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Thread: Profile Evaluation (2019)

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    Question Profile Evaluation (2019)

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    What is my chance of getting into a top finance programme?? Please Help.

    Test Scores (GRE): 148V 166Q 4 AW (will retake)
    Undegrad GPA: 3.8/4 major in Econ in a university in Hong Kong
    Math: Cal 3, Linear Algebra, ODE, Numerical methods for DE, Stochastic Process, Time Series, Probability, Real Analysis
    Econ: Many. Basic +Intermediate+ Advanced Micro and Macro, Econometrics, Game Theory, Stat for Econ, Mathematical Econ (real analysis with econ application), Grad computational econ, Grad Econometrics
    Finance: Basic Corporate Finance, Investment and portfolio analysis
    (All A/A- but some are expected grades)
    Graduate GPA: N/A
    Research Experience: RA for an econ assistant professor (from top 5 Econ PhD) in summer. 2 senior theses in Econ (Only 1 before application)
    Teaching Experience: N/A
    Letter of Recommendation: One from the Econ professor I RA. One from the first senior thesis (Full Prof). For the third one, I plan to use the one from Grad Econometrics this cycle. In the next year, I will use the one my supervisor of the second thesis.
    (All Strong)
    Work Experience: Summer intern in a top-tier Chinese investment bank (Econ Research)

    Concentration Applying to: Finance
    Number of programs planned to apply to: 20
    Dream Schools: Top 10, especially those strong in asset pricing, macro-finance

    Concern:
    - Not much finance exposure
    - Poor GRE, especially the verbal part. I have not taken TOELF, but my IELTS score is 7.5 overall, and I have an A- English grade in college.
    - Few research experience
    - No work/TA experience

    If you think I am not well prepared for top finance PhD, what are the masters I should consider? Thank you very much‼

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    Re: Profile Evaluation (2019)

    Edit: see my post below
    Last edited by tflan; 04-09-2018 at 02:59 AM.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation (2019)

    Your GRE quant seems not enough for top Ph.D. finance programs. I would say you should try to get AT LEAST 50% in verbal (151) and 94% in quant (168) to get through the first cut in the top Ph.D. finance programs. Moreover, you don't have a grad study in finance, you seem to have disadvantages in the run. Can you get letters from active research finance professors? It will help a lot. As finance is one of the most competitive fields, especially in assets pricing, you will see you have to compete with a pool of high-quality profile applicants all around the world. My last advice is to apply broadly, top 10 in Finance is extremely competitive. But nothing is impossible, try your best. Good luck.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation (2019)

    You should retake the GRE though I would not stress too much. In my experience, most Finance PhD programs have the same 85-90th percentile cut-off rule as Econ programs: so long as you are above it they don't care what your score was. Getting a 170 in Quant adds no utility above a 166 in this regard. I would aim to get your verbal to at least 85th percentile as well (160).

    By far the most important part of the application is your LORs and your personal essay. Make sure you make clear what your research interest is and how it relates to the school's expertise. I would even namedrop faculty you would be interested in working with. Asset Pricing is a very broad field, so it would be very good to narrow down your selection interest of school based on that. I would not recommend applying to all the schools in the top 10. Rather focus on the schools within that range that are strong in the area of asset pricing you are interested in.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation (2019)

    Thank you very much! I will definitely retake GRE.

    I do lack grad finance experience. Are grad courses in finance essential for admission? And in what aspects are they important? (Show research interest? or they are just as crucial as math?) As I search through different programmes, they often mention math or econ experience are even more important than finance courses. Can I remedy this disadvantage by grad econ courses? If not, what masters are the best preparation for top 10 finance schools?

    Thanks again for all your helps!!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation (2019)

    Quote Originally Posted by my1433 View Post
    Thank you very much! I will definitely retake GRE.

    I do lack grad finance experience. Are grad courses in finance essential for admission? And in what aspects are they important? (Show research interest? or they are just as crucial as math?) As I search through different programmes, they often mention math or econ experience are even more important than finance courses. Can I remedy this disadvantage by grad econ courses? If not, what masters are the best preparation for top 10 finance schools?

    Thanks again for all your helps!!
    I don't think that finance courses are essential. The courses you've taken should be sufficient (econ grad courses won't help.) I think that having some research experience in finance matters more. It seems like you have a good research background in econ, but if there is one thing I would do to improve your profile it would be to do some sort of research in finance (whether it be a honors thesis or working with a professor). My background is similar to yours, econ + math coursework, but I also had finance research to go along with it.

    If your only research experience is in econ, then you will need to tell a story in your personal essay as to why you want to do finance. For example, if your research experience is in macroeconomics, you can say that want to approach macroeconomics from the perspective of asset pricing/macro-finance.

    I think you will still have a decent chance getting into some places with your current profile, but top 10 will still be hard. You could also aim for some top 10 econ programs, especially with strong macro econ departments (since you're interested in asset pricing/macro-finance). You can still have business school faculty on your dissertation committee.

    I think LSE is a good place to get a masters. I would NOT get a masters in the US, because the curriculum is not very rigorous.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation (2019)

    Quote Originally Posted by my1433 View Post
    Thank you very much! I will definitely retake GRE. I do lack grad finance experience. Are grad courses in finance essential for admission? And in what aspects are they important? (Show research interest? or they are just as crucial as math?) As I search through different programmes, they often mention math or econ experience are even more important than finance courses. Can I remedy this disadvantage by grad econ courses? If not, what masters are the best preparation for top 10 finance schools?

    Thanks again for all your helps!!
    I wouldn't worry about finance grad courses. In any PhD Finance program, second year coursework covers all the finance that you need. I think the more important thing is economics coursework and economic intuition that emanates from that. Finance is an applied field that uses tools from economics and statistics to conduct empirical research in finance, so knowing the economic tools up to the Econ graduate level is important. So if you can take more grad courses (particularly micro and macro) that can only be to your advantage. As for specific masters programs, the best ones I would look at are LSE's MSc Finance and Economics Program, Cambridge's MPhil in Finance Program or Oxford's Msc in Financial Economics program. Those programs are marketed as masters preparation for PhD inclined students. Also Duke's MA Econ program is also highly regarded.

    I am starting my Finance PhD at a T10 school so hope all this helps.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation (2019)

    Really appreciate all your advice! I am now thinking how can I change my study plan. If possible I will probably replace a pure math course with a financial mathematics course for letter from a finance professor. I will also try to RA in a more "finance" project.

    Quote Originally Posted by tflan View Post
    I think you will still have a decent chance getting into some places with your current profile, but top 10 will still be hard.
    Just a quick question: other than finance research experience, what are the differences of a typical top 10 profile and mine? What range should be my target now?

    Again, thank you for all your inputs!!

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