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# reference letters

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reference letters [#permalink]

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05 Feb 2008, 23:51
anyone else feel bad for asking referees to write multiple letters?
seems like every school wants something different
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2008, 09:08
Of course I felt bad. My manager is the GM for 400 people...he's rarely in the office and is always running around like a headless chicken. I knew how much time I was taking out of his day to write my rec.

I tried to make it as easy for them as possible--provide examples for every answer, be super organized, make sure they're clear on deadlines, etc. Basically do everything you can, short of writing the recommendation, to make it as easy as possible for your references to help you.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2008, 09:22
I agree with MBA. Just make it as easy as possible for them to write the letter. Hopefully, you pick people who truly want you to succeed and get into a B-school, so they will take the time to write a solid letter.

Plus I know when I'm older, I'll be writing recos and references. It's part of life!
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2008, 09:30
You may want to have your recommender write a standard recommendation letter that you can use for every school that you're applying to. Please check these two links:

http://www.mbaapplicant.com/recommendation_guide.htm

http://www.mbaapplicant.com/universal_r ... dation.htm

Cheers,

Lumone
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2008, 14:12
yes, but I definitely did what mba2010 did, just "rhyme" style. Meaning, 40+ pages of my background, specific outlines for each question with multiple examples for them to choose from, coaching letter on what's important in a rec letter, etc...

I don't recommend my method to everyone, but in short, if you give them enough material to write a letter in just a couple of hours, it won't be too bad. I would also limit the number of letters to at most 5... unless that recommender is super gung-ho about writing letters for you.

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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2008, 14:24
kryzak wrote:
yes, but I definitely did what mba2010 did, just "rhyme" style. Meaning, 40+ pages of my background, specific outlines for each question with multiple examples for them to choose from, coaching letter on what's important in a rec letter, etc...

I don't recommend my method to everyone, but in short, if you give them enough material to write a letter in just a couple of hours, it won't be too bad. I would also limit the number of letters to at most 5... unless that recommender is super gung-ho about writing letters for you.

this link will be placed in the knowledge vault.

I'd make it as short as possible. You're not saving these people any time by giving them 40 pages to read through! Give them the highlights...otherwise, you risk having them fill in your rec with the other 20 pages of fodder you filled your packet with. Of course, Kry culd just be way awesomer than me, mandating the 40 pages.

Mine consisted of: cover letter with due dates printed in red, top 10 things to remember about writing recs (from clear admit or accepted), performance reviews from the last couple years, personal highlights, my resume, and rec forms for 4 schools I applied to (filled out by me with examples)....so....about 15-20 pages.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2008, 14:39
haha, as I said, *don't* follow my lead unless that's your style. =)

Also, to be fair, 15 of the pages were just lists of ECs and internships, just in case they wanted to know. then since the questions somewhat repeat for each school, that made some duplicate pages. The examples for each question were actually requested by my recommenders, who originally wanted *me* to write the rec letter and have them sign it (I refused and went with the "outline" compromise). They said more info the better, so I gave it to them.

I had a post somewhere about my breakdown, but I think it's roughly:

2-3 pages on importance of rec letters and basics of writing them
2-3 pages on my Why MBA, Why this school, Why now, and how I positioned myself for each school
4-5 pages answering each question from each school with specific examples in outline form. (repeat 3x more for 4 total schools)
10-15 pages of EC, work experience outlines (optional reading)

My belief is to give the recommenders ALL the info they need, but also tell them which ones are must reads and which ones are optional.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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03 Jan 2009, 17:04
Did you guys asked for 2 prof recommendations (meaning: supervisors, coworkers)....or did most of you used 1 peer (from EC/clubs, etc) + 1 workplace to get a better variations of positive traits?
any advice on this?
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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03 Jan 2009, 17:20
I recommend you stay away from peer recommendations.

All recommendations should come from someone that can assess your professional qualities.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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03 Jan 2009, 19:26
ninkorn wrote:
I recommend you stay away from peer recommendations.

All recommendations should come from someone that can assess your professional qualities.

I disagree - peers can sometimes assess your capabilities better than some supervisors. If you had significant EC experience with a person your age, I see nothing wrong with having him or her submit a rec. I think it would add a fresh perspective to the two of your other supervisor recs.

There is no right formula - it all depends on the experiences you shared with this person. Sometimes peers aren't good for recs, sometimes they are.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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03 Jan 2009, 19:44
foodstamp wrote:
ninkorn wrote:
I recommend you stay away from peer recommendations.

All recommendations should come from someone that can assess your professional qualities.

I disagree - peers can sometimes assess your capabilities better than some supervisors. If you had significant EC experience with a person your age, I see nothing wrong with having him or her submit a rec. I think it would add a fresh perspective to the two of your other supervisor recs.

There is no right formula - it all depends on the experiences you shared with this person. Sometimes peers aren't good for recs, sometimes they are.

I agree with Ninkorn, if you only get 2 recommendations I think it would be better to look for people who have supervised or overseen your work, whether in your actual job or an EC. In general, I don't think a peer recommendation would be looked at as having the same objectivity and perspective.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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04 Jan 2009, 02:43
Thanks for the input guys.
That's what I thought. Peer's rec might be looked at differently, even though it gives a new perspective (I think Stanford requires 1 from peer too.. if I am not mistaken).
The dilemma: I've been working in the same company..so If I ask for 2 recs from 1 direct report + 1 mentor, they'll prolly mention the same stuff that I did for the company.
I'll think about this more when the time comes.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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04 Jan 2009, 15:07
If you only have 2 recs, then both should be someone who has a "superior" relationship with you. Supervisors, clients, directors, someone you worked for, etc... A peer rec, while adding new perspective about your candidacy, is not looked upon with great respect, simply because it is a lot easier to ask a buddy/friend to be your "peer" and write a good rec for you.

Stanford does ask for 3 recs, and the 3rd must be from a peer. For other schools that ask for more than 2 recs, I think a peer rec would be appropriate.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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04 Jan 2009, 22:52
Agree on not using peers. Also agree that the whole process is a pain for recommenders. You definitely want to sit down with them at the begining and briefly walk them through the process. During this meeting you should give them your rec package and you should show them all the areas where the questions for your schools overlap. Make sure they know you're available for anything they need as they work through the process. Here's what I included in my rec package:

Questions from all my schools (pointed out overlapping areas to recommenders)
Resume
Goals Essay
1-Page of pointers for writing good recs
1-2 Pages with key qualities I wanted them to highlight, specific examples that demonstrated those qualities and 1-2 weaknesses they could use

I tried to keep my rec package short and sweet. If I gave them too much I knew they wouldn't read it. In fact, when I gave them the package I said if you don't want to read the whole thing please at least read the 1-2 page document highlighting key qualities with examples.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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05 Jan 2009, 08:17
My recommenders were incredibly generous and agreed to write the 8 letters needed for R1.
Here's what I gave them:

- 1 page document w/ quick overview of how bschool app process works, names of schools I was applying to, recom due dates and decision dates
- Questions from all my schools
- Resume
- 2 page Document outlining goals, reasons why I want to go to bschool, why I'm picking each school, key qualities to highlight, examples of weaknesses
- 1 page of pointers for writing good recs

hope this helps
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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05 Jan 2009, 08:46
I took a somewhat different approach to this, based on my view that B-schools should be more like other professional schools in respecting their applicants' time and effort.

First off, I didn't submit any of the special recommenders' forms that each school has. I asked each of my recs to write a simple, thorough recommendation letter, based on the kinds of questions that each school posed on its recommender form (since they're all substantially similar). Then I had them send those letters - confidentially - to a service I use called Interfolio.com. A lot of undergrad career services offices do this, but mine outsourced it - they just keep rec letters on file and send them out to the programs you request. I sent those letters to each school I applied to.

This means that each of my recommenders, who are all very busy people, just had to write a single, good letter. Easier for them and me. Cheaper, too.

I was a little concerned how the schools I was applying to would view this, but after calling them up, only one (Kellogg) really and truly insisted that the recommender form be attached. Asked why, they just said, "because that's our policy," which in my view is a stupid rationale. Several schools (Duke, UVA and Berkeley) specifically said it wouldn't affect their decision. Honestly, any adcom member who dinged you for something as picayune as that isn't judging you solely based on your merits.
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Re: reference letters [#permalink]

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05 Jan 2009, 09:51
My old supervisor from my first company is retired, and my current manager is on medical leave. So lets just say that they have nothing better to do
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Re: reference letters   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2009, 09:51
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