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Help me pick my third recommender!

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Director
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Help me pick my third recommender! [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 07:48
Hi all,

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I need a third recommender for a few schools (e.g., HBS). I have two very high quality recommenders from my most recent two jobs:

1. Principal at my VC firm with whom I have worked very closely. He has committed to doing anything to get me into B school. Was on the admissions committee for his medical school, so he knows admissions processes quite well.
2. VP, Life Science Practice Group who was my direct manager at my consulting gig. He has written recommendations for many of my co-workers that have helped them get into B school and med school.

Of these two options, with whom should I go?

1. General Partner at my VC firm (HBS alum) with whom I closed 4 deals during my tenure. Has volunteered to write whatever recommendations I need to get into B school. Concern here is that the recommendation will not be a collaborative process, and I don't 100% trust his ability to be a good recommender by himself. He also a bit of a controversial figure in the VC community.

2. General Partner at my VC firm with whom I did not work particularly closely. Wrote a recommendation for my predecessor who was accepted to HBS. He is an excellent writer (before joining my VC firm, he was the top biotech lawyer in the north east) and the recommendation process will likely be highly collaborative. I have not broached the subject with him at all.

Any advice would be very helpful, even if it is just how to think through this process.
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Director
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Re: Help me pick my third recommender! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2008, 04:20
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Hmm, I can see how you are torn between the two. The first guy has the major strength of having worked very closely with you. I think a lack of that can quite easily come out in the recommendation, which I believe adcoms really don't like. On the other hand, the second guy seems like the type of guy who might be able to avoid having that come out.

Generally, I think I would go with the first guy. It's better to have someone you know can speak of your abilities and potential despite being less open about the process. And, regarding the "controversial" thing, I don't think they'll let public opinion of the recommender sway their thoughts on the recomendee, unless of course he's a famous baby-killer or something.
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Director
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Re: Help me pick my third recommender! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2008, 08:53
rca215 wrote:
Hmm, I can see how you are torn between the two. The first guy has the major strength of having worked very closely with you. I think a lack of that can quite easily come out in the recommendation, which I believe adcoms really don't like. On the other hand, the second guy seems like the type of guy who might be able to avoid having that come out.

Generally, I think I would go with the first guy. It's better to have someone you know can speak of your abilities and potential despite being less open about the process. And, regarding the "controversial" thing, I don't think they'll let public opinion of the recommender sway their thoughts on the recomendee, unless of course he's a famous baby-killer or something.


Thanks, rca.

My initial gut was to go with him, as well. The thing that is making me hesitate is that he is a very non-detailed oriented person, which is why I think he might not be a very good recommender. Anytime I worked with him and wrote an investment memo, he wouldn't read it over. He would just say, "I'm sure it's fine. I could nitpick, but there's no point."

The other thing that makes me hesitate is that my predecessor was in a similar position to me and chose the second guy.
Director
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Joined: 14 Sep 2007
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Schools: Kellogg '10
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Re: Help me pick my third recommender! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2008, 10:31
zoinnk wrote:
rca215 wrote:
Hmm, I can see how you are torn between the two. The first guy has the major strength of having worked very closely with you. I think a lack of that can quite easily come out in the recommendation, which I believe adcoms really don't like. On the other hand, the second guy seems like the type of guy who might be able to avoid having that come out.

Generally, I think I would go with the first guy. It's better to have someone you know can speak of your abilities and potential despite being less open about the process. And, regarding the "controversial" thing, I don't think they'll let public opinion of the recommender sway their thoughts on the recomendee, unless of course he's a famous baby-killer or something.


Thanks, rca.

My initial gut was to go with him, as well. The thing that is making me hesitate is that he is a very non-detailed oriented person, which is why I think he might not be a very good recommender. Anytime I worked with him and wrote an investment memo, he wouldn't read it over. He would just say, "I'm sure it's fine. I could nitpick, but there's no point."

The other thing that makes me hesitate is that my predecessor was in a similar position to me and chose the second guy.


The lack of focus on detail does make me hesitant as well. How are your other recommenders in that regard?
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Director
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Re: Help me pick my third recommender! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2008, 13:41
rca215 wrote:
zoinnk wrote:
rca215 wrote:
Hmm, I can see how you are torn between the two. The first guy has the major strength of having worked very closely with you. I think a lack of that can quite easily come out in the recommendation, which I believe adcoms really don't like. On the other hand, the second guy seems like the type of guy who might be able to avoid having that come out.

Generally, I think I would go with the first guy. It's better to have someone you know can speak of your abilities and potential despite being less open about the process. And, regarding the "controversial" thing, I don't think they'll let public opinion of the recommender sway their thoughts on the recomendee, unless of course he's a famous baby-killer or something.


Thanks, rca.

My initial gut was to go with him, as well. The thing that is making me hesitate is that he is a very non-detailed oriented person, which is why I think he might not be a very good recommender. Anytime I worked with him and wrote an investment memo, he wouldn't read it over. He would just say, "I'm sure it's fine. I could nitpick, but there's no point."

The other thing that makes me hesitate is that my predecessor was in a similar position to me and chose the second guy.


The lack of focus on detail does make me hesitant as well. How are your other recommenders in that regard?


Both lined up recommenders are great.

Choice #2 is detail-oriented almost to a fault, which I think would be good in this case...
Re: Help me pick my third recommender!   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2008, 13:41
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