Wharton Letter of Recommendation Questions
How long and in what capacity have you known the candidate? (No word limit)
If this is a work-related reference, in what position is/was the candidate employed and for how long? (No word limit)
What do you consider to be the candidate’s principal strengths/talents? (No word limit)
What do you consider to be the candidate’s weaknesses or areas that need improvement? (No word limit)
Wharton Letter of Recommendation Example-1
1)Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will meaningfully contribute to the Wharton MBA community. (Word count: 300)
During Pavani’s tenure in Parexel, she exhibited great qualities of a successful leader and regularly went way beyond her role as a financial analyst.
To quote one specific instance where the company was on the verge of losing one of its critical clients. We were not meeting our client’s expectations in reporting that they wanted. Our challenge was with the client’s new reporting requirements which came halfway in between the project. We had already completed 50% of the work based on previous requirements. After finishing 50% of the work, a new task with retrospective changes seemed almost impossible. The client was not happy and actively pushed to drastically reduce the scope of a contract.
Although Pavani was new to the team, she volunteered to help. She identified the root cause & came up with a structured approach to resolve this. She worked tirelessly with a large team & then made the SAP team fully prepared to make few changes in the report setup. She also ensured that the client received regular progress updates, reassuring them of our commitment. The responsiveness made the client calmer and helped us get more time as a result of this approach. After a successful collaboration with different teams, it was a relief that we could deliver the report as per client’s requirements & the project was approved to continue, with the possibility of more work in the future.
Based on her work on this project, I was really impressed and I believe Pavani is an outstanding teammate with exemplary team spirit and leadership skills. I am sure she will bring incredible values and a great attitude to any program. It is her team spirit which makes me believe that Pavani would be a great addition to the Wharton Community.
2)Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success throughout their career. (Word count: 300)
I met Pavani when she was new to Parexel. Since that day I have seen her career been on a steadily upward path. I have seen her grow from a nervous individual too shy to speak up in a meeting into a level-headed team leader, best performer, and a creative brainstormer.
There were numerous situations where Pavani stood out as a best performer. She has a very positive persona that brings the best in people around her.
There was a situation where we were transitioning from ASC 605 to 606 revenue recognition methodology & moving to a new financial system. During that phase, the team had tight deadlines where everybody’s bandwidth was full. At that peak time, a tenured teammate discontinued work due to personal reasons. We scheduled a quick meeting & wrapped the call after the announcement of his discontinuation in the team. In the background we were struggling to find an alternative to finish his portion of work for the projects he was assigned with. To our surprise, within 30 minutes of our above stated meeting, Pavani came up with a team of 5 & shared a plan on how they can support us. Awestruck by her swift action, I gave a green signal to her plan. By working a few extra hours & with proper guidance & support from Pavani, the entire team managed to finish the work within deadline which created a positive environment in the workplace.
Pavani is serious minded & highly motivated when it comes to career & she has a clear idea of what she wants to accomplish professionally. With her constant learning desire, I strongly believe that she will be successful in her future endeavors.
3)Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (500 words)
In terms of constructive feedback, a few weeks into Adebowale’s onboarding with the company, I remember he struggled to manage his schedule. I realize this was mostly because he had not fully considered how much time he needed to begin to fully grasp the intricacies of an IT company’s operations. He was transitioning from an oil and gas firm and the differences in the requirements were enormous and I think he underestimated the amount of work required on a particular project. This error led him to take on too many tasks simultaneously and then requested extensions to catch up with the differences in approach required to deliver. This was especially evident when I assigned him to work on upgrading an automated billing product.
Having understood the challenges he faced were due to differences in industry approach, I addressed my observation with him. We discussed the wrong prioritization of tasks and the need to assign niche tasks to other suitable employees. I helped him redirect his focus on developing a high-level knowledge of IT concepts over time rather than immediately pursuing detailed knowledge on critical time. I took it upon myself to groom him on backlog prioritization principles. His receptiveness to this advice was very impressive. Though I understand he is keen on understanding more of the IT business, he has vastly improved his prioritization of tasks and delegation skills. These changes have visibly enhanced his ability to meet timelines and deliver superb results in a short amount of time with the company.
I am very positive that Adebowale’s interest in pursuing an MBA in the future will help him close out on some of the technology industry-specific business knowledge he needs and perfect his time-management skills, which will help him develop into a well-rounded business leader in the future.
Wharton Letter of Recommendation Example-2
1)Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will contribute meaningfully to the Wharton MBA community. (300 words)
As a former consultant, Shubhang understood business challenges and used a people-first approach to contribute in a very meaningful way to our start-ups organizational culture.
When Shubhang started at Shop 101, we were facing challenges with low employee satisfaction and high attrition. He initiated discussions with function heads which helped him understand some of the challenges we had in our work processes. He also conducted a companywide survey to identify the cause from employee perspective. We found that employees felt our performance management system and grading culture was very subjective. This incongruity between performance & compensation was the root cause of low employee engagement and thereby low productivity. Shubhang immediately took steps to conceptualize a metric-driven PMS and held sessions with the leadership team, functional heads, and employees to familiarise them with it. The team also prepared distinct handbooks for managers and employees to alleviate their apprehensions with the revamped PMS. After successful implementation, we re-surveyed our employees & observed an increase in employee engagement and productivity.
Shubhang’s ability to communicate and collaborate across teams helped him deliver positive outcomes beyond his functional domain. By collaborating with the social media team, he solved a common business and HR challenge. Our social media strategy – primarily focused on customer acquisition. He recommended a revamped strategy and broadened the team’s scope, improving customer engagement which enhanced our employer brand in the job market. With this, we got a broad hiring pool and an increased job acceptance ratio as well.
His collaboration and propensity to go beyond his functional boundaries made him unique and a valuable asset. It is these skills which makes me believe that Shubhang can contribute meaningfully to the Wharton community as well.
2)Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success throughout their career. (300 words)
After working with Shubhang, I have seen how dedicated Shubhang is to his career and how hard he works to achieve success and the two unique qualities that help him succeed are – inclusive leadership & an outcome-driven approach.
At Shop101, Shubhang was instrumental in creating an inclusive work environment. He was concerned with the low percentage of women employees in sales. Upon discussions with sales leadership, he discovered that women employees were uncomfortable with extended working hours in the office. They preferred leaving office by sundown to cater to their domestic responsibilities. He realized an ‘invisible filter’ was applied that prevented women salespeople from being hired, thereby creating a systemic inequity.
Shubhang solved this problem by analyzing the performance of women salespeople. Since many of Shop101’s clients are female, women salespeople could establish rapport faster despite fewer working hours, and their performance was comparable to that of men. He ran a pilot to provide flexibility to all salespeople to work from home after office hours. During the pilot, revenues increased because women performed better, and their attrition reduced. All the stakeholders benefited by developing an inclusive environment, and we removed the systemic inequity against women.
Shubhang’s outcome-driven approach has helped Shop101 scale up dramatically. During a CXO roundtable, leaders were given specific tasks to support the scale-up process. The mandate given to Shubhang was to increase technology and product hiring. Shubhang used multiple levers to ramp up hiring, including conducting hackathons, job fairs, and enhancing social media presence. Furthermore, after discussing with heads of the category management team, he restructured their roles and responsibilities to drive the growth of private labels, thereby driving NMV. To achieve the outcome, he went beyond the given mandate and created interventions across functions to support our growth phase.
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