I obtained my M. Sc. in mathematics from a decent European university about a year ago (when I was 27 Due to various reasons of personal nature I didn't really commit to my studies, my marks were the equivalent of a 3.0 GPA, or something like that, and it took me quite a while to finish. I wanted to drop out at some point, also because of the same issues, which led to a change in my thesis' topic, arguments and a not-so-good relationship with my advisor, who agreed to keep me until graduation anyway (but, just to be clear, I really don't wanna ask him for recommendation letters now, nor would it be a smart move given our current relationship). Right after obtaining the degree, my problems gradually subsided and I got a decent job in the consulting industry, which of course I am not interested in, but I accepted because I had to. However, my interest for math and physics recently rekindled, to the point that in the little time I can spare from my job I find myself picking up my old books, and reading new ones and it's getting harder and harder to do something I dislike on a daily basis. I realized I wasted a good chance and now I wish to apply to a Phd program (anywhere, really, with the condition that it be a reasonably good one) as I feel I am a bit too young to accept how things have played out, but all I have right now is a mediocre GPA and no way to obtain strong recommendation letters to compensate. Therefore I think my chances to get into a good program are very slim (feel free to correct me though, if you think otherwise). I feel my only chance would be to get into another (1 or 2 years long) M. Sc., perhaps in applied math this time and enter an environment where I can: improve my record get in contact with people who could help me with recommendation letters in the future. Here come my questions: is this plan sensible? Does a candidate with 2 M. Sc. in similar subjects raise eyebrows? Are there any other ways to get into a new environment where I could at least get better references? Feel free to offer further advice on what my other options are, if you have any. Thanks in advance.