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I've finally decided perhaps getting a Master's degree might be a good idea, and I've been looking at graduate school programs.

 

One of the requirements includes submitting three letters of recommendation from teachers or practicing professionals. I'm applying for interaction design programs.

 

My question is, who would I include for the teachers or practicing professionals in my references? I received my bachelors about 9 years ago in an unrelated field and worked as a teacher for several years and now I'm working in executive administration. Very varied background.

 

I'm already learning as much as I can about interaction design and graphic arts on my own time -and have been applying to entry level jobs, but I feel like if I have a Master's degree in the field, I'd be more competitive.

 

Anyway, since it's been so long since my graduation from University, I'm not sure I'd be able to secure a reference from a teacher. I mean, they might not even be around anymore or if they are, I doubt they'd even remember me since they taught thousands of students. Further, I'm not sure getting a reference from a teacher who is not even involved in the design field would make any sense.

 

So, I assume I would have to use option number two, which is to ask practicing professionals to write the recommendations. Problem is, I don't know any interaction designers! I know multi-media artists, software developers, doctors, lawyers, programmers, video and film directors, editors, system analysts, market researchers and so on, but no one who is an actual interaction designer. Would getting a reference from one of the above people that I do know, make any sense? I've never worked professionally with them, they are just my friends, so not sure if that would work?

 

Anyone else ever apply to get a graduate school Master's degree many years after getting their bachelors? Any advice or suggestions? Would appreciate any insight. Thanks.

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The Master's program may have an admissions officer you could speak to about this. I'm sure over the years, a few cases similar to yours have come up and they may have a slightly tweaked policy (or may be able to show some flexibility in who you get letters from) because you're so far removed from undergrad. It may be best to go to the source first and speak to an officer/adviser for the program. As a "grad" student (in law school), I would've emailed my law school's admissions officer if I was in this situation. Hope this helps and best of luck!

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I would contact the admission office and ask them for advice. They would be the best source of reference for you - be specific when asking questions so you know exactly what they are looking for. Also, benefit of asking admission office is to eliminate the risk that different programs/schools may accept different types of references. If you are planning to apply to multiple MBA programs in different schools, I suggest you take your top 3 programs/schools and call all 3 of them to ensure you fully understand the requirements.

 

I did think of going for an MBA but I already have a more specialized post-grad so I am somewhat familiar with the reference process. Most people would ask professors to provide reference but this is not much of a possibility for you. I would recommend asking professionals who worked with you who you know for sure will put in a good word for you. These professionals may not be in the field you are trying to pursue, but at least they can provide good insights/references to your professional experience to positively support you in the direction you want your career to go; afterall not all of us have professional experience in the field we are trying to pursue. In terms of professionals, I would ask senior management - directors, vp, controller, senior manager, manager (if you are close with any of them) as top choices, then your colleagues.

 

Best of luck!

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