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Am I paranoid?

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Manager
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Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 11:22
Check this out:

I work for a small firm with only two other people (my superiors) on the business side, the CEO and an MD. I have a good relationship with both of them and, naturally, I chose them to write my Recs. To the CEO, I framed my decision as "not 100% sure I'm going to B-school (full-time), but it's something I want to do" and he seemed supportive, e.g. we had a discussion about positioning my candidacy and pros/cons. Recs are already submitted for my R1 schools (Wharton + Chicago) and I waived the right to review.

Recently, I found out that the MD is getting fired, and that I will be replacing her duties and will receive more compensation. MD told me that in their (MD + CEO) admittedly heated discussions, she mentioned that I wasn't a good long-term solution since I was going back to school and the CEO responded "he's not going back to school." CEO also wouldn't give her details on what my new deal (compensation wise) would be. I can think of three reasons why the CEO would say this:

(1) CEO sabotaged (subtly or not) my Recs so that I won't get accepted to the top schools I want to attend;
(2) CEO is intending on offering me a deal I can't refuse (in his mind); or
(3) CEO was just trying to deflect my role/involvement from the conversation that is somewhat unrelated to the CEO/MD negotiations.

The possibility of (1) has me a little worried. Does anybody have any experience with, or have heard of, something like that ever happening?
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 11:27
Deliberate sabotage via recs does happen, I read in Montauk or somewhere else that it hovers around 10% or above. Probably unintentional sabotage happens even more often.

There's not much you can do about it, you have to have faith in the adcoms that they understand this can happen to the best of candidates and they can at least try to recognize it and take it into consideration.
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 11:30
That's tough, but it sounds like perhaps he was just making a quick response to get her off his back. Unfortunately there's not much you can do about it in any case, but the fact that you are getting a promotion and replacing the other recommender should help mitigate the effects of a so-so rec letter anyway.
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 12:07
If I were in your shoes, I'd be concerned as well. But like others have said, there really isn't much you can do about it other than choosing different set of recs for your next apps.... Good luck
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 12:31
This is always a very difficult part of the application process for anyone who comes outside of the traditional MBA feeder tracks. If you truly are a top performer at work and they want you to stay, it is in their best interests to do something like you mentioned (sabotage your recs and woo you with money). All you can really do is hope that the people you work with are gentlemen who are looking out for your long-term future. If you dwell on it much further than that, you will go insane.

I am a skeptical person by nature, and this part of the process has caused a significant amount of stress for me because it is the only part of the process that I have absolutely no control over. Eventually, you just have to realize that and let it go.
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 13:06
4th your CEO doesnt think you will actually go to school given the current economic situation..
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 13:07
Go face the CEO and ask directly if he felt that he was able to write you a good recommendation based on your track record. Watch his reaction carefully and try to figure out if he is lying to you.


Yep, it's a non-conservative approach, but it might give you some relief.
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 14:44
Interesting takes from you all, thanks. I have to say that we have a very good relationship and I've never seen him do or say anything that would suggest any ethical lapses. I don't think I will try to ask him about it (especially if he is going to try and throw $$$ at me to stay), or at least not yet.
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 14:59
I'm thinking the "he's not going back to school" comment was for the MD's benefit, not yours.

However, what if he did write you a crappy review? What can you do about it?

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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 15:35
Nothing you can do about Rd 1 apps. The bottom line is it's a crappy situation and I really feel for you. As far as Rd 2, I would start thinking of alternatives, to be on the safe side. I'm not saying don't use the same person, but you really need to have a brutally open conversation. You'll be able to tell if he will step up to the plate for you in Rd2 or if you still feel uncomfortable - at which point you'll need a replacement.
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 16:21
I think it's a definite possibility that the statement was used for conversational leverage between the CEO and the MD.

If you believe that the CEO has your best interest in mind, I would say that sabotage is the most unlikely scenario you listed. Let's face it. If he sabotaged you, the last thing he would logically do is tell someone about it. Gossip travels.

I'm sure it will all work out for you :)
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 17:36
You are about to be promoted to MD and you think the CEO is intentionally stabbing you in the back too?

I'd say you are paranoid, yes.

People who stab others in the back, don't usually do it by also saying "here's a bigger paycheck, and more responsibility and lots of other good important stuff!"
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 18:56
It would seem strange to be if I were an Adcom if I read a negative LoR (hypothetically, not saying it happened) from someone's supervisor and then found out the individual in question was just promoted by that supervisor to work directly under them.

If people say this happens as frequently as 10%, wouldn't Adcoms be aware of this possibility?
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2008, 19:11
Thanks guys--I'm feeling a little better about this, now that several of you believe it much more likely it was just a conversation piece rather than his true motive. But sometimes you never know about people despite their front. And I was more worried especially in light of the other things that the MD said transpired.

rhyme and kiddero: the situation is obviously more complicated, but it's not like I'm getting "promoted" in the traditional sense (titles are meaningless at a three person shop) except for more compensation and responsibility, although I was already contributing fairly heavily. Also, since apps are already in, AdComs won't necessarily know about this likely change since it's in the future. But your points are well taken.
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Re: Am I paranoid? [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2008, 05:23
So this is what I think happened: It is possible she thought you wanted to do something part time or a weekend course (of course that is lame because you must have told her when you explained your candidacy)

however, you cant do anything now.. so Don't count your chickens just yet!!
Re: Am I paranoid?   [#permalink] 25 Oct 2008, 05:23
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