Dear Professor…

Today’s post comes from Nita Losoponkul, a Veritas Prep head consultant for UCLA. She received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study. She has successfully helped low GPA students get admitted into UCLA. 

If you are considering requesting a recommendation from a professor from your college/university and it is NOT required by the business school that you are applying to…. STOP.   For 99% of you, this won’t be best thing to do.  Even if you are one of the few that has 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 between 27-30 years of age (29-32 for part-time MBA programs), meaning college is likely at least 5-7 years in the past, if not further away.  When most schools only allow two, maybe three recommendations, the statement that you can’t find two (or three) people from your workplace to provide a recommendation for you, and either need to (or opt to) choose an academic is a red flag to Admissions Committees.   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 green”.   Most professors are unable to answer many questions on the recommendation form (and a lot of “not applicable” or “I cannot comment” are not beneficial for you 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 for internal office political reasons can’t ask your boss), 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 (just some ideas).

Still not sure what to do?   Ask your Veritas Head Consultant or School Specialist for advice for your particular situation.  They will be happy to weigh in (you may be part of that 1% after all).  Good luck!

If you’re ready to start building your own application for top business schools, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!