Scott Edinburgh
September 13, 2015

Keeping Your MBA Plans Secret At Work? Get Letter Of Recommendation Advice

Advice & Tips: Getting recommendations from your current boss when you were not planning on making your MBA plans public

Many people have this decision to make: do you (1) keep your B school goal a secret so it does not affect your job, forcing you to ask people besides your current manager to write a recommendation or (2) tell a couple people at the office because you want them to write your recommendation, and then hope they don’t tell others

The right answer to this depends on how long you have been at your current job, how close you truly are to your manager, and who else you could get to write your recommendations. While admissions committees like recommendations from current employers, they are definitely used to people who don’t ask their current boss because their boss does not know they are leaving for school. If you are in that situation, you need to have had another full time job post undergraduate where a manager could write about your work experience. You can indicate in the optional essay why you chose not to get a recommendation from your current employer. If your only experience is your current one, that makes getting recommendations tough.

Tread carefully: if you think your boss won’t tell other people at the company, take a minute to think twice. How close is your relationship with your boss? At some companies word gets around quickly so you may be better off being upfront about it yourself.

Finally, when thinking about who to ask, think about who will write the best things about you. If your former boss loved you and would put you in the top 1-2% while your current boss would rank you high, but not that high, it may make sense to go with the older boss even though s/he has older content to write about. The choice of recommenders is an important one to debate, so make sure to spend enough time thinking about who to ask.

If you have any questions about selecting the best person to write your letters of recommendation or would like other personalized assistance putting together your applications, see more details about Personal MBA Coach services or send me an email directly to schedule a time to discuss: