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Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed

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Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 09:27
Hello all,


I don't have much work experience, but B-school I am applying to says it is okay to have a professor write a letter of recommendation instead of an employer. Does anyone have any good links or some examples of good ways to ask recommendation letters?

I already have a professor in mind who told me 2 years ago that I can use him as a reference any time. The thing is, I haven't spoken to him in over two years and I want to to approach him nicely, politely, and carefully. I really need to know in what ways I could ask him. I can't see him in person because I'm in New York and he's in California so I have to send him an e-mail first.

My B-school application deadline is May 15th so I have to ask him soon.

Your guys' insight would be great. Thank you!
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Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 10:10
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I have to ask the question - why are you in such a rush to pursue your MBA at this time?

You can only get your MBA once. You want to get it from the best program possible. Programs that admit MBA students straight from undergrad are typically not the strongest programs. Additionally, when you complete your MBA, you'll be competing in a marketplace of MBAs who have 3-7 years of professional experience, while you have none.

In my experience, the majority of candidates who get an MBA without professional experience secure entry-level positions upon graduation and are on par with recent undergraduate graduates.

Carefully consider this path.
_________________

Wendy

Wendy Flynn
15 Years as Director of MBA Admissions - Now Working For the Applicants as the MBA Admissions Coach
Wendy Flynn is the MBA Admissions Coach, providing comprehensive MBA admissions consulting services. As the former Director of MBA Admissions for 15 years at a top-30 MBA pgoram, Wendy holds deep expertise in admissions issues for Full-Time, Executive and Professional (Part-Time) MBA Programs. Through her blog, MBA Expert Insights, she brings the view of the Director of MBA admissions to MBA applicants and others.


WendyLFlynn89@gmail.com
Web: http://MBAAdmissionsCoach.com
MBA Expert Insights Blog: http://www.mbaadmissionscoach.com/blog/
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/MBAAdmissionsCoach
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/WendyLFlynn
Member of the AIGAC, Association of International Graduate Admissions Counselors

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Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 09:40
Expert's post
DelSingh wrote:
Hello all,


I don't have much work experience, but B-school I am applying to says it is okay to have a professor write a letter of recommendation instead of an employer. Does anyone have any good links or some examples of good ways to ask recommendation letters?

I already have a professor in mind who told me 2 years ago that I can use him as a reference any time. The thing is, I haven't spoken to him in over two years and I want to to approach him nicely and carefully. I really need to know in what ways I could ask him. I can't see him in person because I'm in New York and he's in California so I have to send him an e-mail first.

My B-school application deadline is May 15th so I have to ask him soon.

Your guys' insight would be great. Thank you!


It's not favored as schools like to see examples of how you worked in teams, contributed to projects, etc but it's certainly not impossible to be admitted with an academic letter.

I would say that if you've worked closely with this professor on research, individual projects, etc outside the classroom than s/he has some examples to draw upon in your letter. If you've only taken this professor's class, then I'd hesitate to have him or her write it.

Regardless though I do know people who have done it and we're accepted to schools of their choice. Ultimately you know if the person can write you a strong letter -- go with your gut.
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Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 09:58
aerien wrote:
DelSingh wrote:
Hello all,


I don't have much work experience, but B-school I am applying to says it is okay to have a professor write a letter of recommendation instead of an employer. Does anyone have any good links or some examples of good ways to ask recommendation letters?

I already have a professor in mind who told me 2 years ago that I can use him as a reference any time. The thing is, I haven't spoken to him in over two years and I want to to approach him nicely and carefully. I really need to know in what ways I could ask him. I can't see him in person because I'm in New York and he's in California so I have to send him an e-mail first.

My B-school application deadline is May 15th so I have to ask him soon.

Your guys' insight would be great. Thank you!


It's not favored as schools like to see examples of how you worked in teams, contributed to projects, etc but it's certainly not impossible to be admitted with an academic letter.

I would say that if you've worked closely with this professor on research, individual projects, etc outside the classroom than s/he has some examples to draw upon in your letter. If you've only taken this professor's class, then I'd hesitate to have him or her write it.

Regardless though I do know people who have done it and we're accepted to schools of their choice. Ultimately you know if the person can write you a strong letter -- go with your gut.



Yeah, I really have no choice. However, this school is known to have people go straight in from undergrad. I was told by the assistant admissions counselor that they are not big sticklers on work experience.

My initial question was more about on how to email my professor asking him for a letter of recommendation because I haven't spoken to him in over 2 years. I want to update him on my current situation and things I have been up to.
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Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 10:03
Expert's post
DelSingh wrote:
aerien wrote:
DelSingh wrote:
Hello all,


I don't have much work experience, but B-school I am applying to says it is okay to have a professor write a letter of recommendation instead of an employer. Does anyone have any good links or some examples of good ways to ask recommendation letters?

I already have a professor in mind who told me 2 years ago that I can use him as a reference any time. The thing is, I haven't spoken to him in over two years and I want to to approach him nicely and carefully. I really need to know in what ways I could ask him. I can't see him in person because I'm in New York and he's in California so I have to send him an e-mail first.

My B-school application deadline is May 15th so I have to ask him soon.

Your guys' insight would be great. Thank you!


It's not favored as schools like to see examples of how you worked in teams, contributed to projects, etc but it's certainly not impossible to be admitted with an academic letter.

I would say that if you've worked closely with this professor on research, individual projects, etc outside the classroom than s/he has some examples to draw upon in your letter. If you've only taken this professor's class, then I'd hesitate to have him or her write it.

Regardless though I do know people who have done it and we're accepted to schools of their choice. Ultimately you know if the person can write you a strong letter -- go with your gut.



Yeah, I really have no choice. However, this school is known to have people go straight in from undergrad. I was told by the assistant admissions counselor that they are not big sticklers on work experience.

My initial question was more about on how to email my professor asking him for a letter of recommendation because I haven't spoken to him in over 2 years. I want to update him on my current situation and things I have been up to.


That's a great way to do it!

Hi so and so, I haven't spoken to you since class ABC....Since graduation I've been up to XYZ and am considering applying to MBA programs to further my career in....Would you be willing to write a letter on my behalf...

General gist of a basic letter, obviously YMMV. Good luck!!
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Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 10:19
Just an addition here:

If you're going to have a professor write your letter you should make sure they have something unique to say about you. If you need to, remind them in your message of some things you worked on them with. Did you help them with a certain project? Did they work directly with you on some research? What is the specific reason you're asking -THIS- professor from all of the others? Let them know that reason - this will likely remind them of the type of dynamic you had with them and will allow them to write an effective letter.

The worst thing you can do in this situation is send them an email "Hi, I took your class in so-and-so and I'm now applying for this MBA program, can you please recommend me?" Unless you were specifically memorable, without any examples of who you were or what you did, you will most likely only get the same generic letter they send for everyone else.

Good luck!
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Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 11:14
Quote:
That's a great way to do it!

Hi so and so, I haven't spoken to you since class ABC....Since graduation I've been up to XYZ and am considering applying to MBA programs to further my career in....Would you be willing to write a letter on my behalf...

General gist of a basic letter, obviously YMMV. Good luck!!



Awesome, this will help. Thanks!


Quote:
I have to ask the question - why are you in such a rush to pursue your MBA at this time?

You can only get your MBA once. You want to get it from the best program possible. Programs that admit MBA students straight from undergrad are typically not the strongest programs. Additionally, when you complete your MBA, you'll be competing in a marketplace of MBAs who have 3-7 years of professional experience, while you have none.

In my experience, the majority of candidates who get an MBA without professional experience secure entry-level positions upon graduation and are on par with recent undergraduate graduates.

Carefully consider this path.


I'm actually applying for the school's Master's in Accounting program. However, thanks for the info :) I will keep this in mind!


Quote:
If you're going to have a professor write your letter you should make sure they have something unique to say about you. If you need to, remind them in your message of some things you worked on them with. Did you help them with a certain project? Did they work directly with you on some research? What is the specific reason you're asking -THIS- professor from all of the others? Let them know that reason - this will likely remind them of the type of dynamic you had with them and will allow them to write an effective letter.

The worst thing you can do in this situation is send them an email "Hi, I took your class in so-and-so and I'm now applying for this MBA program, can you please recommend me?" Unless you were specifically memorable, without any examples of who you were or what you did, you will most likely only get the same generic letter they send for everyone else.

Good luck!


Yes, thank you for making sure that I'd do that. I will definitely mention our past experiences.
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Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed [#permalink] New post 01 May 2013, 12:19
OK - got it!

Keep in mind that the beginning of May is the busiest time of year for faculty members, especially those who teach undergraduate students. In your "ask," it would be appropriate to acknowledge that and ask if he has time to provide the recommendation letter for you.
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15 Years as Director of MBA Admissions - Now Working For the Applicants as the MBA Admissions Coach
Wendy Flynn is the MBA Admissions Coach, providing comprehensive MBA admissions consulting services. As the former Director of MBA Admissions for 15 years at a top-30 MBA pgoram, Wendy holds deep expertise in admissions issues for Full-Time, Executive and Professional (Part-Time) MBA Programs. Through her blog, MBA Expert Insights, she brings the view of the Director of MBA admissions to MBA applicants and others.


WendyLFlynn89@gmail.com
Web: http://MBAAdmissionsCoach.com
MBA Expert Insights Blog: http://www.mbaadmissionscoach.com/blog/
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/MBAAdmissionsCoach
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/WendyLFlynn
Member of the AIGAC, Association of International Graduate Admissions Counselors

Re: Asking professor for a letter of recommendation. Help needed   [#permalink] 01 May 2013, 12:19
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