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Choosing the Right References

Discover if you're a good fit with the Rotman MBA

The people you choose as your references can provide Rotman with a first-hand glimpse into your management style and leadership potential. So choose wisely! At Rotman, we're looking to speak to those who know you in a professional capacity: family relatives need not apply. Below are some further suggestions about picking your references and helping them provide an account of your strengths that is both positive and accurate.

Your reference is an important factor in your candidacy for Rotman’s MBA program, helping us to assess your professional accomplishments, your interpersonal skills and your leadership potential. A few things to keep in mind when completing this part of the application process:

Two professional references are required. We do not recommend including academic references as we are most interested in your performance in a professional setting.

You may also want to avoid choosing subordinate employees, colleagues, mentors or family friends, regardless of the relevance of their professional background. We seek to hear from those whose views are both accurate and unbiased, as well as those who occupy a supervisory position over you. For these reasons, it is recommended that you choose current and/or previous managers to whom you have reported to directly.

Remember to state your reason for choosing the reference, and clearly indicate your professional relationship. If your reference is a former supervisor who has moved to a new company, state this fact as well as the title he or she held at the time of your professional association. Fill in all of the fields on the information form including current title, employer and contact information.

Don’t assume because someone has agreed to be your reference, that he/she will provide a positive assessment of your strengths. Take the time to meet with your references to explain why you have chosen them and how they can contribute to your MBA application.

Don’t pick references based solely on their title or seniority within your workplace. Better to select a supervisor who knows you and can attest to your skills and abilities firsthand.

Encourage your reference to cite specific examples regarding your performance. Don’t hesitate to remind them of your accomplishments and the impact you have had on the organization. A good reference is explicit and detailed, highlighting situations that exemplify both your interpersonal skills and leadership abilities.

If you have been self-employed since your undergraduate degree, or have been employed in a family-owned business, your references should be individuals who have worked with you in a professional capacity, rather than from an employee. 

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