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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 04:38
RLM wrote:
I got a question for you multi-round applicants :lol:

What are you guys doing with references? For me, here's my tentative R1:

UCLA, Kellogg, MIT, Schulich

So in total I need 8 reference letters. And I'm planning to have my direct supervisor be a reference on all 4 schools already, with 2 other references splitting the other 4, thereby having 8.

Now if you're applying to even more schools in R2, are you going to have to bother your supervisors again?? :shock: I think asking her for 4 reference letters is already a big hassle..... and we all know that all schools want a reference from your direct supervisor. What to do?


I am using the same two references for all my applications. I chose my direct supervisor from my previous job, and the CEO of the company I am currently working for. Both have a good understanding of my abilities and why I want an MBA, and I have worked closely with both of them on various projects. That being said, I'll have to get each of them a really nice gift to thank them for all their work after I get admitted to a school. I didn't really understand the amount of work each recommendation needed until I looked at the forms.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 07:21
I am using the same references for all my schools (maybe up to 6). I have had the same immediate supervisor for the last 3+ years and the same senior manager incharge of my division has been there for the whole time I have been there. They both have the best idea of my skill sets and that is the real reason I choose them...while typically schools don't want senior management I do a lot of work directly for our division head and am one of the few none supervisors and managers that he interacts with on a near daily basis.

While it seems like a lot to ask of someone to do all the applications I read all the recommendation forms and there is a lot of overlap, they can pretty much write the same stuff for every school. The checklists are also very similar and once you read one or two it wont be hard. They aren't like the essays we answer that are drastically different from school to school. The first one will take the majority of the time and the rest will be copy, paste, and edit for the most part.

I provided them with a guide for writing the recommendations and also my positioning statement (why, why now, why these schools, and what I want to do afterwards). I have also spent a pretty good length of time talking with them and have gotten across the sense of importance in these recommendations and my whole reasoning and goals for an MBA.

Since I come from a field where not many people get MBAs I wanted to give them as much guidance as I can. Both of my division head's brothers have attended top b-schools so he does have a good sense of what it will do for my career and he is very supportive of it. But since this is the one area that adcoms say is constantly overlooked I want maximize the effectiveness of my recommendations and if it means giving them tons of pointers on what schools want then so be it.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 07:27
I just started a new job 2 weeks ago so I'm not using my current supervisor for a reference. Instead, I'm using all three of my former co-workers at my former job (there were only for of us, I worked there for 5 years). They were all supervisors. Most schools only need 2 so I'm using different combinations of them for the different schools. 2 of them are more quantitative/academic economists so I'm using them for the more quantitative schools references. My other reference is more a project management/team/IT person so I'm using her in those situations.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 09:16
I think if your supervisor and recommenders are supportive, they won't mind writing that many recs. I just had a talk with my boss, a director, and he said he's going to "try everything he can" to get me into Stanford and Haas. I mentioned that I may be applying to 4 schools and if he minded writing so many recs, and he said, "once you do one, the others should be very easy, don't worry about it!"

I was quite elated after that meeting, as 1. I wasn't sure if he was fully supportive, and 2. I wasn't sure if he would write 4 recs.

I have a meeting with my previous manager next week, he might be more reluctant to write that many, but we'll see.

I suggest you talk to them, express the importance of those letters and your MBA education, and see where it goes.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 09:24
Agreed. Luckily when I approached my former supervisors they were actually excited to write my recs. I explained to them they should be able to write up a general template and then just change a few things from school to school, so it wouldn't be that much work. They understood that plenty since we used the same process to do a lot of our memos/reports when we worked together.

I'm sure I will receive extremely positive recs, so I hope they count for something. From what I've read online they aren't weighted very heavily.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 09:30
Letters of recommendation do matter. Maybe not as much as the essays, GPA, and GMAT but they are an important factor in the evaluation process. Remember, strong letters of recco can make a big difference...at least that's the impression I've gotten from Montauk. Plus, there is a benefit if your recco is written by an alumnus (although I don't know how much being an alumnus does matter.)
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 09:33
Asking for recs has been the nerveracking part of the whole experience thus far. Where I work it takes two years to get the clearance complete the necessary training and qualifications before you are really able to do a much work...it doesn't matter if you have no work experience or are 20 years out of school everyone still has to go through the same process. By my leaving I know the impact its going to have because of the large amount of responsibility I have at my job.

My immediate supervisor looked hurt that I was leaving, a lot of it has to do with the fact that he has me take on a lot of work that normally supervisors do. He said he would still give me great recommendations but he wished I was going to stay even though he understands why I want to go back. My division head on the other hand seems excited about it, he said he wished he gotten an MBA at my age and was joking that once I am done he will hire me back as a manager or that I can hire him to work for me haha.

My biggest worry right now is that the other engineer who I share a lot of areas of responsibility with is considering a job move...if he does then my work is really going to be hurting. So for pure selfish reasons I hope he doesn't make a move until after my recommendations are done...I don't believe my bosses would sabotage my plans but you hear stories of that happening. (more paranoia)
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 09:33
Yeah, that is one reason I've considered applying to both Cornell and Berkeley - two of my former supervisors graduated from Cornell (one Masters, one PhD), and one of them now works for Lawrence Berkeley Labs (part of UC). I like their programs too, of course, but I wonder if the "connections" help at all.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 09:44
jjanders wrote:
Yeah, that is one reason I've considered applying to both Cornell and Berkeley - two of my former supervisors graduated from Cornell (one Masters, one PhD), and one of them now works for Lawrence Berkeley Labs (part of UC). I like their programs too, of course, but I wonder if the "connections" help at all.


I think that they help. Especially if your reco's are written by people who know members of the adcom. How much it helps, I don't know but it's definitely a plus.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 10:18
Wow those are some good pointers! Thanks to everyone for sharing their scenarios. I'll definitely take a look at how much overlap there are between schools' rec forms... (for the ones that I have access to, ie. not mailed directly to the reference) if they're quite similar then I won't feel as guilty having my supervisor do all 4. :lol: As you guys mentioned maybe I'll even come up with a set of template points and give them to my references, it'll probably ease their workload by a bit.

By the way I just spoke to my supervisor to give her a heads-up on my intention to apply to business school. Didn't get exactly the same reaction as I had hoped. :cry: Her reaction was basically that I should definitely aim for an MBA for attaining the credibility and maturity, but only to part-time programs, and also only when I have a few more years of exp under my belt. If I matriculate next fall I'll have 3 years of exp + another 16 months internship exp, so I don't think I'm really sub-par in that aspect. I think her reaction was due to the fact that no one from our dept has left to pursue a full-time MBA before, so she wasn't so sure what to make of it and whether it's the right thing for me to do. Anyways I didn't mention the reference thing since she didn't seem to be fully-supportive as of yet. I think I have to do more convincing and really ease her into it...
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 10:47
I'm at the point where I need to ask for recommendations and I'm really nervous. I work in construction where the only people who have advanced degrees have them in engineering and I've actually heard vice presidents say that they dont care about a "damn MBA". If I was going for an MS then it wouldnt be as bad, but as soon as they know it for an MBA program I'll become an outsider. I can kiss my bonuses goodbye and my raises are going to disapear. :cry:
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 11:14
somewhere along the line the thread got hijacked.

good to se others being indecisive (I'm not the only one). Actually I dont think its being indecisive....its more a case of reevaluating your options with more information.

R1 - GSB Chicago, Wharton, Stanford
R2 - MIT, Tuck, Yale, Berkley??
R3 - Pheonix School of Business Online
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 11:27
sangoman wrote:
R3 - Pheonix School of Business Online


If I don't get my act together we'll be online classmates. :horror
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 11:27
The recommendation part is really the worst part until the wait for accept/ding/waitlist in my mind. Even if you think your boss will accept it there is always a chance they wont. Thankfully I got my major promotion a few months ago and everything is done now so my decision isn't going to affect that; though I don't believe my boss is that kind of person anyways. Make sure that when you do talk to them about it and ask for a recommendation word is such that you give them an out:

"I was wondering if you would give me a recommendation" does not give them the wiggle room, its either yes or no and in reality its a rhetorical question since pretty much no one is going to say no.

Instead try:
"I realize that this will be a commitment on your part but do you feel that you will have the time to provide me with an excellent recommendation." The statement has several keys:
1) an easy out for them if they don't want to give you a recommendation
2) makes sure they understand its a time commitment so if they don't have time they wont accept then through a quick rec together that isn't going to help you at all.
3) it also lets them know you are specifically wanting an excellent recommendation so if they can't do that then they can say no and you never have to know if its the time commitment or because they think you aren't worthy.

My advice is go in and make sure they know its nothing personal against what you do or the people you work with. You have determined that it is the best thing at this point in your career to help you reach your career goals...and you BETTER know that it is and not just believe it or else you need to be good at BSing. After the accept the job of giving you a recommendation dont just leave it there or else you might get Johnnie is a great worker who can program with the best of them and always shows up to work on time.

Personally I think its fairly common on here to have people that seem to be applying pretty early in their career. They very well might be much better off waiting a year or two. Much like the GMAT you know the bench mark for schools so if you are applying with a couple less years experience than the average at the school thats like applying with a low GMAT or GPA...you better be able to have very convincing essays as to why you need an MBA now and wouldn't be better off waiting a few years and getting some more leadership experience. I know personally I don't want to deal with this process again and I doubt there are very few people who would.

The key before you go telling your boss you are applying to B-school is to do some soul searching and determine if this is the ideal time for you to do it. I was going to get a masters of engineering 2 years ago but I am glad I thought twice about doing that at that point in my career. Don't get caught up in the hype about salaries and jobs. Also don't fall into the trap of trying to compare yourself to profiles on websites they don't give a true picture of the people.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 13:26
riverripper wrote:
The recommendation part is really the worst part until the wait for accept/ding/waitlist in my mind. Even if you think your boss will accept it there is always a chance they wont. Thankfully I got my major promotion a few months ago and everything is done now so my decision isn't going to affect that; though I don't believe my boss is that kind of person anyways. Make sure that when you do talk to them about it and ask for a recommendation word is such that you give them an out:

"I was wondering if you would give me a recommendation" does not give them the wiggle room, its either yes or no and in reality its a rhetorical question since pretty much no one is going to say no.

Instead try:
"I realize that this will be a commitment on your part but do you feel that you will have the time to provide me with an excellent recommendation." The statement has several keys:
1) an easy out for them if they don't want to give you a recommendation
2) makes sure they understand its a time commitment so if they don't have time they wont accept then through a quick rec together that isn't going to help you at all.
3) it also lets them know you are specifically wanting an excellent recommendation so if they can't do that then they can say no and you never have to know if its the time commitment or because they think you aren't worthy.

My advice is go in and make sure they know its nothing personal against what you do or the people you work with. You have determined that it is the best thing at this point in your career to help you reach your career goals...and you BETTER know that it is and not just believe it or else you need to be good at BSing. After the accept the job of giving you a recommendation dont just leave it there or else you might get Johnnie is a great worker who can program with the best of them and always shows up to work on time.

Personally I think its fairly common on here to have people that seem to be applying pretty early in their career. They very well might be much better off waiting a year or two. Much like the GMAT you know the bench mark for schools so if you are applying with a couple less years experience than the average at the school thats like applying with a low GMAT or GPA...you better be able to have very convincing essays as to why you need an MBA now and wouldn't be better off waiting a few years and getting some more leadership experience. I know personally I don't want to deal with this process again and I doubt there are very few people who would.

The key before you go telling your boss you are applying to B-school is to do some soul searching and determine if this is the ideal time for you to do it. I was going to get a masters of engineering 2 years ago but I am glad I thought twice about doing that at that point in my career. Don't get caught up in the hype about salaries and jobs. Also don't fall into the trap of trying to compare yourself to profiles on websites they don't give a true picture of the people.


Excellent advice about how to deal with the boss 8-) As for the timing of getting an MBA, I've thought about it long and hard and I know it's definitely the right time, and have very clear short and long term post-MBA goals I want to work towards (Product/brand management on IT side of entertainment/media industry, and then starting my own firm that fuses my tech and music backgrounds). Although I have clear goals and have had quite a bit of leadership exposure, I think my supervisor thinks it's too early because she hasn't dealt with a "career changer" like me before, and everyone she's had contact with used their MBAs to boost their current careers. In particular her husband is a director at a tech firm, who did a part-time MBA when he was 36, and was rapidly promoted within his field thereafter. So it isn't apparent to her how an MBA at my age (27) will help me, but I guess it's me who has to do the convincing!

Ok, enough with hi-jacking this thread! Let's get back to who's applying where 8-)
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 22:04
kryzak wrote:
"once you do one, the others should be very easy, don't worry about it!"


Hope he won't copy paste responses from Stanford Reco into Hass Reco :P
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2007, 00:19
aurobindo wrote:
Hope he won't copy paste responses from Stanford Reco into Hass Reco :P


Yeah, he actually sent me a copy of one he wrote for someone else... let's just say him and I need to work together on it a couple revisions ;)
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2007, 01:11
I am using a crude method.

Dumped all the questions into one paper. Forwarded it to my boss. Asked her to fill all questions - no exceptions. Then I sort out the questions for each specific school, show them to her and ask her to tweak them to fill in the needs of each school.

Efficient, little or no questions asked, but quality may not be up to the mark. I am not pushing my luck much. My relationship with one of my managers has hit rock bottom. The **** has an MBA but feels insanely jealous if he finds out others want to do an MBA.

Sigh!!!

I told him I am applying to Chapman University and some random university in Mexico. That should keep him happy for a while.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2007, 01:30
I am stuck with choosing the 3rd recommendor for HBS and STAN. I have chosen my current supervisor and the previous supervisor for the 1st and 2nd recommendations.

What do you people suggest for the third one?
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2007, 01:42
Hm.. update after conversation with Kellogg student:

R1 (for sure) - Stanford, Haas, UCLA, Kellogg (most likely)
R2 - Probably none.

Not looking forward to 4 schools in the next 2 months!
  [#permalink] 25 Aug 2007, 01:42
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