Thank you for for response. Based on what I know, the first case is probably true in my program. I understand that Mirco II will be hard, but in order to compensate my grade in Micro I, I have to get a better grade in Micro II to show that B certainly doesn't demonstrate my ability. I will work harder, just as hard as other first-year grads. Hopefully I will get good results.
If you want my advise, try to understand genuinely why it didn't work. Find what was lacking. Fix it. And then you'll be fine. Believe me, it works. Don't listen to stubborn people who will simply tell you crap like "you're not good enough for it". It's too simple to be out of reach for most people. Experience and time matters. Some people will fail because they have skipped steps and did not learn what was needed. Some people will fail because they don't have the time for various reasons (health, addictions, family problems, financial problems, doing something else than going to school at the same time, etc etc), some people will fail because of pressure (and yes, in most case, dealing with pressure can be improved), and many other reasons. The most important thing is to identify the problem, and take the necessary actions to fix it. As far as research goes, it is not always true that people with the highest grades in theoretical classes will have the best ideas and will write the better papers. While there is a correlation, it's not that significant.
Sadly, you might not get another chance to prove yourself after being rejected to grad school. It you have the chance to take Micro II to redeem yourself, jump on it, unless you really think you won't have the time to do it. Later it might be too late.
Thanks for the response! I appreciate it. I will take Micro II to compensate the B i got in Micro I and redeem myself in Micro II. I wouldn't question about my mental ability and smartness neither. And you are true in that people with the best ideas/papers not necessarily have the best grades. The sad part is that this B will definitely hurts my application process. I have talked about it to one of my recommenders. Also I have talked to Micro II professor. He recommends to think about this seriously because I need to get a SUPERIOR grade in Micro II. Otherwise even a A- or a B+ will hurt my application for top 20. My last semester of college will be a little bit harder, but I will take the challenge.
Each of the statements made by the posters you quoted is compatible with the underlying reason for the comment being A) "you're not smart enough for this" and B) "you're probably super smart but the physical constraints of time are real and relevant".
As OP very well realizes himself, taking Micro II is equally as likely to harm his future prospects.
My advice is just risk aversion. [B in Micro I + an otherwise stellar application] is often still good enough to get into top 20, particularly after a year of research experience. I don't see a reason to take on what seems to be a 50-50 gamble in this endeavor - especially when first-year micro theory courses doesn't seem to be his comparative advantage anyway. There are a lot of meaningful things/signaling you can be doing with that time.
Every grad student is going to take that course again at some point, and there's diminishing marginal returns, purely from a knowledge-building perspective.
I'll especially note that, as you don't have PhD Macro I / Math Stats, you are in fact at a bigger disadvantage now if you want to take Micro II, compared to your situation in Micro I. A substantial portion of Micro II relies on dynamic programming and some advanced knowledge of statistics/probability, rather than the content of Micro I. If you aren't familiar with setting up Bellman's and the like, you're not going to get a better grade in Micro II.
The anonymous new account above never mentioned a single aspect of the content of PhD Micro II, so I'm just going to put it out here: the most probable hypothesis about this poster, from my years of seeing similar crap on this forum, is that he's an undergrad with no clue what Micro II contains, nor what the right choice is for OP. Instead, he made that long bitter rant as a channel to vent his own insecurities.
Kaysa and Zubrus are both experienced members of this forum, and two of the few people who truly understand PhD econ admissions that are still around. They don't need a lecturing from anon acc.
Last edited by chateauheart; 01-13-2017 at 01:21 AM.
Thanks for the insight about Micro II. I will ask former first-year phd students and professor of Micro II about the materials in Micro II. I don't really worry about Math Stat too much because I am also majoring in math. I have taken Probability Theory and Math Stat under math department. The real issue is the Macro I. If Micro II relies heavily on the materials in Macro I, then you are right that Micro II might be too risky.
I think the problem of getting a good grade is not the content in Phd class. The materials taught in Micro I are not insanely difficult and I don't think it's harder than my advanced math classes, but the grades are graded based on the cohort. I spent about the same time on Micro I just as other undergrad classes I was taking, however I got a B because grades are evaluated based on the overall cohort. I think in order to get a good grade in Micro II, I will have to spent more time compare to other Phd students, assuming we have the same mental ability. The issue here is that there are several Phd students have taken those classes in other programs and then decided to come to our program. I don't feel confident about outscoring those Phd students because I don't think I will spent more time compare to them. To them retaking those Phd classes mean they will get eazy As.
^This is not a unique issue. Many European students will have encountered more than half of these materials in their master's courses; some European/Asian students will even have seen them in advanced undergrad courses. Every American undergrad is disadvantaged.
In my alma mater, I'd say about 10 students per year are in the intersection of undergraduates who got an A in the honors real analysis sequence, and students who got an A in the most difficult undergrad micro theory course. About 5 of them try to take grad micro I every year, and afaik, 2 students over a period of five years (/25) got an A, 4 students in total received B or better, and the rest had worse grades or withdrew. Only 1 student continued on to grad micro II.
Taking grad micro is rarely feasible for American undergrads, unless you're at one of the top UGs where PhD econ programs are known for having a relatively easy first-year curriculum (MIT, Harvard, Chicago, Berkeley). It's also why it's a very strong signal if you do well, and applicants directly graduating from #30-#60 programs almost always need grad econ courses to jump straight to top 10-15 PhD programs. But 99% of students from your starting position didn't have a chance to begin with. This endeavor is as difficult as getting a position at Goldman Sachs while coming from a school they don't recruit at. Getting a B in micro I doesn't hurt you on that front - it's not worse than 99% of your fellow undergrads. Spending too much time on micro II, then getting an average/below-average grade, would probably hurt you. You can try to make your application excel in other aspects with all that time, such as working on a good senior thesis, and getting serious research assistance experience.
I don't doubt that the two posters who said this are experienced in economics. I know some well-reputed profs that think like that, too. It's a pretty common idea in academia. And a lot of academicians have self-esteem issues, and do what they are doing to make up for it. It's actually pretty sad. I'm not saying this is your, or the two posters' cases. But does their experience make them De Facto right? Obviously not. Please accept that there is divergent opinions about virtually everything in academia. That some people other than insecure undergrads have opinions.
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