MBA Rec Letter Questions...

A few quick rec letter questions for those who have already gone through the MBA application process:

1) I am taking a shot at one or two programs this year, and plan to continue in my current role if I don't get in. In the interest of preserving relations with my current employer, I was considering asking for a rec letter from a recently-retired MD who I worked closely with on several deals and who I know could maintain discretion regarding my plans. Would this A) be viewed negatively as he is not a current superior, and B) should I address this choice in the optional essay?

2) Any ideas you guys have used for a second rec letter? I was thinking the chair of a charity I sit on the junior board for and have some solid involvement with. Better to do two professional recs?

Not sure if this matters, but the schools these will be going to are in the 15-25 range ranking wise. Thanks in advance.

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Comments (3)

Dec 29, 2018

Hi Beers, hope I can help. Do any of these links cover what you're looking for:

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  • Did I screw myself with this letter of rec from b-school prof teamwork, etc.). 2nd letter of rec: Here's the issue. I worked at a top 5 b-school as a research ... founder I worked for in between b-school prof and my current role at technology company, who thinks I walk ... which b-school professor probably won't do (for good reason; I am not a genius). But b-school ...
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  • Maintaining a relationship during b-school in similar situations. Thanks a lot. MBA B-School relationships mfin ... myself marrying this girl. She applied to business schools during round 1, and I did applications for ... round 2, for mba as well as mfin. She was lucky enough to get into her first choice and already sent in ...
  • Unusual Background and B-School Questions b-school applications. Any thoughts on this? ... I graduated from a HYPSM school a handful of years ago with a pure math major and significant ... not looking great. If I am forced to walk away, I am considering applying to MBA programs this fall. ...
  • More suggestions...

You're welcome.

Most Helpful
Jan 1, 2019

Hi Beers,

To address your questions:

1) As long as you worked closely with the MD and the can answer the questions from personal experience recently working with/supervising you, he sounds like an excellent recommender. Asking him will not be viewed negatively. However, many schools ask you to address why you are not using your current direct supervisor. If they ask you to do so, do it.

2) The second questions is a little murkier. First of all, follow any instructions or guidance given by the school. Some really prefer professional recs from supervisors. Some are more option to peer or non-professional recs. Assuming your target schools are open to a non-professional rec, then I have a couple of questions: Would he second potential professional recommender be someone who knows you well and is willing to write a strong letter? Is the charity a significant commitment of yours? If it's not, I would try to get another professional rec. If it is a significant commitment and the second professional rec is a little more distant or less enthusiastic, then I'd go with the charity.

For more advice on letters of recommendation, please see

*What if the President of the United States Wrote Your Letter of Recommendation?

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

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Jan 1, 2019