NYU Stern Letter of Recommendation Questions

 

  1. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable the applicant’s role in your organization.
  2. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles (if applicable)? Please provide some specific examples. (Eg. what are the applicant’s strengths?)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.
  4. IQ+EQ is a core value at NYU Stern, and we seek exceptional individuals who possess both intellectual and interpersonal strengths. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills such as self-awareness, empathy, communication, and self-management are at the core of our community of leaders. Please provide one specific and compelling example to demonstrate the applicant’s emotional intelligence

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NYU Stern 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.

I have known Claire (Name Changed) for the last 6 years. I first came to know Claire (Name Changed) when he attended my course on Traditional Knowledge and Values in his junior year at IIT Delhi in the year 2012. We initially interacted in the capacity of a student and professor.

But Since October 2016, we entered into a professional relationship and Claire (Name Changed) has been leading marketing and communications projects for three of my ventures – Ekam Eco Solutions (a sustainable sanitation startup), #JoyIsYou (a health & wellness startup) and Vijay Charier, my personal brand.

2. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles (if applicable)? Please provide specific examples. (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?)

I value Claire (Name Changed) as a trusted advisor on marketing and communications strategy for my businesses, because of the creative abundance he displays. He combines a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion for the people he works with, to design bespoke solutions for his clients.

As an entrepreneur myself, I regularly interact with some of the best minds in marketing, operations, and business. Claire (Name Changed) first stood out to me through his pitch for the marketing strategy for Ekam Eco in October of 2016. At the time, the business was primarily selling to other businesses and government agencies and suffered from long and slow sales cycles. Incoming requests moved faster, but we were only receiving about 10 such requests a month.

Claire (Name Changed) made interesting recommendations to generate more interest in Ekam’s business using online channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Medium. More importantly, his recommendations reflected an astute understanding of the business’s purpose and value proposition to the market. As opposed to most other proposals that I received from marketing agencies, Claire (Name Changed)’s recommendations felt more authentic and were in line with sustainability values that were core to our business at Ekam.

I’m proud that I decided to delegate Ekam’s marketing and communications efforts to Claire (Name Changed)’s agency. Over the course of the next 10 months, Claire (Name Changed)’s efforts helped us increase our leads to more than 100 requests every month. The communications he designed for Ekam demonstrated a keen insight into the emotional needs and desires of our prospects and target audience. The publication that Claire (Name Changed) helped us set up, consistently brings in quality leads every month, on some of the blogs we wrote way back in 2017. He was an obvious choice when we needed help to sell our latest line of natural cleaning products, beginning late last year.

3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

Claire (Name Changed) wears the hat of a deep thinker very successfully and his analytical abilities are certainly his great strength. At times, however, I have seen him be reticent in expressing his feelings and thoughts, owing to a minor obsession with perfection.

I noticed this first when we were working on brand communication for #JoyIsYou late in 2017. Claire (Name Changed) meticulously recorded in-person conversations with my team as well as a workshop session to fully capture the brand’s message. In one of the follow-up calls, I felt stress in Claire (Name Changed)’s voice. When I asked him about it, he mentioned that he was indeed finding it hard to reconcile some of the contradictions he sensed in the messaging. When I offered to help him through the contradictions, Claire (Name Changed) responded, “Let me be sure about them before I share with you”. A couple of minutes further into the call, I realized that his reticence was rooted in the desire to prepare well for any criticism that may come his way.

I could see this tendency blocking his creative energies and I didn’t want to let this pass by. Over the next few weeks, I coached Claire (Name Changed) into being more vulnerable. I advised him to separate himself from the criticism and instead focus on the critics’ best intentions. Claire (Name Changed) accepted the problem right away but this isn’t an easy change for him. However, he has taken the feedback extraordinarily well and has made significant progress. In the last 12 months, however, I have seen him start a podcast and write for international publications. In a Facebook group, that we are both a part of, I have seen him interact with other members more freely on wide-ranging topics. I find more spontaneity in him and he is a much more powerful harmonization of deep analytical thinking and a natural expression of feelings.

4. IQ+EQ is a core value of NYU Stern, and we seek exceptional individuals who possess both intellectual and interpersonal strengths. Emotional intelligence (EQ) skills such as self-awareness, empathy, communication, and self-management are at the core of our community of leaders. Please provide one specific and compelling example to demonstrate the applicant’s emotional intelligence.

This goes back to December 2016 when I had an urgent requirement to re-design my official webpage. I needed it done in a manner that would accurately reflect two decades of my adventures in the domains of sustainability, self-discovery, and startups. It was a challenging project in which many technically competent firms had been unable to deliver.

By this time, Claire (Name Changed) had already been working with me at Ekam for two months where I highly appreciated his inputs. Upon my request, Claire (Name Changed) delivered an amazing website that met all my stated, as well as unstated needs. This is a testament to the emotional intelligence he possesses in more ways than one.

He delivered the website in a very short timeline, and on a limited budget. I’d imagine it required a high level of self-discipline on his part to deal with those pressures and still listen deeply to my story. His presence in meetings was “total”. I appreciate that he made it a point to capture all the subtle aspects of my journey and translate those insights into an aesthetically beautiful website. His responses and questions while listening to my story demonstrated a degree of empathy that is built upon a solid foundation of self-awareness.

I have come to know Claire (Name Changed) better beyond this specific engagement. I find it uncommon that at his young age, Claire (Name Changed) is aware of the necessity to do the “inner work”. He has been able to harmonize it with the outer world to build a deep sense of meaning at his entrepreneurial venture. The qualities of clarity, courage, and commitment he displays, places him in a rare breed of joyous leaders who always inhabit the zone of opportunities and possibilities.

Client Testimonials

Client Testimonials

NYU Stern 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.

I know Aria (Name Changed) since 2014 as a founder of Sookshm, a consulting practice to help small and medium enterprises in operations management and supply chain. In my role as a mentor, I advised Aria (Name Changed) and his team on 8 consulting projects and diverse areas related to business management over the course of 18 months.

2. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles (if applicable)? Please provide specific examples. (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?)

Aria (Name Changed) stands out from his peers for his sense of integrity. On one hand, this quality shows in everyday behavior, like being punctual for meetings. On the other, it lends Aria (Name Changed) the courage of his convictions that is best exemplified from this case from early 2015.

Aria (Name Changed)’s team was consulting a $50M garment export house on driving operational improvements and had successfully saved 15% in operating expenses in the first two months of the engagement. He believed that redistributing these savings among the line staff, as a token of appreciation and an incentive to do better, will positively motivate them for the long term, bringing in sustainable improvements for the business. It is important to note that export houses tread on thin profitability and rarely compensate their line staff well, in a bid to save costs. Naturally, none of the middle managers supported Aria (Name Changed)’s recommendation.

However, Aria (Name Changed) pursued the case, believing in its merit, and convinced the client to test it on one of the four shop floors. Before rolling out the change, he developed an individual rapport with the line staff and implemented a rigorous management system that transparently displayed the daily performance of each line member. Once this system started performing reliably, he introduced ‘performance bonus’, given to the best members at the end of each day. The program was a huge success and eventually led to a 60% improvement in the firm’s bottom line over the next quarter.

3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.

Aria (Name Changed) and his team met with me every week for mentoring sessions. Early in those sessions, in February of 2014, Aria (Name Changed) mentioned that the business was struggling with scope creep on the projects, and he felt that he was leaving significant money on the table in the process. Upon probing further, I could see that he wasn’t negotiating well.

I set up Aria (Name Changed) to negotiate for a fictitious plant grown by one of his teammates who acted as the farmer. The farmer needed the plant to extract juices out of its root while Aria (Name Changed)’s interest was in the unique fruit of the plant. With half story known to each, both Aria (Name Changed) and his partners kept haggling for the entire plant, only to be disappointed when the negotiation wasn’t successful.

Aria (Name Changed) lit up when I coached him into the solution. He was quick to understand that he was not probing enough to establish a win-win scenario. He realized that he didn’t focus on his end of the bargain and was negotiating for more than was necessary. He could easily have negotiated for the fruits on the plant and let the other partner take the roots of the plant.

Aria (Name Changed) took this learning back to business. He improved the pre-sales questionnaire to understand a client’s apparent needs, as well as the nascent ones that could later creep up. He was able to unlock hidden value for the client using this process. As a result, three weeks after the initial session, Aria (Name Changed) closed a deal, valued at three times the average project ticket size that the business was raking in then. He tells me that he has also used the technique successfully in hiring people, negotiating the business exit as well as in personal life, to build more cordial and lasting relationships.

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