Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! : The B-School Application
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# Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !!

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Manager
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Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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17 Sep 2012, 11:30
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Hello Everyone!

Can you please suggest tips that can help me get my recommenders to pull themselves up and do the needful before the deadlines? Its been three weeks since they must have got the mails, and probably much more before I actually told them about what they would need to do...but I see no action. I am sure they will never do it on a weekday, and that means there are just the 2 weekends in which they absolutely must do it for me not to miss the R1 deadlines. I sent a reminder on Friday, but no movement

Any tips that have worked for you will be very appreciated. I am also worried that I might appear too pushy, and then these people will rush the whole thing and ruin it

Cheers
q
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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17 Sep 2012, 12:54
My recommenders did not submit the recos for my first application until the day it was due. It was a bit nerve wracking, but they got it done. And yes sometimes they do choose to do it on a weekday. You're nowhere near the danger zone yet. Have you given your recommenders all of the information they will need to write a strong recommendation?
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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17 Sep 2012, 14:06
I am in the same boat although I gave them my own deadlines (each 10 days before actual app was due). So I gave them a gentle nudge on Friday.. But we shall see what happens when the first "deadline" comes this Friday..

Just gotta relax and give them little nudges now, then harder pushes if it gets too close to the deadline. But definitely try and ask in person if possible, just so they have to respond and youre on their radar.
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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17 Sep 2012, 17:10
I got them cute little gifts and cards and decided to give it to them before because I was getting anxious. Hopefully it'll have a triple effect: 1) showing gratitude, 2) sparking a fire under their butts to write, and 3) reminding them why they love me!

So far I only have proof of the second one, since she started it the day after I gave her the gift (according to the school's website)! I'm handing out the other two this week, so we'll see if it works there...
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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18 Sep 2012, 06:26
machichi wrote:
I got them cute little gifts and cards and decided to give it to them before because I was getting anxious. Hopefully it'll have a triple effect: 1) showing gratitude, 2) sparking a fire under their butts to write, and 3) reminding them why they love me!

So far I only have proof of the second one, since she started it the day after I gave her the gift (according to the school's website)! I'm handing out the other two this week, so we'll see if it works there...

I think gift is a great idea. Now the they may feel "obligated" to write a good letter for you; but at the same time, they may still drag their heels along the way. You have to remember, most of them have high stress jobs and a family that they must devote time to. I'm about to talk to my recommenders this week, and I will give them a deadline 2 weeks before the actual deadline.
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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18 Sep 2012, 13:46
This is always a delicate situation. I agree with Dbalks that giving recommenders your own earlier deadline can alleviate some stress on your part and allow for more flexibility in extenuating circumstances.

When you are waiting for recommendations, you do not want to remind your recommenders so often that they are annoyed, but a little nudge is reasonable if the deadline is approaching. When you reach out, ask the recommenders if they have everything they need to write the recommendation. If they are having trouble remembering specific details about their work with you, reminding them can inspire them to start writing.
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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18 Sep 2012, 20:07
If they are your recommenders, it means you picked them because they know you well and think highly of you. Therefore, don't be afraid to walk into their office and have a casual chat. Start by telling them how your own essay writing is progressing. Lead in with how some of your recommenders found it useful that you sent them talking points - could be total BS but gives you a reason to send them a follow up email with talking points!

Also, don't be afraid to be assertive because 1) they already think highly of you, and 2) this is your damn FUTURE! What you don't want is lasting regrets of not pushing your recommenders for fear of offending them, having them rush to submit a half-baked product, and getting dinged as a result of a poor package. Happens frequently enough to make me want to cry.
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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19 Sep 2012, 11:16
cheetarah1980 wrote:
My recommenders did not submit the recos for my first application until the day it was due. It was a bit nerve wracking, but they got it done. And yes sometimes they do choose to do it on a weekday. You're nowhere near the danger zone yet. Have you given your recommenders all of the information they will need to write a strong recommendation?

That is scary

But I agree, I am not yet dangerously close to the d-day. So might as well for some time before giving them a 'nudge' as has been pointed out

BTW, Cheets, I love your blog. Few people find the time to blog while at B-School, and fewer still can see both the good and the not-so-good at B-School, and not go Ooo-la-la about the "freakin-awesome" people and the "freakin-awesome" everything.

And Cheets, you were absolutely correct about the Booth presentation. Once you know what you want to create, its takes no time at all.
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2012, 05:47
I set my recommenders deadlines a month before the actual deadline while giving them heads-up and questions 3 months in advance. I told them I want to apply earlier. I asked them if they are ready to commit and warned them that I will be ignoring all rules of politeness in reminding them of their commitment if they are late. I had very good relations with them, so saying this was not a problem despite their seniority in the global organisation.

Needless to say, I had to chase them up ferociously nevertheless. But I wasn't ashamed of reminding them multiple times - they committed, full stop.

Two recommenders sit with me in the same building but travel a lot while the third is based on another continent and travels a lot as well. After a couple of reminders to the former two, they started to tell me "I will do it tonight" before even saying "hi". I got my recs two weeks before the deadline but was really nervous. I used some tricks such as asking my former colleagues who can see whether the third recommender is in his office and is not on the phone to call him at that moment. I made about 5 or 6 reminder calls!!

In my situation those people had never written any MBA recommendations and they were afraid to start even though they were really keen to help. Make sure you educate them in advance and outline your expectations bluntly if your recommenders are as inexperienced as mine.

I decided not to buy any gifts before the admission to avoid creating a wrong impression. I did a lot for those guys both professionally and privately. I didn't feel obliged to buy any gifts and I guess they didn't expect me either. Not at this stage at least.

As HBSGrad said, it was (and still is) my damn future and I didn't want to let someone else screw it up!
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2012, 06:29
This is a bit off topic...but in terms of gifts I am a proponent of gifting recommenders after all recommendations are in. Writing a good recommendation can take just as long as writing a good essay and doing it across multiple schools is a time suck. Regardless of whether or not you get into the school a small gift is a nice way to say thank you for your recommenders time and effort. JMO.
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Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !! [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2012, 07:48
ilya.b wrote:
I set my recommenders deadlines a month before the actual deadline while giving them heads-up and questions 3 months in advance. I told them I want to apply earlier. I asked them if they are ready to commit and warned them that I will be ignoring all rules of politeness in reminding them of their commitment if they are late. I had very good relations with them, so saying this was not a problem despite their seniority in the global organisation.

3 Months in advance !!! That's really a lot.
Re: Getting the Recommenders to Recommend !!   [#permalink] 21 Sep 2012, 07:48
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