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Trying to decide on letters of recommendation...

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Senior Manager
Senior Manager
User avatar
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 369

Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Location: London UK
Schools: LBS '11
Trying to decide on letters of recommendation... [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2008, 15:51
Hello! Trying to decide on my requests for recommendations -- as a quick profile, I have about 4.5 years of work experience in consulting, with 3.5 of those years with one Big 4 firm, and coming up on one year at my current Big 4 firm. My GPA in undergrad was mediocre (3.05), mostly due to family reasons. Also, I'm applying to non-US schools (I'm American), so both recommendations, I think, should factor in my international experience.

As a result, the first recommendation is definitely going to be my former partner from my first firm (even though he moved to another firm), since I worked with him directly for almost 2.5 years. He would be able to talk extensively about my performance at work, international experience and my personality.

What should I do about the second for most apps? I can also get a supervisor from my former firm, or I can get a rec from one of my extracurriculars advisors from undergrad, whom I still keep in touch with and knows my personal situation very well.

Advantages of second supervisor recommendation:
- Would confirm the experiences of my first recommendation

Disadvantages of second supervisor recommendation:
- Likely wouldn't add anything new to the picture

Advantages of second university recommendation:
- Would add more detail about my extracurriculars and international experience during university
- Would also provide insight on my personal situation and why my GPA was lower than expected

Disadvantages of second university recommendation:
- Though we have always been in touch, he would tend to focus on my university experience obviously, which was almost five years ago

Thoughts? I'm leaning towards the university recommendation because it would complement my first recommendation nicely (in painting a story from undergrad to my career and onwards), but I have often been told that professional references tend to be preferred over academic (not sure if this is still true).

Also, I have not considered a recommendation from my current job, because of the implications that I'll be leaving, and also because I feel one year is still not entirely enough for anyone to give me a solid recomendation (even though I'm performing well here). Will it look bad if I don't give a current supervisor recommendation?

Thanks for your input, everyone! :-D

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VP
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Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 1437

Kudos [?]: 196 [1], given: 12

Schools: Chicago Booth '11
Re: Trying to decide on letters of recommendation... [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2008, 16:15
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My opinion is not to get a university rec. They are looking for professional insight not academic. You have been out of school for over 4 years. If both recs say the same thing then that just confirms each letter and should be viewed positively.

Kudos [?]: 196 [1], given: 12

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Director
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Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 917

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Re: Trying to decide on letters of recommendation... [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2008, 17:24
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Since you are in consulting, a client would be a good option.

Kudos [?]: 57 [1], given: 0

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GMAT Club Legend
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 4318

Kudos [?]: 762 [1], given: 5

Location: Back in Chicago, IL
Schools: Kellogg Alum: Class of 2010
Re: Trying to decide on letters of recommendation... [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2008, 17:38
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I used my immediate supervisor and the head of my area (senior manager). I just made sure they both told different stories. They supported each others opinions but took different paths to show my strengths. I would stay away from undergrad recs...they are really only any good if you just graduated (or are still in school) or have an advance degree and they were your advisor/mentor.

Research how to do recommendations (there is a wikipage you can find on the main page of the site)...definitely lead your recommenders along.
_________________

Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
GMAT Club Premium Membership - big benefits and savings

Kudos [?]: 762 [1], given: 5

Senior Manager
Senior Manager
User avatar
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 369

Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Location: London UK
Schools: LBS '11
Re: Trying to decide on letters of recommendation... [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2008, 18:46
Thanks for the input!

I did look at the client route, but decided against it because most of my assignments have been < 6 months -- so I figured the length of exposure for any single client recommendation may be considered too low. Should I reconsider?

I will nix the academic recommendation -- I do plan to discuss my GPA weakness as part of optional essays anyway. But would it still be overkill or inappropriate to include a letter from or contact information for my academic advisor? I feel like input from someone at the university would lend more credibility to my undergrad situation -- but maybe I am overanalyzing too much. I know the damage is already done from my GPA, but if it'll help bolster my case...

Thanks again everyone, and I'll be sure to read the wiki as well! Still a newbie at this point, but looking forward to discussing and contributing as much as I can... :)

Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Re: Trying to decide on letters of recommendation...   [#permalink] 08 Aug 2008, 18:46
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