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Writing a Recommendation Letter

Audience: Harvard Business School Admissions Committee

Assignment: Write a recommendation letter for Ms. Susan Fishburn's admission to the Harvard Business School MBA program. You have worked with Ms. Fishburn at the Bank of America for the past several years in the department of consumer affairs. Ms. Fishburn has decided to leave the Bank of America and hopes to continue her education at the Harvard Business School. Ms. Fishburn has asked your boss, Mr. David Ross (V.P. for Consumer Affairs) to write a recommendation for her admission. Since David Ross is a Harvard graduate, Ms.
Fishburn felt his recommendation letter would carry extra significance in the admissions process. Since you have worked closely with Susan Fishburn, Mr. Ross has asked you to draft the recommendation letter, which he will review and sign. Keep in mind that the letter will actually be written on behalf of, and signed by, someone else. This practice is not uncommon. Do not write more than one page and single space the letter.

Here are some facts about Ms. Susan Fishburn that should be addressed in the letter:

- She has an undergraduate degree in Communication from the University of Georgia and graduated with honors.

- She joined the Bank of America (BOA) immediately after graduation and has worked there for three years.

- Her main duty at BOA was to answer letters from consumers, and she has done a very good job.

- Her biggest achievement at BOA was a reorganization of the mail/correspondence policy, which resulted in a much more efficient communication process; consumer letters are answered within 3 days whereas before her improvements it took up to 14 days to respond.

- She has outstanding work habits and is a very good at writing, but she has a weakness as a speaker. She is reluctant to present ideas orally and it has prevented her advancement at BOA. This could be a problem at Harvard Business School, where classroom discussions and presentations figure prominently in student success. The shortcoming should be addressed.

Solution Preview

September 2, 2012
Mr. David Ross
Vice President, Consumer Affairs
MBA Harvard University
Bank of America
213 East Street
New York, New York 11756

Admissions Board
Harvard University
114 Harvard Way
Cambridge MA 01651

Dear Sir/Madame:

It is with great pleasure that I recommend Ms. Susan Fishburn to your prestigious MBA program. I have had the pleasure of working with Ms. Fishburn over the last three years here at Bank of America. Ms. Fishburn is a very hard, diligent worker and possesses ...

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