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Picking recommenders

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Director
Director
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Joined: 28 Dec 2005
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Picking recommenders [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 15:11
Is anyone else with an IT background finding it difficult to pick recommenders? Although I have gotten good reviews at work, fewer people have seen my leadership skills/potential and the few who have will probably have the same perspective/ stories/ instances to share.

Im guilty of not having had a leadership role in any of my community activities, and no activities currently (constant travel at work makes it very difficult, yeah, just another excuse, I know) either.

What does someone in my place do?

Thanks!
GMAT Club Legend
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Status: Um... what do you want to know?
Joined: 03 Jun 2007
Posts: 5464
Location: SF, CA, USA
Schools: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA 2010
WE 1: Social Gaming
Followers: 64

Kudos [?]: 333 [0], given: 14

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 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 15:29
How long have you worked? Have you rotated around in your company or switched companies?

One of your recommenders should be your current supervisor, so he/she should have been able to see your leadership skills at work. If you have a previous manager, or someone else you work for, or even your supervisor's boss, you can see if that person can help you write one, just work with the two of them so they talk about different things.
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Location: Back in Chicago, IL
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 15:44
I am an engineer (non IT) and will be using my immediate supervisor then the senior manager in charge of my division. I work with both on a daily basis so they know my abilities.

Pretty much your current supervisor is always the preferred, previous supervisors are OK and that wont hurt you. Clients are good if you work for them more than your supervisor or run your own business or if you just can't get a boss to do it.

Senior management is bad unless you interact with them a lot...have you done some of their pet projects or worked directly for them. Schools want to see how often they interact with you in a week (some actually specifically ask that) and if its 15 minutes every other week in a quick meeting thats going to be a waste of a recommendation.

Co-workers...unless a school wants a peer recommendation thats a bad idea generally.
Director
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Joined: 28 Dec 2005
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 16:05
Thanks guys. Yes, I am hoping to get a recommendation from one of my clients.

The other issue is I had always planned on going part time, but am really tempted to go full time for an MBA now.

Im worried abt asking my current supervisor at my company for a rec because of that, since it's a pretty small company and basically that would be like telling my company that Im quitting next fall (and what happens if I get dinged across the board? - very likely to happen BTW).

Yes, I did consider my CEO for a rec, but am reconsidering it since my current supervisor and the CEO will probably have the same things to talk abt since the leadership work is in the context of my client interaction.

Assuming I do take my current supervisor's rec, it's the third rec that Im having a difficulty figuring out who to ask. Im afraid all previous supervisors may have only seen me as a software developer/technical lead, good at my work, nothing more, nothing less. Obviously, I want solid recs from people who can give specific instances of my leadership skills, more than just technical.
GMAT Club Legend
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Status: Um... what do you want to know?
Joined: 03 Jun 2007
Posts: 5464
Location: SF, CA, USA
Schools: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA 2010
WE 1: Social Gaming
Followers: 64

Kudos [?]: 333 [0], given: 14

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 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 17:09
BTW, which school is asking for a 3rd rec from supervisors or managers? I know Stanford asks for a 3rd one from a PEER...
GMAT Club Legend
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 17:17
Schools don't care about title unless its the President of America and you work directly for him.

We have talked about it on here before and a lot of people agree that asking for recommendations and telling people your plans is one of the worst parts of the process. I am sure waiting for decisions will be worse but thats still a ways away.

I was suprised by the reaction I got from one of my recommenders. He was thankfull for all the notice I gave since now they can plan to hire a replacement (I work for the government so it takes a lot to get approval to hire). He was amazingly supportive because he knows my potential and also knows what an MBA will do for me. If your boss believes in you and knows anything about an MBA then he will most likely understand...not to say that he will necessarily be thrilled but he should still give a good rec.

If you are planning on staying in your career then a PT might be the best path. If you want to switch then a FT program is most likely what you should aim for even if you aren't going to make it into an elite school.
Director
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 17:43
kryzak, goes to show the amount of research I have done on the application process so far. I am seeing that most schools ask for two. I was going by Harvard's website that I had visited (went to Boston recently so felt complelled to visit Harvard...:)) Phew, that does make it a bit simpler.

riverripper, its a bit more complicated. My company has sponsored my green card application, meaning they just spent 15 K trying to get me as a "permanent" employee, rather than a temporary employee (H1B), so it's really difficult telling them I might quit right after I get my green card(assuming it does happen)

They have even been nice enough to say they will pay some of the cost of a PT MBA. So, yes, while Part time does seem to make the most sense in a lot of ways, but everyone I speak to says going full time would be better. Maybe the one option I have is to start PT and move on to FT. The only school that makes sense for me PT is Ross, since I live in the area, but they dont seem to encourage such a move. It's obvious the competition is different for the two programs.

So, on one hand Im going through the dileama of PT vs FT and on the other wondering why the heck I did not do anything to improve my profile over the years...:)

kryzak, FYI Im 30 too, so I have enough years of experience, just not of the quality I would have preferred.
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Joined: 03 Jun 2007
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Location: SF, CA, USA
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Followers: 64

Kudos [?]: 333 [0], given: 14

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 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2007, 17:55
well, I'm sure there MUST be something in your 6 years that you can talk about in regards to leadership, working in a team, mentoring someone, leading a software class, teaching your teammates a new program, etc...

Look deeper into your experiences and search for nuggets like that. I first looked back at my experiences and saw nothing really to talk about. But after talking to people, listing everything I've done that involved teams and leading/teaching, I came up with enough good examples to put in my essays. granted, they're not "Olympic Medal" or "Saved the company $10B" type achievements, but they show that I can be a good leader and manager.

Try it that way and see.

As for PT vs FT, I understand that your boss and company wants you to stay because of the money they invested in you, but have you tried talking to them about it? I thought my boss was going to discourage me from applying because he likes to train his employees from ground up over a few years, but when I mentioned PT to him, he said, "PT? Stanford doesn't have PT do they? If not, you HAVE to do FT." Suffice to say, I was relieved and elated at the same time.

Moral of that story? You never know until you talk to them (maybe you already did) about it. Say you want to apply to PT, but tell them the benefits of FT and WHY you want to do FT, and see if they're open to that idea. Maybe even hint at coming back to the company for the first few years after you get your MBA to give back or something.

Hope that helps!
Director
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Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 922
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2007, 04:21
kryzak wrote:
well, I'm sure there MUST be something in your 6 years that you can talk about in regards to leadership, working in a team, mentoring someone, leading a software class, teaching your teammates a new program, etc...

Thanks kryzak, yes, I do. I just wonder if that's not enough if one is 30 and applying to full time programs. The other thing is, sometimes I think I am more happy with my accomplishments from 6-7 years back rather than in the recent past.


kryzak wrote:
Look deeper into your experiences and search for nuggets like that. I first looked back at my experiences and saw nothing really to talk about. But after talking to people, listing everything I've done that involved teams and leading/teaching, I came up with enough good examples to put in my essays. granted, they're not "Olympic Medal" or "Saved the company $10B" type achievements, but they show that I can be a good leader and manager.

Try it that way and see.

As for PT vs FT, I understand that your boss and company wants you to stay because of the money they invested in you, but have you tried talking to them about it? I thought my boss was going to discourage me from applying because he likes to train his employees from ground up over a few years, but when I mentioned PT to him, he said, "PT? Stanford doesn't have PT do they? If not, you HAVE to do FT." Suffice to say, I was relieved and elated at the same time.

Moral of that story? You never know until you talk to them (maybe you already did) about it. Say you want to apply to PT, but tell them the benefits of FT and WHY you want to do FT, and see if they're open to that idea. Maybe even hint at coming back to the company for the first few years after you get your MBA to give back or something.

Hope that helps!


I agree, the sooner I ask them the better (hopefully in the next couple of weeks). This delay on my part will probably push me to R2 for all the schools, can't be helped if I want a solid app. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks![/quote]
  [#permalink] 28 Aug 2007, 04:21
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