How Insightful References Can Boost Your Masters In Management Application

Written by Lisa Mortini

Hello again everyone!

You’ve now decided to apply to the MiM programme and are carefully considering all the documents required in order to submit you best application. References, while they may seem an afterthought compared to the GMAT or your essays, as an integral part of the process – they can truly make or break an application. What impress us are honest, to-the-point, and genuine references.

Here are a few tips to make sure that your references have a positive impact on your application:


1.         What are references for?

References are a window into how experienced individuals see you, in an academic, professional or extra-curricular setting. They allow us to understand how well you have built your network so far, how you are perceived in a variety of situations, and the potential that others see in you.


2.         Choose your referees very carefully.

It would seem logical to do so but we often read references from professors who barely know you (and have nothing insightful to say) or from people you knew a long time ago and whose opinions are not relevant to the person you are anymore.

Ideally, you will have one academic reference from a professor who knows you well and one other from an internship supervisor or the manager of a charity / arts / sports association you work with. Two academic references are perfectly acceptable as well but if you’ve had four internships, we may wonder how well your professional network has been maintained.

If your referee is an alumnus or alumna of the School, they can of course mention it. Please note that if you have two other referees already, alumni (and current students too) can also recommend you separately – do tell them to contact us directly mimadmissions@london.edu.


3.         Who should I not approach?

If you have attended only one of his/her course three years ago, this professor might not be the best judge of character when you are concerned.

If your work experience has mostly taken place in the family business then reach out to a supplier or a client – family members are a big no-no!

If you have only met the CEO of your internship company once in a corridor then it is much better to ask your close supervisor instead. Big names and titles won’t impress us if they have nothing to say about you.

If your referee of choice doesn’t speak (enough) English, chose someone else who does.


4.         Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, write your own references.

The value of references lies in their confidentiality. Sadly, we have caught many candidates cheating on their references which can lead to an immediate rejection of the application. The truth is that if you write your own references… we will find out. There are many ways to double check the validity of references and our savvy reviewers are expert at identifying ‘dodgy’ ones. Sometimes, busy referees may ask you to write the reference for them – don’t give in! Ask yourself this: if they are not willing to take the time to do this for you, are they really the person you want to use as a referee?


5.         What’s next?

Once you have selected your referees, do contact them to ask for their support and let them know to expect an email from us including a link to a short form they will have to fill by themselves. Please do tell them to use their professional email address for verification purposes.

If you chose to send them an updated CV, please do remind them to not simply cut and paste information from the CV which is redundant. You may also want to send them a link to the MiM website so they are aware of which programme and school you are applying to.


We’ve read many fantastic reviews over the years that have truly helped us to understand our candidates in a new and improved light. We hope that your referees will achieve this for you!

We wish you all the best in selecting your referees and hope to read more about you very soon.