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Mannheim Recommendations

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Mannheim Letter of Recommendation Questions 2023-24

  1. Letter of recommendation

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Mannheim Letter of Recommendation Example – 1

1. How long have you known the candidate? Define your relationship with the candidate and the circumstances whereby you met.

I met Naira (Name Changed) at a health innovation conference in 2015. Later that year, an opportunity opened up at my company, and I thought she would be a good fit. I shared the job posting; she applied and was hired on.

I currently work as a Lead on a Project Management Team with Insync, I have worked here for over twelve years. In my role, I manage the Project Management Team and Naira (Name Changed) reported directly to me for 2 years until she resigned and started her own business in 2018. She has great relationships with our clients and we value her expertise so I continue to delegate projects to her even now.

2. Comment on the candidate’s career progress to date and his/her career focus?

I believe Naira (Name Changed) is genuinely passionate about the field of healthcare, and when we met, she was considering a shift from academia into healthcare consulting. I was intrigued by her drive and enthusiasm so we kept in touch and I tried to recruit her to our company.

Her previous experience in medical research along with her passion for improving healthcare made her a perfect fit for our company. Switching industries isn’t easy. Consulting is quite different than working in a research lab but Naira (Name Changed) has risen to every challenge and thrived. She went from managing 2-3 US projects in the first couple of months as a contractor to managing 4-6 global projects at any given time. Towards the end of her full-time employment at Insync, Naira (Name Changed) began working alongside our VPs on some of our toughest projects. Additionally, during this 2-year streak, Naira (Name Changed) spearheaded several great initiatives to improve efficiency and communication in the company. Currently, as a freelance project manager, she is one of our most reliable partners, and I trust her to delegate even the most complex projects.

Her career in healthcare consulting has taken off since transitioning from medical research and I feel that her decision to apply to such an intense and diverse MBA program as INSEAD’s is perfectly timed. This program will provide her with knowledge and expertise that will allow her to push her career to the next level.

3. What do you consider to be the candidate’s major strengths? Comment on the factors that distinguish the candidate from other individuals at his/her level.

I believe, Naira (Name Changed) is a meticulous planner. I think this is an important quality in a leader – to understand the challenges you may face and to make contingency plans to overcome them. I have observed Naira (Name Changed) build incredibly detailed action plans over the years and her methodical approach has never failed to impress me. Because of her ability to foresee and plan for shortcomings, her efficiency is consistently above average.

Another outstanding quality that Naira (Name Changed) possesses is her willingness to take on difficult tasks. One example is when Naira (Name Changed) volunteered to pilot new project management software we were planning to adapt for our company. I, along with another director, had been looking for a project manager to take on the challenge for quite some time. All of our other staff were unable to take on the demanding nature of this task in addition to their ongoing projects. Despite being a new staff member, Naira (Name Changed) was not intimidated; she was instead excited and invigorated by the prospect of being involved in establishing a new system of managing projects and getting to people in other departments.

She comprehensively documented failures, learning, and provided recommendations to the senior management team every step of the way. As a result, we were able to successfully implement the software which provided a more fine-tuned and efficient workflow across departments. This allowed us to spend more time supporting the needs of clients and ultimately improve our profit margin.

Her attention to detail throughout the pilot was unparalleled, and compared to others at her level she took a great amount of initiative to see this difficult task through. What distinguishes Naira (Name Changed) from her colleagues is her ability to engage at all levels of the process, a quality that is paramount for successful leadership.

4. What do you consider to be the candidate’s major weaknesses?

One weakness that I saw manifesting early in Naira’s (Name Changed) career was her tendency to delay asking for help when she ran into roadblocks. Naira (Name Changed) is a competent worker and problem solver, but I observed her exhausting her internal capacity to problem solve and still wait before reaching out for help. During a one-on-one meeting, I discussed connecting to the resources around her and was pleased to note that since that meeting, she has made much more of an effort to speak with senior managers about her project needs.

As a project manager, Naira (Name Changed) does a stupendous job at mitigating risks and resolving issues. However, there have been times when I would like her to take more time before jumping on the first idea and solution, especially in a time of urgent crisis. During one project, I explained to Naira (Name Changed) that it is sometimes important to take a step back even when you think you know the issue at hand. Not only was Naira (Name Changed) able to handle that feedback well, but she has also shown me and the team how much she has grown. She now obliges herself and her team to take stock of the situation before making a decision. As a result of this additional time spent on review and research, Naira (Name Changed) was able to identify some gaps in our processes and improved them.

5. Comment on the candidate’s potential for senior management. Do you see him/her as a future leader?

I think Naira’s (Name Changed) confidence in disrupting the status quo with her innovative ideas will launch her into successful senior management positions in the future. An example of a time when her leadership skills really shone was when she was able to identify how our company could increase profit margins on some projects while improving our cost-competitiveness on proposals.

Our business was growing and our services were becoming more multifaceted and complex. Our budgeting models were designed for more simplistic service offerings, and we were struggling not only to reconcile our profitability at year-end but also to take into account resource hours on new services. Considering these challenges and the problems she had identified, Naira (Name Changed) took the initiative to work with the finance team. They reformulated the financial models to properly link them to our expanding service offering.

The majority of our team members including Naira (Name Changed), do not have an accounting background, but she was able to work with them to understand the overall challenges of integrating the new services and to build tools that would be intuitive and easy to use. This process that she undertook saved us a tremendous amount of time at the end of every project and also serves as an integral part of our current processes. From a business standpoint, by identifying gaps in the way we planned our budgets, the new system allows us to offer more cost-competitive proposals and increase profit on our new services. This exemplifies not only Naira’s (Name Changed) ability to disrupt the status quo but also her creativity.

The fact that Naira (Name Changed) has advanced so quickly to reach this level in her career tells me that picking up new skills and rising through the ranks in her chosen field will not be difficult for her. But it is her soft skills, be it leading teams or building bridges between different departments, that allows me to visualize her as a business leader of the future.

6. 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.

As a team member, Naira (Name Changed) is an incredibly empathic person who others can always count on. We partnered her with another project manager on a very complex, high pressure multi-phase global project. Just two weeks after the project was launched, the other project manager had family issues and had to take a month off work.

As the leader of the team, knowing the difficulty of the project, I asked if Naira (Name Changed) would like to have another project manager assist her. She recognized that her co-worker was going through a very challenging time and that her other team members were preoccupied as it was Q4. Naira’s (Name Changed) wanted to do her best to accommodate the needs of the team and suggested that she take the project on by herself. She reassured me that she would circle back if she needed any help. She approached it with an open mind and a can-do attitude. It was a very challenging task, but she brought in fresh ideas to help her successfully carry the project to completion. The client was very happy with Naira’s (Name Changed) performance and even requested that she be the manager on all future projects.

In my role as Project Management Lead, I am ultimately accountable for the success of each and every project, including those we outsource. Naira (Name Changed) is my first choice to partner with because I know she will get the job done well on any project I give her, no matter how challenging. And truthfully, my only hesitation in writing this letter is the loss that we would bear should she decide to move on. That said, I fully appreciate and support her in this evolution. We can only hope that as she grows, Naira (Name Changed) will in some way continue to work with our organization.

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Mannheim Letter of Recommendation Example – 2

1. How long have you known the candidate? Define your relationship with the candidate and the circumstances whereby you met.

I have had the privilege of working with Naira (Name Changed) since June 2016. In 2016, she joined my previous employer, “In-sync Strategy”, a healthcare consulting firm within Publicis Health Global. We were both members of In-sync’s Project Management team, which involved managing project scopes, logistics, budgets, and timelines.

I have closing observed Naira’s (Name Changed) career path during the last three years while working directly with her for almost two years. Our working relationship began with me in a supervisory role in a project management capacity. This later evolved to working alongside one another as she became a more senior staff member.

I left In-sync in late 2017 to pursue a new position as Project Management Lead for Fresh Squeezed Ideas (FSI). After moving to my new position, I still work with Naira’s (Name Changed) as a freelance project management partner on various projects. Through FSI, she provides services to our clients in healthcare, technology and FMCG domain.

2. Comment on the candidate’s career progress to date and his/her career focus?

When Naira (Name Changed) joined us directly from a position in an academically-focused setting but she quickly adapted to a very fast-paced, high-pressured, demanding work culture on a consulting firm. With a desire to succeed, she demonstrated her ability to learn quickly by fully immersing herself in the industry and consistently delivering excellent results despite the challenging work environment.

Within 6 months of joining, Naira (Name Changed) was promoted to a full-time position. While she continued to learn and excel on individual projects as a permanent employee, she also positively impacted In-sync internally by taking on company-wide initiatives that directly improved company culture. After 2 years at In-sync, Naira (Name Changed) successfully built her own professional network and was able to utilize her skills to launch her own project management practice.

While I know Naira (Name Changed) has enjoyed the challenge of building her own business, she may be reaching a plateau as a project manager. The nature of project management work is more operational and involves less strategy and direct problem solving for clients, something I know Naira (Name Changed) is particularly enthusiastic about. Without an MBA, it would take her years of experience to acquire the business knowledge and skills to make this career transition.

I believe that an MBA at INSEAD would allow her to not only expedite that career shift, but would also allow her to gain worldwide recognition and experiences invaluable for a global career in healthcare consulting.

3. What do you consider to be the candidate’s major strengths? Comment on the factors that distinguish the candidate from other individuals at his/her level.

One of Naira’s (Name Changed) greatest strengths is her ability to remain composed when faced with challenges. One notable occasion where Naira (Name Changed) demonstrated her composure is when she was working on a high-profile strategy consulting project to re-position the branding of a popular international drug. A senior executive of In-sync led this project because of its scale and importance to the company. Through the course of this project, Naira (Name Changed) identified that the project team was scheduled to interview the wrong stakeholders because of a miscommunication between the senior executive and the client. Had this occurred, the entire project would have been derailed, costing the client and the company thousands of dollars. Naira (Name Changed) promptly raised the issue with the senior executive, and came prepared with several creative solutions to address the issue. As the senior executive became increasingly concerned, Naira (Name Changed) stepped up and offered to take on the necessary actions to fix the problem and get the project on track. During this high-pressure challenge, she remained remarkably calm and stayed focused on the solution, not the problem.

Another thing that sets Naira (Name Changed) apart from her colleagues is her entrepreneurial tendencies. This led her to recognize the demand for project management services within our industry and she seized the opportunity to build her own freelance project management business. She built a successful business from scratch by networking to find potential clients. In fact, within months of starting my new role at Fresh Squeezed Ideas, Naira (Name Changed) reached out to me to learn about our business and how she could utilize her skills as a freelance project manager to best support our company and drive our business forward. Naira’s (Name Changed) ability to take such initiative has enabled her to not only grow and maintain a successful freelance business but also helped us in growing our business.

Therefore, after working with Naira (Name Changed) for 2 years, I believe her principal strengths are her entrepreneurial mindset and her ability to maintain composure in difficult times. This speaks to how well she would handle challenges during a condensed MBA program and in her future career as a healthcare consultant.

4. What do you consider to be the candidate’s major weaknesses?

There is no doubt that Naira (Name Changed) is a good team player. Whenever there is a problem with someone else’s project, Naira (Name Changed) will jump in and try to help with solutions. Though this is obviously an asset for any type of team environment, this tendency has proven detrimental at times. In some cases, Naira (Name Changed) has stretched herself too thin, leading her to overwork and sacrifice her work-life balance.

I recall an instance when Naira (Name Changed) was supervising a junior project manager on a relatively complex project was falling behind on project work because of constantly changing objectives. Rather than setting stern expectations and reporting this to our Project Management Team Lead, Naira (Name Changed) tried to problem-solve for the junior, which left her with little capacity to do her other project work within the 9-5 workday.

She eventually confided in me that she had been working every evening and weekend. I encouraged her to speak with our manager because not being able to properly assess a team member’s performance could lead to an uneven distribution of work and potential resentment amongst the team. Eventually, Naira (Name Changed) discussed her challenges with the senior management team in a way that was constructive and helpful so that they could provide more support and training to our junior managers.

In my position, I’ve managed many people and I’ve noticed that this is a common trend among new managers. Since then, I have seen Naira (Name Changed) take on a firmer leadership approach. I am confident that an MBA with courses in Leadership Communication or Organizational Behaviour will allow her to continue to hone her skills in this area of management.

5. Comment on the candidate’s potential for senior management. Do you see him/her as a future leader?

What makes Naira (Name Changed) a great leader is her big picture thinking and her ability to bring people together to work toward a common goal.

Naira (Name Changed) joined In-Sync, immediately after it was acquired by Publicis Health. After the acquisition, In-Sync went through multiple rounds of restructuring. Naira (Name Changed) was able to manage these periods of upheaval well while maintaining and demonstrating a positive outlook, regardless of high levels of stress and uncertainty. Together with another colleague, she started a wellness initiative where they provided yoga classes to the whole company every Friday to help bring employees together and boost morale.

On another occasion, a new timesheet process was being implemented and met with a lot of resistance. As a project-based company, timesheets allow us to accurately capture workload and therefore adjust our costing to model. This allows us to be more competitive and better manage our resources. Not only was Naira (Name Changed) able to recognize the growth potential of this change, she advocated for it and acted as a mediator to take the pressure off senior management. She has a keen awareness of the internal power dynamics and decision-making systems (formal and informal) in a company. Needless to say, she was able not only to unite cross-functional teams to work towards meeting our goals and deadlines but was also able to motivate her team.

If I must make a guess, in ten years time I envision Naira (Name Changed) as a part of a consulting company’s senior management team, excelling at complex projects, and innovating approaches to positively transform the company’s culture and bring business in the door, while also following her passion to improve the healthcare industry.

6. 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 behavior or skills in a group setting/team environment.

In my personal experience, I have greatly enjoyed working with Naira (Name Changed), and I think she would be an asset to any team.

One of Naira’s (Name Changed) major strengths is her ability to adapt to the working styles of people with diverse backgrounds. She is tolerant and patient with team members, despite potential differences and areas of friction. I believe this is because she makes an effort to observe and understand the people she works with – their strengths, blind spots, and interests – and adjusts her working style accordingly for the ultimate success of the team.

Finally, while Naira (Name Changed) is focused on delivering results, it is evident that she cares about people beyond their role on the team. As a manager, she often makes a point to recognize every team member and acknowledge the unique contribution they bring to the table along with taking the time to provide them with constructive feedback when asked. Because of this, people genuinely enjoy working with her. In fact, she has received glowing reviews from within our company and clients, who regularly request her service.

This desire to foster strong relationships extends to her personal life as well. Naira (Name Changed) goes out of her way to help people, and it seems that she makes friends wherever she goes. In fact, over the course of her preparation in applying to INSEAD, she has developed friendships with INSEAD alumni she originally approached for informational interviews! Given what I know about Naira’s (Name Changed) willingness to jump in and help, I am convinced she would be extremely generous with her time as a student and as an INSEAD alumnus.

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