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MIT Sloan Letter of Recommendation Questions: 2023-2024

  1. How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  2. How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
  3. Please give an example of the applicant’s impact on a person, group, or organization.
  4. Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
  5. Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.
  6. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

MIT Sloan Letter of Recommendation Example – 1

1)Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Recommended word count: 50 words) – 77 words

As an Associate Director in Deloitte India, I handle an exclusive portfolio of clients in the real estate sector. I have known Soham for more than two years and he used to be my direct report from 2018 to early 2020.  

2)How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Recommended word count: 500 words)

I believe two of Soham’s major strengths which make him stand apart from other individuals at his level are perseverance and ability to adapt.

The real estate practice that I lead, comprises mostly small and medium enterprise developers with unorganised business operations. Most of the time, we have to interact directly with the owners and CEOs of these companies. In my projects, Soham had to not only execute but also directly manage the expectations of these business owners. Initially we faced hurdles setting our foot in the real estate practice in eastern India and there were frequent mismatches between our deliverables and clients’ expectations. But, Soham patiently listened to our clients’ feedback and reworked on a lot of deliverables which often meant working 17-18 hours a day. He introduced a practice of holding regular meetings with the owners to course-correct our project on a real time basis. As a result of his efforts, we were able to establish a strong presence in this sector and almost double our billings within a year. These engagements showed me Soham’s true capabilities to handle tough clients and be extremely persevering in the face of adversity.

Further, Soham has an exceptional ability to adapt and thrive in difficult situations. Before Soham joined my team, he was working mostly on projects in the mining sector and had no idea about real estate or construction. He had to lead a team of architects and civil engineers and it’s to his credit he adapted quickly to the new experience. Notably, he adapted through attending regular technical seminars and directly interacting with the civil engineers and labourers on-site to understand the process of construction. He also learnt about the technical aspects of construction from his team members and taught them the financial and operational aspects in return. 

As a result, in a very short span of three months, he got a firm grip on all the business processes and identified major operational gaps such as inaccurate material planning, incorrect process of recording material consumption and inventory management. His ability to learn so quickly really impressed me and on top of learning he provided solutions to improve these processes which resulted in savings of around 1.5 million USD within a year.

3)Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Recommended word count: 500 words)

The one weakness that I observed in Soham and I have provided feedback on is his deep sense of ownership which at times leads to self-blame and the inability to delegate work for quicker and more efficient output. 

In the initial days of our entry into the real estate sector in east India, we faced a lot of hurdles in terms of understanding our clients’ expectations and restructuring their unorganised business processes. Naturally, this led to an initial resistance from the promoters of these companies and our recommendations were often not in line with their vision. This is a normal scenario that occurs when venturing into a new sector or group of clients.

However, faced with criticism from clients, Soham’s natural approach led him to take on all the re-work and blame. As a result, he developed a narrow vision where he failed to delegate work to his team members. This became detrimental to our projects because he failed to adhere to timelines for the sake of quality, resulting in increased project costs. We had multiple chats about this and Soham took my feedback in a positive manner.

He was able to relax his outlook towards situations significantly which led him being able to take on more work by systematic delegation and assignment of responsibilities. He has also taken a well-deserved break in recent times to go on a vacation with family, the first leave he has taken in the last 12 months that I have worked with him. I am confident with proper mentoring and guidance he will further improve as a leader in this area.

4)Are you in a position to know whether the applicant is sponsored for the MBA by his or her current employer? If so, please comment.

Soham has launched his own ed-tech startup where he’s working full time now. So, I’m not in a position to answer this.

5)Is there anything else we should know? (Optional)

In my team, Soham was the in-house expert on real estate and used to lead a team of six consultants in various projects of mine. His competence led to a strong foothold for Deloitte in the real estate segment in eastern India; this also led me to depute Soham on several of my international clients as well. I believe his international experiences have shaped him as a holistic individual who has the potential of being a future leader. I also believe his decision to work full-time on his startup was a calculated risk and displayed commendable maturity on his part. I’m confident that Yale SOM will present a conducive environment to develop his business skills and act as a stepping stone in his entrepreneurship journey.

Client Testimonials

MIT Sloan Letter of Recommendation Example – 2

1)Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Recommended word count: 50 words) – 86 words

I met Soham in 2017 when he interviewed for the role of an Analyst in Deloitte. After I hired Soham, he indirectly reported to me in his first project for one of the leading global manufacturing companies. After that, we worked together on multiple projects for about three years. 

2)How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Recommended word count: 500 words)

In his first project at one of the leading clients for Deloitte, Soham went against the traditional approach of increasing manpower and suggested automating the implementation of our recommendations through the use of a machine learning tool called Alteryx. This out of the box recommendation and successful implementation of machine learning caught my eye and since then I have taken keen interest in Soham’s inputs and his contribution to our projects. After working with him for more than 3 years, I think he is really good at thinking outside the box to come up with innovative solutions.

Since Soham was the only one in the team with knowledge of both machine learning and operational risk, he was made the principal co-ordinator between the Risk Advisory and Data Analytics teams in this project. This also resulted in a sustainable model which was implemented later in other similar projects as well. Soham’s out of the box and innovative thought process has been a major asset to our team, which also sets him apart from his peers.

Further, I think Soham’s ability to empathise with his teammates sets him apart as a remarkable leader as compared to his peers. There was an instance where one of his team members who had recently joined Deloitte, was not performing well and we were considering assigning him to less complex projects. However, Soham asked me to hold his transfer for a couple of months and took it upon himself to train him and improve his performance. Soham used to personally mentor him and even take him to his meetings with owners in order to give him a feel about the clients’ expectations. 

During this person’s Chartered Accountancy final exams, Soham gladly offered to take on his share of work which would allow him to take a leave even though it meant that Soham had to put in additional hours over and above his regular 15-16 hours a day. Soham’s efforts made a considerable difference in the person’s attitude towards work and his performance also improved such that we didn’t need to replace him. This personal involvement and mentoring engagement really showed me how good of a team lead Soham is and how well he takes care of his own team.

3)Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Recommended word count: 500 words)

Initially, when Soham joined Deloitte, my team and I felt that he was a straight shooter and not very polished in his interactions with clients. He came across as very non diplomatic when he tried to enforce recommendations on projects instead of convincing the client and team or taking them in his confidence. After a couple of meetings at one of our major clients where I could not assist Soham, I got the feedback that Soham needs to develop a diplomatic approach towards his interactions with senior management of clients and this is one area where we have worked a lot in the last few years. 

I think there is still some room for Soham to improve his communication and diplomatic skills as he grows further in his professional career. 

I had a conversation with Soham regarding this and decided to train him in these subtle soft skills. I started taking him to many of my client meetings and business development pitches. Soham, being a keen observer, picked up these skills quite fast and developed a diplomatic approach in his client interactions. In fact, he has successfully led multiple client meetings since then and even has a great rapport with the senior management of our clients.

In fact, we owe a great part of our success in establishing our presence in real estate and renewable energy sectors due to Soham’s wonderful conversation skills and focus on building client relationships in a balanced and diplomatic manner. Soham has shown a remarkable transformation since his initial days in Deloitte and I believe that with age and more maturity, he will further improve in this regard.

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