Daily Archives: December 20, 2012

Should You Get a Business School Recommendation from an Old College Professor?

Unless your target business school specifically asks for a recommendation from a college professor, before you go ahead and reach out to that old professor from your past, read the rest of this article! Even if you are one of the few students that had a great relationship with a professor, worked individually with them throughout your college years (versus just taking a class or two) and still keep in touch, while congratulations on this accomplishment, it STILL isn’t the right thing to do.

The average applicant to a full-time MBA program is in his or her mid- to late-twenties, meaning college was at least 5-7 years ago, if not longer. While most MBA programs only accept two or three recommendations, submitting a recommendation from academia suggests that you can’t find two (or three) people from your workplace to provide a recommendation for you. If you are just graduating and haven’t had any work experience yet (hence considering the academic recommendation), you may want to consider whether schools will think you are too young or inexperienced.

Further, most professors are unable to answer many questions on the recommendation form (and a lot of “not applicable” response won’t make you look great, either) as most of their knowledge of you will be from a classroom setting versus a workplace setting.

If you are having trouble finding recommendation writers — or don’t want your current manager to know that you’re applying to business school — consider some other potential writers like a client that you have worked extensively for, an indirect manager or team lead, a former supervisor/manager, your boss’s boss (as long as they still know your work well enough) or a manager at a non-profit organization you have volunteered for consistently for a few years.

For more business school admissions advice, take a look at our book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!