Recommendation Letter -
MBA Program (UK)

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215 North Street
St Andrews, KY16 9AJ

December 20, 20xx

Postgraduate Admissions Office
University Office
University of Aberdeen
King’s College
Aberdeen, AB24 3FX

Dear Admissions Director:

I have known and worked with Miss Samantha Wu for almost five years and based on that I am delighted to recommend her for your MBA programme.

I am currently a postgraduate student at St. Andrews University in the United Kingdom. For the past 20 months, I have had the pleasure of working with Samantha on the Mustard Seed Project, an educational project for school children in remote areas of South East Asia and China. As her project partner, I have seen Samantha demonstrate outstanding leadership in motivating others to participate in the project as well as through her efforts in initiating and operating the project. Below I share my assessments of some of Samantha’s key attributes.

I first met Samantha in Yunnan Province of China in 20xx, while we were working on a documentary film project. We discovered that we both cared deeply about human rights matters and discussed many educational issues. In 20xx, Kimberley sent me a proposal to help her set up a project to assist school children in remote areas have better access to educational resources and change the way they see the outside world. She believed that many school children in remote areas of South East Asia and China ran away from home to the outside world with a dream of escaping from poverty but instead ended up involved in prostitution or drug dealing. The plan was to encourage travelling backpackers to share their real-life knowledge of the world outside with school children in those remote areas while the backpackers themselves could benefit from opportunities to explore the local cultures. Samantha’s ideas and passion convinced me, and I was the first person to get involved in the project and later became her primary project partner. Later on, other post graduate students also joined the project.

Compared with the leaders and participants of other non-profit organizations or projects in which I have participated, such as the Irish Agriculture Farmers project and the Xuannan Primary School Volunteer project (China), Samantha stands out in a number of ways.

  1. Persistency in initiating the project
    Over a three year period Samantha actively participated in various non-profit organizations so that she could learn from their operations. During the Mustard Seed Project initiation, many of us thought the project scope was too small. In response, Samantha called several meetings to discuss the scope, where she shared her experiences in similar small non-profit projects. After a few follow-up emails, the team united and reached a shared goal that: in three years we would have volunteers teaching programs in three schools. She then led us through the detailed planning tasks for achieving that goal. Step by step, she taught us to pursue our vision in a realistic way. Samantha also showed respect for the ambitious ideas of team members by placing our previous big plans in different project phases. Her persistence in building the team was the foundation that allowed us to move forward.

  2. Discipline to manage the project
    Compared with other community projects in which I have been involved, Samantha operates the Mustard Seed Project team very efficiently and keeps us on track at all times. She sends out regular email reminders to advise us of our progress and she insists on meetings of the core team once every two weeks to discuss the issues and current tasks, even when she is on business trips. She also sends out decision records and follow-up assignments after each meeting. In a small scope non-profit project where everyone has only limited time to devote, her management skills keep the progress of the project on schedule.

  3. Flexibility to communicate internal and external
    Samantha demonstrates superior communication skills while dealing with people from a variety of backgrounds including; project team members (mostly post-graduate students), local partners who are local small businessmen, and volunteer backpackers. As the project leader, she listens to and respects our opinions and always makes sure we fully understand the reason behind her decisions and are comfortable with them. When building partnerships with local communities for the Mustard Seed Project, she always first listens to the opinions of the locals about educational issues facing school children, and only after that does she explain the design of our courses and the mission of our project. She sees the project from the perspectives of both the project team and the local community. She knows how to successfully earn the trust of local community groups first. When dealing with project volunteers, Samantha always addresses the benefits from both the local school children’s angle and also from the perspectives of volunteers. She emphasizes the unique local cultures and environments that will enrich the volunteers’ travel experience.
As the founder and the leader of the Mustard Seed Project, Samantha has had a major impact. In the past 20 months she has led us to many achievements including: completing the teaching materials, building connections with local communities, completion of one volunteer teaching session in Pang Numtrang School in Thailand, and building a partnership with a local businessman there to advertise our project in his hostel. However, I believe her impact on this project goes beyond just making it happen or operating it. Samantha’s passionate but down-to-earth personality has influenced us not to just dream about changing, but also to find, plan, and execute the changes. This is one of the main strengths she offers the non-profit world -- a pragmatic approach backed up by concrete and proven methods.

Overall, I think Samantha Wu is a person with big dreams and serious plans who has the ability to achieve them. I believe that by studying at your institution, she will get closer to her dream of making an impact on the world.

Based on the foregoing, without reservation, I am pleased to highly recommend Samantha Wu for acceptance into your programme. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Jill Wong
St. Andrews University, UK
School of Social Anthropology

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