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Thread: Profile Evaluation - Finance 2018

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Profile Evaluation - Finance 2018

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    Hi everyone,

    I really appreciate any thoughts and feedback from anyone on my profile. English is not my first language, so please forgive me for any mistake I might have made.

    Type of Undergrad: Four year engineering degree from a top university in my country.
    Undergrad GPA: 83/100 (around 3.3-3.4 in US system)
    Type of Grad: Master's degree in economics at an US university with a top 50 econ department
    Grad GPA: 4.0/4.0
    GRE: 164 V 170 Q 3.0 AW

    Math Courses: Everything you would expect for an engineering student, including differential equation, introductory complex analysis, etc. I got terrible scores in most of them (B or even C). I took 2 math courses in the graduate program, i.e. Introduction to Analysis and Introduction to Topology, got A in both of them.
    Econ Courses: MA level micro, macro, stats, econometrics and game theory. PhD level macro. A & A+ in all of them
    Finance Courses: Audited a financial stochastic process course, so no score.

    Research:
    RA:

    1) Working for an AP in the business school in my graduate university, on some macro-finance stuff. Mainly programming.
    2) Worked with a econ PhD candidate on a health economics project.
    3) Working on a term paper on some applications of time-series econometrics on financial market.
    4) A bunch of engineering stuff I did in undergrad. Mostly computational mechanics.

    Teaching:
    Did a math workshop for first year MA econ students. Also tutored them on their MA-level macro course.

    Letter of recommendation:
    1 from the AP I am working with. 1 from PhD level macro course professor. Have not decided on the last one yet.

    I wondered what range of schools I should be aiming for? Also, since I still have a few months, I wondered what area of my profile should I focus on to improve? Many thanks!

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Finance 2018

    How is your ranking for your bachelor's degree? I.e. were you an average student or better than that? Converting international grades isn't straight forward and you may be better off than what you wrote here. Your math skills seem better than b and c grades if you are teaching the intro math for your MA.

    Besides that, it is tough for me to say. Has your masters sent people to finance or econ phds in the past? Where? How do you compare to them?

    My guess is that you should apply widely in the 10-50 ranking. The wide range is because I am uncertain.

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Finance 2018

    Thanks a lot for the reply! There is no official ranking in my college but I guess I am slightly better than average. I spent a lot of time self study mathematics in my final year in college. Those efforts paid off, although not on paper. I have taken mathematics GRE sub and got a decent score, but I'm not sure if that really helps.

    As to my masters program, in recent years top students normally go to top 30 econ programs, but there is some uncertainty.

    What do you think is the weakest link in my profile? Or what should I focus on improving in the next 7-8 months? Really appreciate it!

  4. #4
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Finance 2018

    The biggest thing I see is a lack of finance coursework. This isn't really a killer for Finance programs, but it definitely helps. Is there a way for you to get corp finance and asset pricing? Generally, you will need to motivate why a PhD in finance over econ. Working with the bus. school professor helps this.

    The finance department at your school will have better advice. Talk to those professors and consider attending workshops if they have them.

  5. #5
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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Finance 2018

    The professor that I am RA for actually suggested me to take some finance coursework too. Guess I'll focus on that then. Thanks a lot!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Finance 2018

    Hi ,

    I will be applying to PhD programs this year but I have a major confusion in my head right at the onset. I call it the trilemma "PhD Finance vs. PhD Economics (Business School" vs. PhD Economics (Dept. of Economics)

    For ex: How can I know the difference between say
    Northwestern Dept. of Economics PhD Economics vs. Kellogg PhD. Finance vs. Kellogg PhD Managerial Economics
    (Yes, more choices do mess with our preferences! )

    First, a bit about my background: I am studying MS Economics at a top 15 US university. I am an Engineer + an MBA (finance concentration) (both from well ranked universities back in my home-country. (Does it matter?)) + 3 yrs. of corporate experience in a reputed multinational bank + FRM certification (does it matter ?)


    So the following issues perplex me:
    1) The said trilemma

    2) Given my background, what should I bank on more? PhD econ or PhD finance ?
    (Both have their pros and cons like finance having generous funding but a more brutal selection process, absence of Corp. finance/ asset pricing in economics but relatively easy to get into etc.) So this just adds to the indecisiveness !

    I am interested in the intersection of Finance/Macro.

    3) I am also interested in Behavioral Finance. Since it is not a mainstream area yet, I am a bit skeptical about mentioning this in my SOP - I have been told to stick to more run-of-the-mill topics. Would request thoughts on this please.

    4) How important is GRE ? I have 166/170 (92 percentile) in quant, 161/170 is VA but 3.5 in AWA. Should I take the exam again?

    5) How can I make a stronger profile for Finance?

    Thanks a lot guys !

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