I'd try cross-posting on the econ forum - I think that's where most of the Wharton AE folks are talking...
(I'll be there for Health Care Management & Economics myself!)
I got an offer from Wharton's Applied Economics program. It seems that most of the graduates from the 3 fields that make up the Applied Econ program either chose to go into industry or were not able to secure academic jobs. Which one is it?
I am very interested in attending the Applied Econ program at Wharton but I'm a bit concerned about its placement record. I also got into several reputable traditional econ departments but Wharton is at the top of my list.
I got an admit from the Wharton Management program and am terribly interested in collaborating or working with people from the AE department. In fact when I had reached out to one of the faculty members at Wharton in the Mgmt department this is what she had to say: "This coming year, for the first time, three of the smaller specialized depts (Business and Public Policy, Insurance, and Real Estate) joined together to create an AE program. So they are admitting students directly to this program. Students don't need to specialize in one of these areas; they can choose any area of application where we have faculty strength." I believe that with this improvement, the faculty placements should improve. Also if you are going for a campus visit, I would definitely raise this concern and see the kind of response you get.
I think Wharton combined their programs into one because their grads were percieved as too specialized to be marketable to most academic institutions. I spoke with someone in the Wharton mgmt program about it too, and they thought that realistically its going to be same ole same ole (after all the old depts are still housed seperately), but when you graduate you can say you have a degree in "Applied Economics" rather than say, Risk and Insurance. Maybe you don't have to pick a specialty now, but lets be realistic - you'll have to pick one eventually, and will more than likely get shuttled into one based on what faculty you get to work with.
But then what do I know? I didn't make the cut. Congrats on your admit. I wish you luck in your decision and program.
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