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Recommendations dilemma

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Recommendations dilemma [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2005, 19:49
Does anyone else feel like the only thing holding them back from applying for an MBA is the difficulty in getting recommendations?

I believe I have what it takes to be competitive at my target programs. I have the GPA, GMAT score, work experience, and if I put my mind to it, I know I'm capable of writing strong essays and interviewing well. I also am at a crossroads in my career where I feel like I've done nearly all I can at my current job, but an MBA is what will help me get to the next step. In short, ideally, I'd be putting the finishing touches on my applications right now, and hoping for the best.

So what holding me back? Recommendations, in short.

My first - actually only - choice for a recommendation from a supervisor is my current boss. But I'm in a situation where I can't tell him - at least for now - about my desire to go to b-school. We're a small company, we recently lost a couple of key staff members, and we're in the midst of a crisis. It's great to be needed, but it's also difficult because, while I know my boss thinks very highly of me, I'm terrified that he would do whatever it took to keep me there - even refusing to write a recommendation, or, worse, writing a lackluster one. Since we're a small company, I don't have any other supervisors (I'm one of 4 people on the senior management team) and I don't want anyone to know that I'm thinking of leaving just yet. So I can't ask anyone else at my office.

But this is my only full-time professional work experience. Other jobs have all been part-time or summer internships. Not only are they remote in time, but I never got to know any of my supervisors all that well. Recommendations from them wouldn't do the trick.

My intention was to get a client who I worked with extensively to write the second recommendation, but if I asked her, it would get back to my boss. Plus, that still puts me in a position where I don't have a #1 recommendation from a supervisor.

I'm really stuck on what to do. I'd pretty much decided to simply wait until next year, but I don't know if things will be much different by then. In the meantime, I feel like the time is right now.

Any suggestions?
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2005, 20:20
Altho current supervisor reco is ideal, but it is not a must. I am in a similar situation as u where I don't want to tell my boss for similar reasons. Schools understand this situation. All u need to do is to explain ur recommender choices well in the optional essay (be straightforward abt the reasons !). Get a reco from a colleague of urs with whom u have extensively worked and one from a client. Take both of them in confidence. Offcourse, if u don't even trust them, u are better off not taking a reco from them either. But I am sure, if spun properly ppl will not hesitate to help you.
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Re: Recommendations dilemma [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2005, 14:51
Expert's post
coffeeloverfreak wrote:
Does anyone else feel like the only thing holding them back from applying for an MBA is the difficulty in getting recommendations?

I believe I have what it takes to be competitive at my target programs. I have the GPA, GMAT score, work experience, and if I put my mind to it, I know I'm capable of writing strong essays and interviewing well. I also am at a crossroads in my career where I feel like I've done nearly all I can at my current job, but an MBA is what will help me get to the next step. In short, ideally, I'd be putting the finishing touches on my applications right now, and hoping for the best.

So what holding me back? Recommendations, in short.

My first - actually only - choice for a recommendation from a supervisor is my current boss. But I'm in a situation where I can't tell him - at least for now - about my desire to go to b-school. We're a small company, we recently lost a couple of key staff members, and we're in the midst of a crisis. It's great to be needed, but it's also difficult because, while I know my boss thinks very highly of me, I'm terrified that he would do whatever it took to keep me there - even refusing to write a recommendation, or, worse, writing a lackluster one. Since we're a small company, I don't have any other supervisors (I'm one of 4 people on the senior management team) and I don't want anyone to know that I'm thinking of leaving just yet. So I can't ask anyone else at my office.

But this is my only full-time professional work experience. Other jobs have all been part-time or summer internships. Not only are they remote in time, but I never got to know any of my supervisors all that well. Recommendations from them wouldn't do the trick.

My intention was to get a client who I worked with extensively to write the second recommendation, but if I asked her, it would get back to my boss. Plus, that still puts me in a position where I don't have a #1 recommendation from a supervisor.

I'm really stuck on what to do. I'd pretty much decided to simply wait until next year, but I don't know if things will be much different by then. In the meantime, I feel like the time is right now.

Any suggestions?


I agree with Bannerjee that the schools understand if you can't ask your current supervisor, but they still want a work-related rec. Can you ask one of those key staff people who recently left? A good client? Even a professional or supplier that you have worked closely with?

I don't think the rec should be the insurmoutable barrier that prevents you from applying when you are otherwise ready.

Good luck!
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Senior Manager
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2005, 15:11
The key staff members in question didn't supervise me; in fact, one was someone I supervised, and another was someone who was sort of my counterpart in another one of our offices. I'm not sure they're the best people to comment on my abilities or potential.

I was planning to ask a client, but it was my understanding that at least one reference needs to come from a current or past supervisor, and I don't really have anyone else who fits the bill.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2005, 15:30
Expert's post
coffeeloverfreak wrote:
The key staff members in question didn't supervise me; in fact, one was someone I supervised, and another was someone who was sort of my counterpart in another one of our offices. I'm not sure they're the best people to comment on my abilities or potential.

I was planning to ask a client, but it was my understanding that at least one reference needs to come from a current or past supervisor, and I don't really have anyone else who fits the bill.

Most schools don't and can't require that a supervisor provide the rec. Remember: Some applicants are self-employed. They don't have a supervisor. The client will be fine. perhaps the counter-part/peer who left can provide the second rec -- if you think this person will comment positively on your qualifications.

Again, there are many applicants who can't ask a current supervisor because for the same reasons you can't. Explain it in an optional essay or elsewhere as directed and go with other people who can comment on your qualifications.

Good luck!
_________________

Linda Abraham
Accepted
310-815-9553

Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools

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