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WHU Otto Letters of Recommendation

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WHU Otto Letter of Recommendation Questions

  1. How long have you known the applicant? 
  2. Under what circumstances have you known the applicant? 
  3. What are the applicant’s most outstanding talents or characteristics? 
  4. What are the applicant’s chief liabilities and/or weaknesses?
  5. How does the applicant interact with others in a team setting? How often did you
    observe this?
  6. How will graduate education in management help the applicant to realize his/her
    goals?
  7. The Admissions Committee would appreciate any statement you may wish to
    make concerning the applicant’s leadership abilities.
  8. In comparison with other candidates for graduate school in management that you
    have known, how would you rate the applicant with respect to the following
    qualities? 
  • Intellectual ability
  • Maturity
  • Leadership potential 
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Written skills 
  • Oral Skills 
  • Teamwork

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WHU Otto Letter of Recommendation Example – 1

1. How long have you known the applicant?

I know Rohit since May 2017.

 2. Under what circumstances have you known the applicant?

I am holding the position as head of the Tender Management Team since May 2017. Rohit has been directly reporting to me since then. Rohit joined Siemens in August 2014 as a Graduate Trainee Engineer.

3. What are the applicant’s most outstanding talents or characteristics?

I believe one of Rohit’s principal strengths is his sincerity and ownership he takes in the bidding process.

The profile of Tender Management requires a lot of ownership as there are implications on Profits if the scope of work is incorrectly understood. Rohit understands the implications of the steps he is taking in the pricing of a particular tender. He is always very cautious and documents everything properly. He tries his level best to get all the work done and comes for my support in a few critical issues only. For ex: In one of the very complex tenders of Indian Oil Corporation Limited, there was little clarity regarding the scope of work as the tender was a Retrofit job and the tender documents were very open ended. There can be a lot of non-conforming costs if requirements are not understood clearly.  Rohit took full ownership of this tender and sincerely engaged with the customer and read all the tender documents thoroughly to understand each and every need of the client correctly. He made sure to make the agreements with all the major vendors for written confirmation about the division of responsibility to mitigate the risks. Even the client appreciated his efforts and dedication and Siemens ultimately won the tender order. For his level of experience, Rohit demonstrated excellent maturity, sincerity and cautiousness while handling this complex tender.He is very methodical and follows the Siemens Processes nicely.

Another key strength of Rohit is his excellent analytical and statistical skills. In the Tender Management profile, there are a lot of comparisons to be made regarding the prices, Competitor information, past tender results, etc. Rohit is very good at arranging all the data and analyzing the data thoroughly that can be used for better pricing. For ex: In one of the tenders of Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL), there was a very good chance of limited competition and Siemens had a chance to earn a good profit. He along with one other team member analyzed all the past data, competitor information and based on that data prepared a very good target price for this tender. Siemens managed to win the project with a difference of 8% from the second-lowest bidder and that too at a good profit.

4. What are the applicant’s chief liabilities and/or weaknesses?

Rohit has an established track record of delivering the results under his belt, which makes him the strong professional that he is today. However, I feel that in some instances he is not able to make a strong network with the tough clients leading him to be dependent on some other senior persons. This lack of networking skills maybe because he lacks understanding of the behavior of the clients and he is also only 3 years experienced in the tender management profile. Networking skill is quite important in the industry in which we work. Sometimes, he is not able to get the important information because of his weak networking skills affecting the tender he is handling.

For ex:  In one of the tenders of a client, a big transmission company of India having a big pipeline of upcoming tenders, Siemens was participating in the tender floated by that client to understand the market prices operating in the tenders of this client and to understand the competition as the customer had a huge pipeline in the next few years.

Rohit was given the task to handle this tender. I would say that he did well but somehow due to lack of his experience and lack of understanding regarding the mindset of this tough client couldn’t network well with them. I also feel that strong networking with the client leads to a better understanding of the requirement. We participated in the reverse auction but were at the end of auction 10% higher than the winner. This may be due to less confidence Rohit had in the understanding of the customer requirement as Rohit couldn’t network strongly.

Another thing I would like to discuss here is that Rohit is of a very polite and calm demeanor. He is always soft-spoken and liked by everyone in the team and other stakeholders. But sometimes, due to his polite nature, people take him lightly and for granted. This causes him to face a problem that people don’t support him on time. I feel that he should bring a change in his nature as and when required and demand strongly from the people to get his work done on time.

I have raised these concerns with him in our Employee dialogue in Dec’2018 while commending him on his dedication. He was very responsive and welcoming of my comments and I believe he has internalized this feedback because I have seen some improvement since.

5. How does the applicant interact with others in a team setting? How often did you observe this?

I believe that Rohit effectively collaborates with various stakeholders and support functions. He has to work together with various support functions such as Legal, Finance, Designing, Supply Chain Management, etc. He effectively conducts meetings with the team members and is able to make clear the accountability and ownership of the different tasks amongst various teams. I have observed that he puts in commendable efforts while collaborating and co-ordinating with stakeholders for day to day tasks.

For instance, In one of the tenders of a refinery, there was a lot of ambiguity in the battery limits of the overall scope of work especially the work of the Load Shedding System of the Refinery and the technical specifications of Load Shedding System were very open-ended. But Rohit took full ownership to get the clarity and effectively collaborated with the Siemens Load Shedding system expert with the intention that no required item is missed out and Siemens is also competitive. This perfect collaboration resulted in very good results, we were able to acquire the project of 6’0 Mil Eur.

Among his team-mates, he is always ready to support his other team members. Although, he doesn’t have any reportee but the new team members develop a good bond with him and they approach him for any doubts. Freshers in our team find him very much approachable. He doesn’t shy away from taking the guidance of his senior team members. Everyone in the team likes him for his work ethics.

6. How will graduate education in management help the applicant to realize his/her goals?

Firstly, Rohit doesn’t have global exposure to date and has worked mostly with domestic clients. I feel that in today’s time, having a global exposure is valued a lot. Markets are also getting globalized. So, I feel going to Germany and studying there can help him a lot.

Secondly, As discussed above that Rohit sometimes lacks in Networking skills. He is only 3-4 years old in this business profile. He will definitely learn from experiences and from a formal MBA program. With MBA learning, I feel that he can develop good networking skills. The courses such as Organizational Behavior, Cross -Cultural activities, and discussion, internships, group case studies, Leadership modules, industry visits, workshops, and conferences, etc shall give him ample opportunities to network, understand the perspective of different people and make him more bold and confident.

Thirdly, I strongly believe that having a holistic view is a very important trait to excel an succeed in personal and professional life. Rohit is young and I am confident that he can broaden his horizon of thinking and can develop a quality to think holistically from the MBA course. A number of activities such as Case Studies, Class room discussions, etc can help him a lot.

7. The Admissions Committee would appreciate any statement you may wish to make concerning the applicant’s leadership abilities?

Rohit is working as an Individual Contributor. He is young in the industry. Although Rohit doesn’t have any direct reports but still I strongly believe that Rohit has good leadership skills.

I have seen that whenever a new tender comes, he calls up a meeting with all the support functions and makes clear to everyone regarding his / her deliverables and time schedule. He prepares the division of responsibility to avoid conflicts and keeps on pushing the team members to deliver the best deliverables and to take full ownership of their portion of work.

For example: In one of the tenders of WBSETCL (West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Limited), that tender was our Must Win tender, There was some clause due to which Siemens was unable to participate in the tender. Rohit, as per his habit of having a full-length discussion with support functions at the start of the tender preparation found out from one team member that the issue needs to be discussed immediately with the client. So, Rohit went along with the team member to meet the customer and understand their requirement. Ultimately, the clause was relaxed and Siemens participated in the tender.

Although we lost the tender by just being 0.7% higher than the lowest bidder, Rohit showed good leadership potential through this tender. I think that this tender taught Rohit the initial lessons of Leadership.

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WHU Otto Letter of Recommendation Example – 2

1. How long have you known the applicant?

I have known Rohit (Name Changed) since October 2014.

2. In what capacity?

Rohit (Name Changed) joined Siemens as a Graduate Trainee Engineer in August 2014. He was sent as an on-site engineer in Oct 2014 to 2×67.5 MW BPPL Thermal Power Plant at Cuttack, Odisha, India, and I was the Site Manager at that time of that site.

He has also worked with me at 2x350MW MEPL Thermal Power Plant, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India. I was a site Manager there also. In total Rohit (Name Changed) has worked with me from Oct 2014 to Sept 2016. In Oct 2016, Rohit (Name Changed) got transferred to a different profile but we are in touch still now and I have a very cordial relation with him as a Mentor.

3. What do you consider the applicant’s outstanding talents?

I believe one of Rohit’s (Name Changed) principal strengths is his people handling skills.

The work of an On-Site engineer requires a lot of dealing with the Blue collared workers. There is a target to execute (Install, Test, and Commission) the project on time, properly handle material, maintain quality of execution. I have observed that Rohit (Name Changed) from starting maintained a bond with the workers and treated them respectfully and was able to get the work done from them. I also observed that Rohit (Name Changed) was liked and respected by the workers working under him.

For example: At our BPPL site, we had an Air Insulated Sub-Station to be installed, tested, and commissioned in 15 months of the time duration. The scope of work was quite exhaustive and there was tremendous pressure from the customer side as well. Rohit (Name Changed) after showing a lot of interest and learning from the complete documents, drawings were given the charge for the testing and commissioning of the substation. The Installation work of substation took a total of 13 months. To complete the testing and commissioning of the substation was a big task in just 2 months left. He engaged all the workers tied with him, held toolbox talks with them, cleared all their doubts, guided them patiently, motivated them. He along with his team of workers worked keeping the timeline in mind and finally managed to test and pre-commission the substation on time. I feel this experience gave a lot of exposure to Rohit (Name Changed) and this wouldn’t have been possible for him without the support of his workers. The client also appreciated this young guy.

Another key strength of Rohit (Name Changed) is his sincerity and ownership with which he works. The role of an on- site engineer apart from the execution of the project is also to contribute to maintaining a Good Cash Flow by getting the RA (Running Account) Bills passed from the client-side Engineer-in-charge. For eg: At our BPPL site, we had a target from the management in Nov 2015 for the cash collection of 1’5 Mil Eur by end of Dec 2015. The engineer in charge of the client-side had a habit of delaying the approval process. Rohit (Name Changed) continuously followed up and pushed him and tried hard from his side for the target to be completed on time. Rohit (Name Changed) took ownership, prepared all the documents clearly, monitored the sub-contractors and workers to cross-check the quality of work completed, and convinced the client to get his signatures on the RA bill. Finally, the payment was credited to the Siemens Account. I feel that Rohit (Name Changed) took the task with maturity and enthusiasm and was praised by the management.

4. In which areas could the applicant exhibit growth or improvement?

While Rohit (Name Changed) has been a very hard working individual and he was a great asset for the execution team at the site, in some of his engagements/calls with the Siemens RHQ (Regional Headquarter) Management regarding the progress of work and regarding the further planning, he was a bit lost and got under pressure that he is in a meeting with the management.

After further discussion with him, I understood that he was not able to anticipate the next steps of project planning and the reason that he was not able to do so because he lacked the holistic thinking as he was new in the job. I firmly believe that having a holistic view is of utmost importance to be a good decision taker which is required a lot in any job. In a profile as that of an on-site engineer, you have to keep on thinking about the next steps, what can be the problems that may come up, and how to keep up the work at a good pace or how to expedite the work. Since Rohit (Name Changed) was always interested to improve himself and learn new things, I gave him constructive feedback and asked him to think openly and write down any point that comes up in his mind about the project planning and next action steps. So, he continued this exercise for about 2-3 months and I felt that he is improving.

Taking my feedback positively and acting as per my feedback turned it around completely with increased clarity regarding the project planning and proper understanding of the reasonable timelines to complete a particular job. He started having a small meeting with his workers every day about the daily tasks, started maintaining a diary to note the anticipated problems, issues, hardships that many come in the future. He also developed a habit to discuss with one or the other senior colleague about his plans, problems, etc.  He also started discussing his planning with the engineer – in-charge from the client-side to better understand their requirements and act accordingly. Now also when I meet him and discuss things with him, he thinks better than before and is more holistic in his views. With an MBA program, I feel he can further Polish this skill.

5. Please comment on the applicant’s capacity for graduate study in business and on his or her potential for a successful management career (if you prefer you may answer this question in a separate letter).

I believe Rohit (Name Changed) has good exposure to working with clients and handling a big team of blue-collar contractors. He has made really good progress in his career so far. But to grow further from here I think Rohit (Name Changed) needs a formal business education and leadership training to actually lead client engagements. His responsibilities have grown and it would be nice for him to upskill himself to handle the next set of challenges.

I think a graduate school is a perfect place that can complement his technical knowledge with business knowledge. A reputed MBA like HHL’s can help Rohit (Name Changed) improve his soft skills in terms of working with international clients and leading a diverse team.

If selected Rohit (Name Changed) would be a great fit into the school and post-school he has the potential to craft a successful career in management.

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