is to cover for the gaps of his peers as he believes it to be easier.
I remember a time when his marketing partner was delivering sub-par marketing analysis, which wasn’t helpful for the business case that he was building. Rather than sharing critical feedback, he asked for the raw data and did the analysis himself. I shared that while it was faster, the problem would recur in the future. He is also not giving his colleague the opportunity to grow and improve.
I saw how Will took this feedback seriously when he asked for my guidance on how to approach giving direct feedback. He immediately prepared and booked a call with his marketing partner to have the tough conversation. He told me how appreciative his partner was for the honest exchange.
Although his marketing partner still delivered poor outputs occasionally, I saw how Will changed his approach. He would give prescriptive guidance on which data needs to be gathered and how to tell a better story from the numbers. I saw how he would go beyond sharing feedback when he started coaching his partner on how to be an effective data storyteller.
Kellogg Letter of Recommendation Example – 2
1)Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values. (300 words)
Arpit’s natural talent to engage technical and non-technical teams alike and his skill to make diverse stakeholders feel respected has been a key to success for all the projects he has delivered here at Ancestry.
One of the main reasons behind the success of ‘Social Network Analysis’ project was Arpit’s extraordinary ability to create a diverse, talented team. Arpit ensured that the individual contributors in the task force hailed from different business backgrounds and had complementary technical skills. To source volunteers for this initiative, he was able to get product analytics, product management, and data science teams excited about his project. I observed Arpit setting up weekly meetings with technical stakeholders to track progress and openly discuss different approaches to solving the problem. He encouraged all members to share their views, criticism, and concerns from a technical and business standpoint. Arpit then incorporated this collective knowledge into his project deliverables and milestones. To get a 360 degree view, Arpit posted latest updates to the leadership on internal messenger and got their strategic feedback on his deliverables.
During this project, Arpit also onboarded our international contractors to Ancestry’s tools and systems and has since mentored them to master their technical skills and knowledge of Ancestry’s business. Whenever they faced roadblocks, Arpit quickly stepped in to unblock their progress by creating product mocks or writing sample code. To inspire them to work diligently on his projects, he always conducted detailed research, assembled technical resources, and created elaborate project plans before assigning any work to the contractors to show leadership by example. Arpit even patiently worked with a contractor to align his path to his short-term career goals and coached him to grow his technical skills. Arpit’s skills to inspire, unblock, and empathize with his colleagues and subordinates speaks volumes about his future potential as a successful leader.
Arpit’s drive to deliver excellence while empowering others on projects he owns is the reason he stands out from other analysts at his level of seniority.
2)How does a candidate’s performance compare to those of other well qualified individuals in similar roles ? Please provide specific examples. (300 Words)
In the last 8 months, I have witnessed Arpit’s passion to truly understand user concerns, his extraordinary problem-solving skills, and his ability to convince the leadership team to lead highly impactful, interdisciplinary projects. Arpit is clearly among the top 5% of product analysts and data scientists I have managed in my career.
Within 2 months of joining Ancestry, Arpit collaborated with cross-functional teams to identify major issues with data infrastructure that powered Ancestry’s most important metric. Upon informing affected business and technical stakeholders, Arpit collaborated with engineering, data delivery, and product teams to create a robust data pipeline infrastructure. This resulted in a massive 15% improvement in data accuracy. He exceeded expectations by leading our international contractors to create an alerting system to flag future data failures to a team of 11 analysts. Arpit’s forensic eye and troubleshooting ability combined with his extraordinary collaboration skills has provided us with a system that now guards all our statistical tests covering over 3.5M users and we have since identified and resolved 4 major data bugs.
After getting the data infrastructure in place, Arpit noticed that there was a need to increase user engagement in our messaging domain. In the following 2 weeks, Arpit created and presented a project proposal on ‘Social Network Analysis’ to our Sr. Director and VP. Using his excellent communication skills, he tied this project’s importance to one of the three company goals and immediately convinced leadership of the importance of identifying and targeting influential Ancestry users. Arpit then presented his elaborate project plan with milestones and deadlines to the cross-functional teams, built consensus, and recruited volunteers, all within a week. Arpit used his intellectual rigor to guide data scientists and product analysts to tailor generic statistical models to Ancestry’s use case. He then tirelessly worked with marketing department and product managers to deliver product improvements. Arpit’s passion to decode user insights, intellectual potential, and ability to galvanize others into action resulted in a colossal 300% improvement in messaging user engagement.
Due to his efforts, Arpit received ‘Pioneer relentlessly’ recognition within 7 months of joining Ancestry. I very strongly recommend him to the MBA program at Kellogg.
3)Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given to the candidate. Please detail the circumstance and the applicant’s response. (250 Words)
The most important piece of feedback I gave Arpit was to prioritize having an initial proof of concept out instead of striving for the perfect solution from the very beginning. For example, while creating the data alerting system Arpit had originally proposed to create an intuitive user interface for the team. I noticed that his willingness to create the perfect interface delayed the project by 3 weeks as he and his team struggled to navigate the complicated code production challenges.
I gave Arpit feedback in our weekly meeting that he was striving for perfection for a problem that did not require it, and that he should prioritize getting the proof-of-concept out first rather than attempting to deliver the whole project all at once. Arpit graciously took this feedback and then acknowledged that he was focusing too obsessively on one aspect of the project. He then asked for my guidance to help him improve his prioritization skills using some of my previous projects as examples. We spent the next 2 meetings discussing my projects and soon he reprioritized the project deliverables by steering the contractors to implement the building blocks of the project and get the alerts prototype out. He also took an extra step to schedule meetings with analysts to receive specific feedback on relevance and accuracy of the prototype.
He took this learning to the ‘Social Network Analysis’ project where he guided the team to iterate on working prototypes by receiving stakeholder feedback instead of getting fixated on producing a polished, final analysis from the very beginning.
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