The Common Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

Streamlining the LOR Process

One of the biggest pain points for applicants in the MBA application process has been asking managers to fill out multiple recommendations, which deters the applicants from applying to more schools. For recommenders, completing multiple letters of recommendation can also be a stressful experience. Not being able to spend enough time on each letter leads to less thoughtful and insightful recommendations. To address these challenges, GMAC has been working with a group of leading business schools to help reduce the burden of asking for — and submitting — letters of recommendation. The goal is to make life easier for MBA applicants and recommenders, as well as provide better insights for schools.

The Common Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is a recommendation form developed with the goal of saving recommenders and alumni valuable time by providing a single, common set of questions. The questions remain embedded in each participating school’s existing application system, so it requires few significant changes.

Some key benefits of the Common LOR:

  • Provides deeper insights into the candidacy of applicants by capturing the best practices from leading programs and leveraging the latest science in executive evaluation
  • Offers potential for expanding prospective student pipeline and having more applications by making it easier for applicants to ask for multiple LORs
  • Frees up valuable time for recommenders and allow them to dedicate focus and energy to craft a more robust and insightful letter

While GMAC is supporting this initiative, it is the business schools who are leading the effort, with GMAC helping to convene, gather information from industry experts, and solicit input from candidates from around the globe.

Listen to an Overview of the Common LOR

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Who's Using LOR?

Schools Using the Common LOR Form

  • Asia School of Business - in collaboration with MIT Sloan Management
  • Boston College - Carroll School of Management
  • Boston University - Questrom School of Business
  • Brandeis International Business School
  • Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business
  • College of William & Mary - Mason School of Business
  • Cornell University - SC Johnson School of Business
  • Dartmouth University - Tuck School of Business
  • Duke University - The Fuqua School of Business
  • Emory University - Goizueta Business School
  • Fudan University - School of Management
  • Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business
  • Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business
  • Indian School of Business
  • New York University - Stern School of Business
  • Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim’s School of Business  
  • Notre Dame - Mendoza School of Business
  • PennState University - SMEAL College of Business
  • RICE University Jones Graduate School of Business
  • Sabanci University - Sabanci School of Management
  • Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business
  • Simon Fraser University, Beedie School of Business
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Southern Methodist University - Cox School of Business
  • The College of New Jersey
  • The University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Business
  • UC Davis Graduate School of Management
  • UCI Paul Merage School of Business
  • UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business
  • University of Florida - Warrington College of Business
  • University of Georgia - Terry College of Business
  • University of Kansas School of Business
  • University of Michigan - Ross School of Business
  • University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management
  • University of Rochester - Simon Business School
  • University of San Francisco - School of Management
  • University of Virginia - Darden School of Business
  • Vanderbilt - Owen Graduate School of Management
  • Washington University in St. Louis - Olin Business School
  • Yale School of Management
(If your school is not listed, please contact your school to find out if they use the Common LOR form)

How to Participate

Schools are welcome to try the new form for the admissions cycle. The Common LOR is available to use free of charge by any program around the globe. Participating programs can customize the Common LOR to accommodate any unique questions required by the programs. 

The Common LOR is available to use for free by any program around the globe. Participating programs can customize the Common LOR to accommodate questions required by the programs.

Terms of Use (PDF)
Common LOR Sample Instructions

If you would like to learn more and are interested in participating, please complete the form below:

Common LOR Sections

Section 1: Personal Information About the Recommender

Section 2: Leadership Assessment Grid

The grid is comprised of 12 competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership. The competencies and character traits are grouped into five categories:

  • Achievement 
  • Influence 
  • People 
  • Personal Qualities 
  • Cognitive Abilities

Section 3: Recommendation Questions (Open-ended Questions for Recommenders)

  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 performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples.
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response.
  4. Is there anything else we should know? (Optional)

Click here for Instructions on how to use

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