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Recommendation from professor when directions say otherwise

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Recommendation from professor when directions say otherwise [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2007, 18:31
In the application of one school, the directions for recommendations say, "...from full time or part time employers, colleagues, or clients..."

If I were to point out a weak point in my application, it would be work experience. When I apply, I will only have had 2 years experience. On top of that, I am working out of the country in a job that doesn't really require me to interact too often with my co-workers. I have already procured a letter from my supervisor, but his English isn't so great. I have an old professor that writes brilliantly and actually knows me better than any of my co-workers. She could attest to not only my academic ability, but my work ethic as well (I was working 40 hours per week during college). We also worked together one on one on a research project because I was chosen to present at the Student Research Seminar. I know that the rules say "employers, colleagues, or clients", but I think a letter from my old professor would put me in a better light than a letter from a co-worker that barely knows me and can hardly write in English.

I thought I would ask here first before I ask the school. Do schools bend on rules like this, or is it set in stone? The school in question isn't SO highly ranked (near-elite frontier I believe). Do any of you have any experience in this? Thanks.
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Re: Recommendation from professor when directions say otherw [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2007, 20:39
A less highly-ranked school is less likely to care. The lower the ranking, generally the less picky they are. Nevertheless...

Nearly 100% of the schools I looked at do NOT want professors. They say that b-school is a career-focused, professional school where recommendations from professors just don't make as much sense. They want to know about you at work, and are less interested in you at school. You'll notice that most of the application essays are really looking for work and life info, and not for school info.

There seem to be two exceptions to this rule: college seniors and those who engaged in substantial work with their profs. I don't know if the research you described would be substantial, but it might be.

So, no, generally you should not use a professor. However, if you feel that is truly your best option, and you've exhausted all other reasonable possibilities, then do what you need to do. Overall, I would guess that a good letter from the wrong person is better than a bad letter from the right person.

That's my take.

justin520 wrote:
In the application of one school, the directions for recommendations say, "...from full time or part time employers, colleagues, or clients..."

If I were to point out a weak point in my application, it would be work experience. When I apply, I will only have had 2 years experience. On top of that, I am working out of the country in a job that doesn't really require me to interact too often with my co-workers. I have already procured a letter from my supervisor, but his English isn't so great. I have an old professor that writes brilliantly and actually knows me better than any of my co-workers. She could attest to not only my academic ability, but my work ethic as well (I was working 40 hours per week during college). We also worked together one on one on a research project because I was chosen to present at the Student Research Seminar. I know that the rules say "employers, colleagues, or clients", but I think a letter from my old professor would put me in a better light than a letter from a co-worker that barely knows me and can hardly write in English.

I thought I would ask here first before I ask the school. Do schools bend on rules like this, or is it set in stone? The school in question isn't SO highly ranked (near-elite frontier I believe). Do any of you have any experience in this? Thanks.
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Re: Recommendation from professor when directions say otherw [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2007, 11:43
aaudetat wrote:
A less highly-ranked school is less likely to care. The lower the ranking, generally the less picky they are. Nevertheless...

Nearly 100% of the schools I looked at do NOT want professors. They say that b-school is a career-focused, professional school where recommendations from professors just don't make as much sense. They want to know about you at work, and are less interested in you at school. You'll notice that most of the application essays are really looking for work and life info, and not for school info.

There seem to be two exceptions to this rule: college seniors and those who engaged in substantial work with their profs. I don't know if the research you described would be substantial, but it might be.

So, no, generally you should not use a professor. However, if you feel that is truly your best option, and you've exhausted all other reasonable possibilities, then do what you need to do. Overall, I would guess that a good letter from the wrong person is better than a bad letter from the right person.

That's my take.


I agree with Aau. The recommenders ranking seems to be:

1) Current Manager.
2) Former manager.
3) Current Customer.
4) Former Customer.
5) Current Co-worker (unless they require a peer assessment).
6) Former Co-worker (ditto).
7) Someone from some extra curricular activity.
8) Professor.
9) Parents.
10) Pet.

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 [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2007, 13:57
Ok, so I sent the University an email (under a different identity of course) telling them my situation, minus any details that would let them know who might be asking the question. They said, "The recommenders you describe are appropriate for your situation. Please let us know if you have any other questions." So, do you all think they are actually OK with it, or would they say anything to get another person to apply to help their percentages?
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Re: Recommendation from professor when directions say otherw [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2007, 19:24
lepium wrote:

I agree with Aau. The recommenders ranking seems to be:

1) Current Manager.
2) Former manager.
3) Current Customer.
4) Former Customer.
5) Current Co-worker (unless they require a peer assessment).
6) Former Co-worker (ditto).
7) Someone from some extra curricular activity.
8) Professor.
9) Parents.
10) Pet.

L.-


I could have used a pet? Dang it, I wish I would have known that last year.

I would say that, at best, a recommendation from a Professor would be neutral to your application. Sure, they are willing to accept it; their main goal is to increase application volume, but I'd avoid it if you have any possible alternative.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2007, 20:27
Here's a question for the fall 07ers:

In the grand scheme of things, can a recommendation sway the adcom from a ding to admit? I get the feeling it's more of a checklist, "Okay, applicant A has two superiors who don't think he's a jerk." I think recommendations have more potential to do harm than good.

Input folks?
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2007, 14:33
That seems a fair summary.

I'm like that when I hire. A red flag in the recommendation will bomb your candidacy. A good recommendation will support an existing desire to hire you. If I don't dig you that much, I can't see a recommendation changing my mind.

I do suppose in more specific terms, if I am worried that you seem shy, for example, and your recommender says, "he seems quiet at first, but always becomes more open and assertive" then my mind might be set at ease on that one specific issue.

But on the whole, I think you've got it right.
  [#permalink] 18 Aug 2007, 14:33
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Recommendation from professor when directions say otherwise

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