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# Harsh letter of reference - what to do???

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Joined: 05 Jun 2010
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Harsh letter of reference - what to do??? [#permalink]

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09 Sep 2010, 21:22
Hi everyone,

Has anyone had this problem? My boss has rediculously high standards and is not prone to hyperbole when writing a letter of reference. In fact, he has given me a really supportive reference, but, in the minds of the adcom, I'm concerned that they will consider it as a lukewarm reference?

For example, if he says that you are 'good' at something, he is comparing this to the McKinsey standard, not the average person on the street... hence, the reference has the tendency to sound less enthuisastic than what is the case.

Does anyone have any experience on how to handle this? Is having a very candid mediocre sounding reference (that details significant achievements but does not 'talk it up') a disadvantage or would the adcom see through this and appreciate the honesty?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated?

Many thanks.
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Re: Harsh letter of reference - what to do??? [#permalink]

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09 Sep 2010, 22:07
well if your at Mck don't worry about it, if not then get another recommender, or coach him more. My recommender is the same, she get that its a reco letter though. but if they are genuine about helping you tell them to spruce it up a bit. Unless he's a total jerk why wouldn't he?

Has he already turned it in and you have seen it? If so not much you can do. I would suggest against bringing anymore attention to it. Either way if he is fair to you and speaks about your strengths and weaknesses openly then its a good letter.
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Re: Harsh letter of reference - what to do??? [#permalink]

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09 Sep 2010, 22:38
I thought about this issue for a long time .. One of my recommenders is the enthuisatic & optimistic type but the other person is similar to your boss. Its hard to get a grudge of approval from him . Most people get complaints , so if one does well , its usually just a nod of approval . However in the end I decided to go with him as I have worked with him closely for the past one year and he would be the best person to comment about me. I am hoping he can give enough details.. leave the judging to Adcom.
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Re: Harsh letter of reference - what to do??? [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2010, 08:16
this is not the forum to post questions. The knowledge vault is for links to key threads that will answer most questions. I have moved this thread to its appropriate place.
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Re: Harsh letter of reference - what to do??? [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2010, 08:29
also, don't assume just because he is sparing with praise to his workers that he will do so in a recommendation. If you work for a consulting company, it is likely he has written many recommendations for business school. In some ways, having someone who comes across as very earnest and balanced will increase the credibility of the recommendation.
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Re: Harsh letter of reference - what to do??? [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2010, 09:54
well there's nothing you can do about it unless you dont waive the right to see it which means you can see what he wrote - if bad then maybe get new rec. If he doesnt let you see it then you gotta trust him. we are at the mercy of the recs...
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Re: Harsh letter of reference - what to do???   [#permalink] 10 Sep 2010, 09:54
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