from what i've read, and from my personal experience, it doesn't matter WHO or what position your recommenders are - as long as they know you very well - well enough to write a very compelling recommendation. think about it - most people in the banking and finance industries are also going to be able to secure either 1) an alum or 2) a VP or executive from their company to write them an LOR. at some point, it's going to come down to how well you they know you and how much effort they're willing to put into your LOR. if they barely know you, or if it's just a common work relationship, then they'll write you a correspondingly average LOR.
since i am still pretty young and have maintained in touch with some of my undergrad professors, i actually chose 2 of them to write my LoRs, which goes against the conventional wisdom that they should not write them.
1 was a physics professor who i never had an official class with (i did have a project from an honors seminar course with him); however, i worked for him part time during the year for 4 years, and also became fairly close outside of the school setting
1 was my humanities professor who i took several classes with. we also worked together on a variety of projects related to cultural studies. again, i had a very good relationship with him, so he was more than willing to write me a good LOR
1 was a VP at my last company who was an alum. since the company was small, we worked together almost daily, and he respected my work very much. this one was tricky - i wasnt sure if i should use my former manager or the VP; however, after speaking with the VP in person, he was more than happy to write my LOR.
unless you have a huge allstar writing your LOR (the person who wrote my VP's LOR to get into HBS was the admiral of the US Navy
), then i dont think the person's rank will affect your chances in any way. just make sure they know you well enough to write a good and detailed LOR
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