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Recommender advice please?

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Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2008, 00:54
sigh... I'm running into issues with LORs because of my lack of WE and the structure of my company (up until a year ago, it was very rare to have a manager for more than 3-4 months, because teams kept changing, my role kept changing, projects kept changing, etc)

1st rec - direct manager - she knows me well and was an English major (great writer - been my manager for the past year)

Below are my choices for my 2nd and 3rd recs:

A teammate - on the same team in a similar function, but handles different projects & industries than I do. (known her for over 2 years)

A colleague on a different team - he and I were both mentors in the same program. I worked with him on developing a training program for him and helped him lose 120 lbs in 2 years. We did a project together for an operations management class that ended up having actual business impact. (known him for over 2 years)

My director - manager's manager - he does not know me very well (he is relatively new to the company *6 months), most of my work that he knows is bubbled up from my manager.

A manager in one of the industry verticals I'm currently helping - only worked with her for 3 months

A manager in a previous industry vertical I helped with - only worked with him for 4 months

A manager on a different team that works closely with my team - I've worked with him on a few different initiatives on and off for 6 months, but have had some good and some soso experiences - he may or may not write a great recommendation for me (riskier than some of the others, but probably not too bad)

A Haas professor (completely unsure about this one, since its academic and not professional) - I've taken 2 classes with her and have been active in case discussions, done well on projects/papers, and have a good overall relationship with her.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on who I should chose for my 2nd recommender (and in the case of HBS/Stanford, 3rd recommender) :)
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Re: Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2008, 01:07
I would say use one of the managers from the industry verticals that you helped with. Your director doesn't seem to know you very well and the risky manager just doesn't sound like a good idea at all, so eliminate both of those. Use your colleague from a different team as your 3rd recommendation for HBS. I base my suggestions on how well I think these people know your work.
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Re: Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2008, 01:13
Thanks for the advice YihWei :)

btw - to clarify - the manager I labeled as 'risky' is a straight-shooter - so as long as I tell him up front to please only agree to write my recommendation if he thinks he can write me a strong recommendation, he'll let me know. -so potentially worth a try here?
Just thought I'd add that additional piece of info~
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Re: Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2008, 01:32
jasonc wrote:
Thanks for the advice YihWei :)

btw - to clarify - the manager I labeled as 'risky' is a straight-shooter - so as long as I tell him up front to please only agree to write my recommendation if he thinks he can write me a strong recommendation, he'll let me know. -so potentially worth a try here?
Just thought I'd add that additional piece of info~

Does he have an MBA? How is the quality of his writing? If the answers are, "yes" and "good", and he agrees to give you a positive recommendation then he is your best bet for #2. I think the fact that you've had both good and so-so experiences with him is a positive thing. It gives him a lot more information to shape his recommendation. He can give you a glowing review with regards to your good results while also pinpointing possible area(s) of improvement.

I'm jealous. You have so many potential letter of recommendation writers. I only have two myself and if either of them decided to bail I would totally be up a creek without a paddle!
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Re: Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2008, 14:09
YihWei wrote:
jasonc wrote:
Thanks for the advice YihWei :)

btw - to clarify - the manager I labeled as 'risky' is a straight-shooter - so as long as I tell him up front to please only agree to write my recommendation if he thinks he can write me a strong recommendation, he'll let me know. -so potentially worth a try here?
Just thought I'd add that additional piece of info~

Does he have an MBA? How is the quality of his writing? If the answers are, "yes" and "good", and he agrees to give you a positive recommendation then he is your best bet for #2. I think the fact that you've had both good and so-so experiences with him is a positive thing. It gives him a lot more information to shape his recommendation. He can give you a glowing review with regards to your good results while also pinpointing possible area(s) of improvement.

I'm jealous. You have so many potential letter of recommendation writers. I only have two myself and if either of them decided to bail I would totally be up a creek without a paddle!


He has a PhD (in something science/math related... not sure what - I think it may be some kind of statistics) but no MBA - should have pretty good writing skills

credentials of the other people I listed above:
both vertical managers are from HBS
My director... not sure about his educational background, but his professional background is as follows: he worked at McKinsey for ~10 years before joining a few different startups then my company

I may have many potential letters of rec - but none of them are very good imo (don't know most of them well enough)...

I'd rather have 2 quality recs than 5 soso ones :p

btw - are teammates/colleagues bad choices? I know most people say peers are a bad choice - I wasn't sure if that meant social peers or professional peers o_O
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Re: Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2008, 14:31
Most schools tell you not to use peers. Some require a 3rd recommendation that is supposed to be a peer but that is very very rare. I would recommend talking with the clients and your director to judge their responsiveness to your idea. Obviously you would have to tell your director your plans which may not be something you want to do. Schools often do ask where your recommender went to school so having HBS or another big name school might give a little weight.

I would not use a peer or a professor unless you are still a student or have an advanced degree and they were your mentor.
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Re: Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 11:48
I pretty much selected the people below whom you could find as your 2nd or 3rd Recs. From my knowledge, only Stanford asks for a 3rd peer rec. I don't know whether HBS asks for a peer as the 3rd or a manager. For your 3rd rec at Stanford, you can definitely use one of your teammates that you've helped a lot.

For your 2nd, you need to pick from the ones below. I would probably pick the manager in a previous industry vertical, just because that guy can write about completed projects you've done for him, which makes the rec a little more powerful.

jasonc wrote:
Below are my choices for my 2nd and 3rd recs:

My director - manager's manager - he does not know me very well (he is relatively new to the company *6 months), most of my work that he knows is bubbled up from my manager.

A manager in one of the industry verticals I'm currently helping - only worked with her for 3 months

A manager in a previous industry vertical I helped with - only worked with him for 4 months

A manager on a different team that works closely with my team - I've worked with him on a few different initiatives on and off for 6 months, but have had some good and some soso experiences - he may or may not write a great recommendation for me (riskier than some of the others, but probably not too bad)

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Re: Recommender advice please? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 17:31
kryzak wrote:
I pretty much selected the people below whom you could find as your 2nd or 3rd Recs. From my knowledge, only Stanford asks for a 3rd peer rec. I don't know whether HBS asks for a peer as the 3rd or a manager. For your 3rd rec at Stanford, you can definitely use one of your teammates that you've helped a lot.

For your 2nd, you need to pick from the ones below. I would probably pick the manager in a previous industry vertical, just because that guy can write about completed projects you've done for him, which makes the rec a little more powerful.

jasonc wrote:
Below are my choices for my 2nd and 3rd recs:

My director - manager's manager - he does not know me very well (he is relatively new to the company *6 months), most of my work that he knows is bubbled up from my manager.

A manager in one of the industry verticals I'm currently helping - only worked with her for 3 months

A manager in a previous industry vertical I helped with - only worked with him for 4 months

A manager on a different team that works closely with my team - I've worked with him on a few different initiatives on and off for 6 months, but have had some good and some soso experiences - he may or may not write a great recommendation for me (riskier than some of the others, but probably not too bad)


Thanks for all the responses.
I think I may use my previous direct manager as the 2nd recommender for most of my schools (now that I think about it, she just recently returned from a sabbatical. She can definitely speak to my proactive nature/innovation, and a work related challenge).

I called Kellogg today to ask about some stuff and mentioned LORs as well - they said that having a teammate who knows me write my second recommendation is great since my other recommendation is already coming from someone above me (my direct manager), and that as long as I think the 2 recommendations will provide additional perspective about me and know me well, then there is no problem with using a teammate.

I'm not sure if thats just the front desk person making stuff up o_O
Kellogg students/alums/applicants - thoughts?
Re: Recommender advice please?   [#permalink] 13 Aug 2008, 17:31
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