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Thread: European Profile Evaluation

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    European Profile Evaluation

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    Undergrad Institution: Uni in the NL
    Major: Economics & Business Econ
    GPA: 4.0 (international degree, US style GPA reported on transcript)


    Masters Institution:
    Applying atm to top 10 European masters in Econ.

    Honours & Awards: Two honours programmes at my uni, also on transcript, giving an additional 45 ECTS (60 ECTS is 1y of study load)

    Undergraduate Courses: standard stuff inc. few business econ courses (mandatory). Degrees here have little formal math courses, I have one intro math course, and am now taking 'advanced mathematics'.

    GRE: studying atm, will be retaking until I get 162+, 169+, 4.5+ (not native speaker).

    Research Experience:
    Did a RA'ship for a professor in my 2nd year.

    Letters of Recommendation:
    Two good ones, from Profs that know me very well.
    Would need to get others at master ofc.

    Applying to: Top 10 US schools
    Top 5 would be my ambition.

    Research Interests: Macroeconomics (microfoundations), monetary economics, and ~fundamental theory (my second love is philosophy).
    Did a LSE summerschool in Money&Banking last summer. Currently writing thesis on forward guidance.



    I have several questions:

    - What would be the best master in Europe in terms of US PhD exit options? I am applying to both 1y and 2y programmes. Some are 1y Msc's others are 2y Mres/Mphil. As I've heard so far, I would have the best chances from a good UK program. (2y Oxford Mphil, 2y Warwick Mres, 1y LSE, 1y UCL). I would much appreciate any thoughts on what would be the best choice. In case of 1y masters, I would probably do a full time RA'ship after? Which brings me to the next question.

    - Do I have any chance if I apply coming round? The problem is that I'd apply 3 months in my master, so not much to go on except for maybe reputation of master school. I imagine it will be hard to get good RL's in such a short time. I would prefer next round. Partially because if I'd do a 2y master here, and then go to US PhD, the first 2 years would be lot of repetition (if e.g. one comes from Oxford Mphil).

    - What would be the best way to boost my profile in the coming 1 or 2 years? I was thinking of:
    • Rank in the top of my masters ofc.
    • Real analysis course at LSE, which is a summer school, to get an A or A+, just to signal proficiency in math? (I would probably study it before actually attending, to make sure I get a good grade)
    • Try to find some summer research job. I've been trying to find information on something in the US, but its hard to find, and most stuff seems only open to US residents. Looked at Feds and summer RA'ships at top uni's, Any advice here? Really looking for something like this for this summer
    • Write a kickass thesis (on forward guidance), hopefully to signal consistency in interests. Several courses on monetary econ, the summerschool last year, and then the thesis (possibly monetary econ as field course in master). Possibly a thesis prize.
    • If possible, probably only in 2y master, doing more RA'ships


    - Would it make sense to use 1 LoR from bachelor and 2 from master when applying for PhD, or all 3 from master?

    - What specific points make a LoR strong?


    In general, I find it hard to evaluate options as most information I can find is US-system based.
    Any advice on how to boots my profile would be much appreciated!

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    If you're looking for good exit options into the US, I'd steer clear away from schools outside of Oxbridge and the LSE, simply because most masters programmes in the UK are terminal in nature. You're much better off applying to BGSE, CEMFI or PSE if your main goal is to get into a T20 programme. They have pretty decent placement records for their top few students.

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    If you're looking for good exit options into the US, I'd steer clear away from schools outside of Oxbridge and the LSE, simply because most masters programmes in the UK are terminal in nature. You're much better off applying to BGSE, CEMFI or PSE if your main goal is to get into a T20 programme. They have pretty decent placement records for their top few students.
    Thanks for your reply

    Would the Warwick Mres be a bad choice?
    I'm indeed applying to the other schools you mention, I must say though that my impression so far has been that a LSE or oxford master would give better exit options than CEMFI, PSE, TSE, BGSE/UPF?

    Could you give any recommendations on how to improve application profile as European student?

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by aweu View Post
    Thanks for your reply

    Would the Warwick Mres be a bad choice?
    I'm indeed applying to the other schools you mention, I must say though that my impression so far has been that a LSE or oxford master would give better exit options than CEMFI, PSE, TSE, BGSE/UPF?

    Could you give any recommendations on how to improve application profile as European student?
    Well, i can't comment much on the quality of the Warwick Mres programme since I'm unfamiliar with the content.

    Sure, an LSE or Oxbridge masters will have better name recognition (or even the likes of Warwick, for that matter) in the eyes of the general populace. However, since your ultimate goal is to land yourself a spot in, say, a T20 economics PhD programme, the European programmes are much better suited for that intent. Adcoms are generally familiar with the rigour of these select few European programmes (evident by their pretty good placement records over the years). Plus, there's also the fact that UK masters programme are ridiculously expensive, once you've factored in the daily expenses incurred whilst living in the UK.

    If you're looking at CEMFI in particular (which is my first choice destination with second place being LSE's EME programme), the masters students take on the same coursework as PhD students, albeit a lighter load each semester.

    You can't find much resources here regarding the European masters programmes. However, there are some old posts regarding these few places. You should try searching for them. Information regarding the European programmes are generally quite scarce here (since most US students don't go the masters route before pursuing a PhD).

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    Well, i can't comment much on the quality of the Warwick Mres programme since I'm unfamiliar with the content.

    Sure, an LSE or Oxbridge masters will have better name recognition (or even the likes of Warwick, for that matter) in the eyes of the general populace. However, since your ultimate goal is to land yourself a spot in, say, a T20 economics PhD programme, the European programmes are much better suited for that intent. Adcoms are generally familiar with the rigour of these select few European programmes (evident by their pretty good placement records over the years). Plus, there's also the fact that UK masters programme are ridiculously expensive, once you've factored in the daily expenses incurred whilst living in the UK.

    If you're looking at CEMFI in particular (which is my first choice destination with second place being LSE's EME programme), the masters students take on the same coursework as PhD students, albeit a lighter load each semester.

    You can't find much resources here regarding the European masters programmes. However, there are some old posts regarding these few places. You should try searching for them. Information regarding the European programmes are generally quite scarce here (since most US students don't go the masters route before pursuing a PhD).
    Thank you again for your input.

    I'm in the process of applying for a whole bunch of them, waiting to see where I get accepted and where I get funding.

    Would you be able to comment on some of the questions regarding profile improvement? I'm of course aiming as high as possible. A 4.0 GPA bachelor and good European master might give me some chances, but I'm really looking to improve my profile to be competitive for top 5.

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by aweu View Post
    Thank you again for your input.

    I'm in the process of applying for a whole bunch of them, waiting to see where I get accepted and where I get funding.

    Would you be able to comment on some of the questions regarding profile improvement? I'm of course aiming as high as possible. A 4.0 GPA bachelor and good European master might give me some chances, but I'm really looking to improve my profile to be competitive for top 5.
    No problem. We are all here to share information.

    BGSE and CEMFI are quite generous with their funding but it's important that you apply early (early, being mid December).

    With regards to profile improvement, like previously mentioned, there are a couple folks here who are better versed at this, than I am. Nonetheless, from what I see, you severely lack mathematical preparation. Applicants typically have up to real analysis under their belt, when applying to T20+ programmes. I envision that T5 applicants have significantly higher on-paper demonstration of mathematical capabilities. Looking at your profile, I don't think you're competitive for T5, simply because if you browse through the past Roll Calls, and inspect the profiles of the people who actually make it into T5 programmes, their profiles are simply fantastic. Their academic records are stellar, coupled with extensive research experience with some publications here and there. Also, you must remember that T10 admits are quite idiosyncratic and random to some degree. What I'm trying to drive across is simply this: Have rational expectations. You are be the best judge of how your current profile measures up against these 2 applications I've quoted below.

    Here are some excerpts from the 2015 Roll Call thread that I've selected to illustrate my point.

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Economics major at private research university (T25 undergrad, T50 econ)
    Undergrad GPA: 3.8 overall/4.0 econ and math
    Type of Grad: none
    Grad GPA: N/A
    GRE: 170V/169Q/6.0AW
    Math Courses: Calc II, Multivariable Calc, Linear Algebra, Introduction to Proofs, Ordinary Differential Equations (all As)
    Econ Courses: Intro Micro/Macro, Intermediate Micro/Macro, International Finance, International Trade, Economic Statistics, Introduction to Econometrics, Topics in Applied Econometrics, Development Economics, Labor Economics, Program Evaluation, Senior Thesis Seminar (all As)
    Other Courses: Lots of random language, international relations, and area studies courses
    Letters of Recommendation: (1) Professor I TA’d for, knew me well for most of undergrad (2) Professor for Dev econ classes, active researcher in the field (3) Math professor/chair of undergrad department (4) current supervisor at econ consulting firm (T25 PhD)
    Research Experience: Senior thesis (received honors), presented at an undergraduate conference. Analyst at economic consulting firm for three years.
    Teaching Experience: TA for International Finance for three semesters
    Research Interests: Development, Labor, Applied Micro and metrics
    SOP: Pretty good I think. Covered undergrad background/thesis, research skills I’ve gain from current position, and described some potential topics I might want to research. Added a short paragraph to the end listing professors, research centers, etc. specific to the school.
    Other:

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Boston University ($$), University of Pittsburgh ($$)
    Waitlists:
    Rejections: MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Brown
    Pending:
    Attending: BU
    Comments: Overall, I’m satisfied with the outcome. The rejections hurt a lot, but at least I was spared any waitlist/unfunded offer drama. I’m accepting a funded offer, from a solid program, in a great city, so I can’t really complain!
    Now, here is one that got into a T5 programme.

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: BA Economics+Double major in Math, Top university in East Asian country; One quarter exchange program at Top 15 US Econ Department
    Undergrad GPA: 3.70~3.75
    Type of Grad: NA
    Grad GPA: NA
    GRE: 170 (Q), 159 (V), 3.5 (AW)
    Math Courses: Calculus A+, Linear Algebra
    A, Probability Theory A, Statistics B+, Analysis A, Advanced Algebra A, Ordinary Differential Equations (Exchange) A+, Functions of Real Variables A, Abstract Algebra A, Complex Analysis A, Stochastic Processes B-, Dynamic Optimization A+
    Undergraduate Econ Courses: Principles A+, Intermediate Micro B, Econometrics A+, IO A+, Public Finance A-, Growth
    (Exchange) A+, Economic History A, Public Choice A+
    Graduate Econ Courses: Contract Theory (Exchange) A+, Game Theory (Exchange) A+, Dynamic Finance Theory A, Topics of Micro Theory (summer course) A+
    Letters of Recommendation:
    1. Well-known Associate Professor at exchange university, very strong and detailed
    2.
    Well-known Associate Professor at a Top 10 US Econ Department, very strong
    3. Assistant Professor at another top university in my country, known in subfield, very strong and very detailed
    4. Professor at my university, great record of student placement, may be strong and detailed but not sure
    Research Experience:
    1. Undergraduate thesis on applied contract theory, presented at conference
    2. Term paper for a graduate course
    3. RA for Professor 3. Programming and small proofs.
    Teaching Experience: None
    Research Interests: Applied micro theory
    SOP: One page about my two papers, one page about how I utilized all resources I could get for my research and study
    Other:

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Stanford GSB, Stanford Econ, Yale, NWU, Columbia, Chicago
    Waitlists: MIT (declined before they make a decision)
    Rejections: Harvard, Princeton
    Withdrawn: Berkeley, NYU, Chicago (clearly they didn't read my email for withdrawal), Upenn and the university where I did my exchange
    Attending: Stanford GSB
    Hope this helps. You can access the past roll calls here. (edit: I just realised they stickied the past roll calls on the first page)

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    BGSE just replied me last night. I got admitted! No tuition waiver though (although I kinda expected it).

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    BGSE just replied me last night. I got admitted! No tuition waiver though (although I kinda expected it).
    Congratulations!

    Are you roughly aiming for the same in terms of PhD's?

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    Re: European Profile Evaluation

    Far from it. I'm aiming for something in the T15-25 range, with safeties at number 30. The specific number, in a sense, is because I intend to come back home(since based on the current faculty at the particular local university which I intend to be employed in, there isn't anyone from T30 or lower in the economics department).

    That being said, my masters application this year is essentially just to test waters, per se. I wanted to see, given my current results, where I could get in. It's other purpose was to combat my feeling of inadequacy (and the crippling fear that I might not get into any of the programmes I wanted; and that me thinking that I'm pretty smart was essentially all in my head).

    My actual application will be for the masters intake of fall 18, since I'm taking one year to stock up and get As in a few additional math classes, up to real analysis (and hopefully give the GRE another shot, to get that ever-elusive 170 quant (I'm at 166 currently)). The additional year will also help me build up and gather some RA experience to further boost my profile.

    After all, what's one year in the grand scheme of things? It'll be a worthwhile investment of time and money.
    Last edited by tutonic; 02-06-2017 at 02:18 AM.

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