Question on B-school recs

Brady4MVP's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 3,201

I was asked to start this thread at the request of someone since he/she thought it might be helpful to other prospective applicants.

So as some of you guys know, i'm currently working on several different projects and am pretty confident that I could get 2 very solid recs. I know for a fact that my previous supervisors won't write my letters this time around, and even if they wanted to, they're terrible rec writers and won't add any value to my chances.

So the question is: how much of a red flag is it to not get a rec from a previous employer if you were with them for a long time? Would the situation be different if you're a re-applicant, and the adcom can go back and look at letters from your previous employer?

I've gotten different thoughts from various sources. A person I talked to on adcom at a M7 said that they don't care where the letters come from; they care about quality and depth. She said that adcom understands fully that situations with companies change, and it may be awkward or even detrimental to ask a previous employer for a rec. However, she did make it clear that other schools may look at this issue differently.

Any thought/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Comments (9)

Jul 20, 2012

Interested as well. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to tell my boss "please recommend me so I can go to grad school and get a better job". When they say they don't care where the letters come from: can I have a mid/high level exec that I work with as a counterpart in another area of the company recommend me?

This has been discussed before, but I fell that going through it again may uncover new details...

Jul 20, 2012
UFOinsider:

Interested as well. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to tell my boss "please recommend me so I can go to grad school and get a better job". When they say they don't care where the letters come from: can I have a mid/high level exec that I work with as a counterpart in another area of the company recommend me?

This has been discussed before, but I fell that going through it again may uncover new details...

I was just at an MBA event last night. Do not get LOR from counterparts. Admissions want to see direct supervisors. And if you can't tell your current boss, get a previous. Also, they specifically noted not to get a LOR from someone with a fancy title if they don't work directly with you.

Jul 20, 2012
valuationGURU:

I was just at an MBA event last night. Do not get LOR from counterparts. Admissions want to see direct supervisors. And if you can't tell your current boss, get a previous. Also, they specifically noted not to get a LOR from someone with a fancy title if they don't work directly with you.

Understood, thank you.

How about recs from a side job? I manage the bar I worked at during college and the owner has offered to write a recommendation for me. Is this helpful?

Jul 20, 2012
UFOinsider:
valuationGURU:

I was just at an MBA event last night. Do not get LOR from counterparts. Admissions want to see direct supervisors. And if you can't tell your current boss, get a previous. Also, they specifically noted not to get a LOR from someone with a fancy title if they don't work directly with you.

Understood, thank you.

How about recs from a side job? I manage the bar I worked at during college and the owner has offered to write a recommendation for me. Is this helpful?

They don't contact HR, they will contact the person who gave the recommendation. They want him to deal with you on a daily basis in a work capacity. I am not sure if that fits with your situation? Use past supervisors if you are unable to talk to current boss.

Jul 20, 2012
valuationGURU:
UFOinsider:
valuationGURU:

I was just at an MBA event last night. Do not get LOR from counterparts. Admissions want to see direct supervisors. And if you can't tell your current boss, get a previous. Also, they specifically noted not to get a LOR from someone with a fancy title if they don't work directly with you.

Understood, thank you.

How about recs from a side job? I manage the bar I worked at during college and the owner has offered to write a recommendation for me. Is this helpful?

They don't contact HR, they will contact the person who gave the recommendation. They want him to deal with you on a daily basis in a work capacity. I am not sure if that fits with your situation? Use past supervisors if you are unable to talk to current boss.

That works.

Again though: what is the utility towards admission of a recommendation from a boss at a side job?

Jul 21, 2012
UFOinsider:
valuationGURU:

I was just at an MBA event last night. Do not get LOR from counterparts. Admissions want to see direct supervisors. And if you can't tell your current boss, get a previous. Also, they specifically noted not to get a LOR from someone with a fancy title if they don't work directly with you.

Understood, thank you.

How about recs from a side job? I manage the bar I worked at during college and the owner has offered to write a recommendation for me. Is this helpful?

Hi UFOInsider, this is a gut reaction, but I think that the bar during college is probably too long ago and may not have enough heft to make the adcom feel like it's a proxy for your current job.

Dee Leopold, head of HBS admissions, always says it is a judgement call. I transcribed some of her comments on another thread, but what Brady et al. are saying is on target from everything I have seen and heard, particularly this point:

She said that adcom understands fully that situations with companies change, and it may be awkward or even detrimental to ask a previous employer for a rec. However, she did make it clear that other schools may look at this issue differently.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Jul 23, 2012

How about recs from a side job? I manage the bar I worked at during college and the owner has offered to write a recommendation for me. Is this helpful? .[/quote]

I manage the place nights/weekends, a staff of 50+, answer directly to owners. If this was some side gig serving tea, I wouldn't even bother. Does this change the admission equation? Most kids go home after work and watch TV or go out. I go from work...to work...seven days a week, and I'm wondering how b-schools see this

Jul 23, 2012
UFOinsider:

How about recs from a side job? I manage the bar I worked at during college and the owner has offered to write a recommendation for me. Is this helpful? ....

I manage the place nights/weekends, a staff of 50+, answer directly to owners. If this was some side gig serving tea, I wouldn't even bother. Does this change the admission equation? Most kids go home after work and watch TV or go out. I go from work...to work...seven days a week, and I'm wondering how b-schools see this

Sorry, I misunderstood. You are working now at your job and managing a bar? You are still at school and applying? I thought you were out of school and managed the bar a while ago. If you have a regular office job, they would want to see a rec from your current employer if poss. Then given the way you describe it, the bar manager would be legit second recommendation. B-schools like to see someone filling 150% of their time with productive activity. Your situation sounds very productive! They will like that. The bar rec won't be your primary, right?
B-schools like to see someone filling 150% of their time with productive activity. Your situation sounds very productive! They will like that.

sorry also I messed up the formatting.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Jul 23, 2012
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