Hey there.. I am applying to masters programs for fall 2011 this coming winter. Here is my profile, please do advise.
School: Lower- middle end of the G13 schools - Canada
Degree: BA (first class honors) Economics, minor in management
GPA: econ (3.75) overall (3.56), did bad in my first year and second year first semester.
Econ: principles micro/macro (A-, B+), intermediate micro/macro (B-, A-), intermediate micro/macro II ( A+, A), Statistics in economics/econometrics I/econometrics II (A,A,A), MathEcon I/II (A+,A-, honors courses), Topics in Economic theory I/II (A,A - these are courses for honors students only and its just a higher then intermediate micro/macro), Natural gas Econ (B+), Petroleum Econ (A), Energy Economics (A-), World Oil Econ (A-), Empirical Energy econ (A), econ and the environment (A), Environmental econ(A)
Math: linear algebra (A), Calc 1/2 (B-, A,), Statistics I (B-)
SOP: Have yet to complete but it will not be bad, will talk bout interests and what i want from a masters
letter of recommendation: One from my mathecon professor from a top 10 school, should be okay at best (he also just retired this year, how would this reflect?), one from my micro assisnt. prof, should be okay.
GRE: Have not taken it as it is not required if your from Canada applying to other Canadian schools. Have been studying for it lately though because i think it might help me out. What do you guys think?
Applying to: A mix of Econ and finance programs: UofT (Econ, Masters in financial econ), UBC(econ), Queens (Econ, Msc Finance), YorkU (MSc Finance), McGill(Econ). Was thinking that if i take the GRE, i would also apply to : LSE (Econ, management and econ)
I took calc 1 in my first year first term, and i was hoping my calc 2 mark and mathecon marks that i have taken later in the year would offset this mark. Similarly with stats, i was hoping my econometrics marks would offset this.
letter of recommendation
Should not be anything special, i just took their courses, got a good mark and would be involved in a sense that i would take the time to talk to the profs during the terms.
Be brutally honest guys, where do i have a chance to, or give suggestions as to where else to apply, whether i should take the GRE and so forth.
Its really appreciated, thanks.
I think I know where you are. Heres my opinion, given what I know about Canadian Honours (I did my B.A. from Canada, at top end of g13 with a top Cad department).
Your intermediate economics I, Stats, and Calculus I are going to count against you. If your math econ can confirm your competence I think it will count for a lot. The other thing is your letters are going to matter. I'd focus on getting excellent letters over the well known professors. Based on what I know, is that Canadian programs pay more attention to course work for related to Canadian students. They are going to be interested in understanding how you compared to other students, and your ability to survive graduate coursework. A lot is going to depend on how seriously your schools honours program is taken. Honours programs are generally good transitions to graduate schools, and treated as such. But they often have grade inflation. This is legitimized by more stringent requirements to enter the program.
I really don't think the GRE Will help you in the slightest. My friends who are in Canadian M.A. (UBC, SFU, Toronto) did not take it and one or two had backgrounds similar to you. One asked directly and the department didn't seem to care. GRE is generally in place to control for variance between candidates. The number of PhD granting Universities in Canada is small, and my experience is that senior professors have a very strong perception of the quality of other programs in Canada. My department head had specific comments about several.
My rough ranking of the top 6 english Masters programs in Canada is
1. Toronto Doctoral
3. UBC or Toronto Non Doctoral (No.1 Research for sure)
6. Mcgill ( A lot of people might question this one, but my perceptions changed a bit lately)
#1-3 are tier 1. My guess here is that you would be considered somewhat on the line if admission applications stay up. I think UBC would take you most likely unfunded, and Toronto non Doctoral Stream will consider you. Queens I can't tell, I think your in the running since my guess is your Canadian Citizen.
I would assume if 4-6 did not take you, you had bad letters of recommendations from your professors. Otherwise you should be a shoo in. SFU seems like a nice safety school for an Econ Masters, their students can take doctoral courses, they have some very good people. (V.s. top departments everyone tenured is really good, yet unlike most Canadian departments which have hundreds of lemons.)
Hey Nanashi, thanks alot man. That was really detailed. One of the letter of recommendation writers use to work as an assistant professor at Queens but only for several years, not sure if that should have any influence?
Anyways, you probably guessed right where I went (UofC) and you were saying that most dept. have a certain perception of the quality of the honours program. Would you know what this perception is for UofC?
Another thing Nanashi, is that for calculus II, I have not actually taken it yet, but I am confident that I can get an A in it as I have already covered a bit of ground in it, however taking the calc II would cost me the minor in management...what do you suggest about this, is it worth it ? Any other comments are appreciated, thanks.
Take calc II, at least. Minor in management will get you nothing if you want to do econ. Minor in Math/Stats will help, mgmt... probably not.
You need at least one good mark in calculus to make up for your calc 1. An A in calc II will excuse the first mark.
I did calc I first year/first semester, and did poorly, but with A's in both Calc II and III, I got the acceptance I wanted.
Best of luck.
Attending: Queen's MA 2010.
My math background is stronger than yours only in that I had taken the econ-math camp course (which was actually a half semester, not just 2 weeks) at my undergrad and got a good letter out of it, having done the best above all the grad students (not sure if this says more about me or the caliber of students in my UG's masters program!). This might be worth looking into if your schedule is too tight to fit in a ton of other math courses. Anyway, that got me into UBC in Canada and a few good masters programs in Europe, some with funding. Definitely wasn't enough for PhD programs.
If you're not adverse to studying outside of Canada, look into:
Barcelona Graduate School of Economics
Toulouse School of Economics
U. Carlos III Madrid
These all accepted me and are supposedly all ball-breaker programs, and 2 even gave me good funding. Among them only BGSE could be considered costly in the event you don't get funding.
"An economist is a surgeon with an excellent scalpel and a rough-edged lancet, who operates beautifully on the dead and tortures the living."
- Nicholas Chamfort
I second BJE about the math. If you're 100% set on doing a master's, no one will care whether you had a management minor at UofC once you finish. This is especially true if you end up in one of the finance programmes - both Rotman and Schulich sell much better than Haskayne (although the latter does seem to be rising). On that note, be aware that the UofT MFE is extremely competitive; my impression is that it's harder to get into than the econ MA. Both the Rotman MFE and the Schulich MF do well on the market, primarily in the private sector but also in government and central banking to some extent. Rotman's programme is stronger for now IMO, but I expect Schulich to catch up after a few cohorts. If you have other questions about b-school master's programmes, I'll try my best to answer them.
My advice for low-ranked undergrads, internationals, and non-quant majors. Your mileage may vary.
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