I'll be applying next fall to start Economics PhD programs in 2013 so am starting to get serious about preparing for applications and narrowing down potential schools. I'm having trouble figuring out where I stand in relation to the rest of the applicant pool.
Undergrad: Top 5 liberal arts college
GPA: 3.7 overall, 3.87 economics (Magna cum laude, High Honors in Economics - top 5 econ students in class)
GRE: 780Q/720V/4.5A in 2008. Plan to retake due to time elapsed since test; expect to do very well. Was a bit disappointed in Q and A first time around.
Math: Linear Alg (A), Multivariable Calc (B+), DiffEQs (A), Probability (B+), Operations Research (A)
Economics: Intermediate Micro (A), Intermediate Macro (A-), International Econ (A), Intro Econometrics (A-), Monetary Theory (A), Advanced Econometrics (B+), Thesis (A)
Thesis adviser (MIT PhD)
Work supervisor (UCLA PhD)
If a paper I'm working on now is published, I'll probably get a letter from my (foreign PhD) coauthor. There are also several others I could ask.
All letter writers know me well and will write strong recommendations, though they are not big names.
One undergrad summer
3 years Research Assistant at IMF
Interests: Public finance, econometrics, development
I'm starting an evening class in Real Analysis in a few weeks (and kicking myself for not doing it in undergrad, but too late now...). I'm a little skeptical of the rigor compared to classes for full-time students but I'll be able to send a transcript and grade with my applications. Best case, perhaps this makes my math background look a little fresher?
I haven't the faintest idea where I should be aiming. Advice? I'm most worried about my math background. Also, my preference is truly to come back to DC to the IMF/WB or a government position rather than heading a research university after the PhD (I know...treasonous). I'd imagine this means that my focus needn't necessarily be on top schools, not that I wouldn't love to attend a top school. Is this true?
Your grades seem very good, and you do meet the course requirements for most programs. I guess I would suggest (other than taking analysis) would be to take more LA. But i'm not sure what you are able to do as you seem to be finished undergrad already? I think you'll be able to get in somewhere. Feel free to check out and give advice my eval thread.