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Stanford Recommendations

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Stanford Letter of Recommendation Questions: 2023-2024

1. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples (e.g., what are the applicant’s principal strengths?). (Up to 500 words)
2. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Up to 500 words)
3. (Optional) Is there anything else we should know? Please be concise.

Stanford Letter of Recommendation Example-1

1. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples (e.g what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) up to 500 words

Maze (Name Changed) sets herself apart from the rest of her peers in two key areas. First, she walks the extra mile in finding solutions for complex problems. Second, she has the talent to reconcile different opinions towards a common goal.

At Huatai, we looked at a private equity investment into an optic fiber network company in Myanmar and Cambodia and the biggest concern from my risk department is the regulatory risk for frontier markets. This risk is difficult to tackle because of a lack of precedents and political instability. In addition to the detailed research on the regulatory framework of the sector for the two countries, Maze (Name Changed) provided us independent consultancy reports and organized interviews for us with the experts. She also explained to me how this particular risk is mitigated by the investment terms on the alignment of interest and upside sharing. Then she arranged for us to meet with the company’s legal counsel and founder CEO. Last but not least, she organized on-site due diligence trips for me to not only visit the company’s local management team but also the key government officials including the head of the bureau of telecom to understand the risks and issues involved fist hand.

She makes sure that the resources are shared, be it financial, legal, or commercial. This helped me tremendously in understanding her cases, and finally, I was convinced and I provided the approval on the investment on behalf of the risk team.

Her other strength as I mentioned above is the ability to reconcile differently and often contradicting opinions from various parties involved in the transaction, external or internal so that a common goal can be accomplished.  In the world of investment stakes of making compromises are high. The typical investment ratio for a growth investment (versus LBOs) platform is 1:30 (out of 30 deal being screened and negotiated, 1 deal reaches final closing).  Maze (Name Changed) joined her division upon its inception in 2014. The division, with only 3 people until 2018, screened about 40 deals a year. For 2015-2018 the team deployed over US$500mm of capital over 24 investments, with zero loss ratio. Her division is the most profitable division for the firm.

Maze (Name Changed) played a definitive role in this achievement. In all the cases she worked on, she led her team through complex situations while managing external clients, advisors, consultants, legal counsels, co-investors and various internal divisions for the investment approval process (compliance, legal, risk, finance, and operation) to ensure efficient and streamlined execution process.

2. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. Up to 500 words

The most important piece of constructive feedback I had provided to her is to learn to delegate better. Maze (Name Changed) takes ownership of every project she worked on and it is great. But I feel that she can more a more effective leader by making improvements in delegation and time management.

For example, Maze (Name Changed) and I looked at a potential investment opportunity in a hotel project located in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. She was juggling all aspects of the deal execution: reviewing the onshore and offshore legal documents and giving lawyers comments on their edits. She also chased clients on delivery of any outstanding documents, addressed questions from the investment committee, including myself, and attended to back-end operational issues. She really stretched herself by covering work on many fronts and our conversation was always rushed. So I grabbed her and gave her the advice to try and delegate work to her team members even if it meant that the junior members were pushed to go outside of their comfort zone.

Maze (Name Changed) later told me this is one of the best pieces of advice she had ever received. The secret in delegation lies not in letting things go but in planning out the entire process much more in advance and come up with the alternatives and back-up plans in advance before you can effectively assign tasks to various members in the team. I was glad to see this has now become a habit of her.  By better delegation, she can prioritize tasks at all times and better manage her own time as well as others. I personally think that this skill will enable her to move to the next stage in her career.

3. (Optional) is there anything else we should know? Please be concise

In addition, to deliver excellent results and top-quality work, Maze (Name Changed)’s division maintains a humble and collaborative team culture. As a founding member of the team, Maze (Name Changed) had a huge impact on the formation of that culture and as the team grew in size, Maze (Name Changed) made sure everyone respects the culture and contribute to it.

Client Testimonials

Stanford Letter of Recommendation Example-2

1. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples (e.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) up to 500 words

Rachel (Name Changed) stands out from her peers in the investment arena in two distinct ways: her perseverance, and her ability to instill trust and confidence in others.

Her two strengths could be best illustrated through her work on project Central that both of us worked on. In 2017, rumors came out that a large-scale grade A office building in the central area of Hong Kong island was to be put on sale by its owner. It is a rare trophy type asset in a prime location with full occupancy and strong stable rental income. Naturally, the deal attracted many investors. A few months passed by and a ton of work had been done on due diligence and terms negotiation. But because of the high demand, pricing was too high, and return on investment was too low to be attractive for my firm or Rachel (Name Changed)’s team. Finally, when the acquisition was close to being finalized, the acquisition got held up in regulatory hurdles and was nulled. But this was kept a secret from the investors.

With time Investors lost interest and the deal went cold. Another 5 months went by, One day I received a call from Rachel (Name Changed) late at night asking me if I would be interested to re-join the deal, with the hurdle resolved and a new deal in place. However, due to timing pressure investors had to obtain internal approval within one week’s time.

Because of her perseverance, she had followed that case when everyone else dropped out.  When things turned around, she was connected with the advisor, the seller and both sides trusted her commitment. She then instilled confidence in the servicing parties, such as lawyers and bankers, and brought all the parties together in making the tight deadline.

This deal turned out to be the largest transaction in Hong Kong of the year and won the “2018 Best Loan / Acquisition Financing Award” by the Asset. I strongly believe that a good investor needs to show great perseverance and trust to close some of the best deals.

2. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. Up to 500 words

Rachel (Name Changed) is a well-rounded investor in terms of skills and knowledge. But she has been a generalist in terms of her industry focus. Personally I strongly believe that an in-depth sector knowledge gives you insights and a unique edge for an investment career.  Therefore, critical feedback that I gave Rachel (Name Changed) was that she should consider sharpening her focus on one or two industries and start to accumulate sector-specific knowledge in order to grow further in her career.

Rachel (Name Changed) has taken my feedback seriously and she made conscious efforts to focus on investment projects in real estate and consumer & retail sectors. I myself have focused on real estate investments for my entire career, and she would come to me asking for advice on different deal structures and business models for real estate. And I shared with her the latest research reports as well as my personal view on trends in the sector.  By narrowing her study in this particular field, I could see that she started to build a wealth of knowledge and developed her own insight into investment in real estate.

In the past two years, she successfully led 4 real estate investments in her team in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, from growth to turnaround investments. She follows industry news,  journals, and reports and can confidently communicate with CEOs and industry insiders on their business.

3. (Optional) is there anything else we should know? Please be concise

Rachel (Name Changed) has a warm character and is someone with a lot of passion. She loves art, she loves outdoors, and she enjoys playing taxes hold’em with friends. I feel that her achievement is fundamentally driven by her intense desire to learn and to influence.

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