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Thread: Stanford GSB's Political Economics

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    Stanford GSB's Political Economics

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    I have heard lots of talking about Stanford GSB's tough culture and that they kick PhD students out a lot, even in their fourth or fifth year. Is this also true for the Political Economics group/program as well? I have also heard that the culture varies across programs in GSB.

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    Re: Stanford GSB's Political Economics

    This is/was mostly a rumor about their finance and marketing programs, and I'm not sure it was even legitimate.

    Based on what friends have told me, the attrition for GSB EAP is fairly low; I believe it's <15% over the last decade, and none of them were failed out by prelims. I don't know about GSB PE's attrition rate, but given that they usually take an easier micro sequence than the EAP people, I don't believe there's a significant risk there either.

    And, as with many business school programs, GSB requires basically only one quarter of TA for five years of funding. If you have 4-5 years to basically do research without worrying about failing out, I don't see how that environment can be "toxic". It's at worst unhelpful. Honestly, with the student to faculty ratio that these programs have, I find it really hard to believe their grad students receive less attention than, say, those in Chicago econ.

    Almost nobody has had comparable PhD experiences in two different programs, so I wouldn't put much stock in these rumors in general.

    For GSB's PE program, the one thing you need to know is that you're really entering a political science program. The level of training, and content, are closer to tier-1 economics programs, but it was really designed with an eye towards placing in top poli-sci jobs, and that's a totally different world from economics. Two major distinctions of political science that might be relevant for you: (i) you're really expected to be better trained than your professors, simply because the discipline is moving rapidly forward. This means you need less mentorship than is the case in economics. (ii) industry is not a viable option. If you're entering a political econ PhD program, you better be sure you want to work in academia.

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    Re: Stanford GSB's Political Economics

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    This is/was mostly a rumor about their finance and marketing programs, and I'm not sure it was even legitimate.

    Based on what friends have told me, the attrition for GSB EAP is fairly low; I believe it's <15% over the last decade, and none of them were failed out by prelims. I don't know about GSB PE's attrition rate, but given that they usually take an easier micro sequence than the EAP people, I don't believe there's a significant risk there either.

    And, as with many business school programs, GSB requires basically only one quarter of TA for five years of funding. If you have 4-5 years to basically do research without worrying about failing out, I don't see how that environment can be "toxic". It's at worst unhelpful. Honestly, with the student to faculty ratio that these programs have, I find it really hard to believe their grad students receive less attention than, say, those in Chicago econ.

    Almost nobody has had comparable PhD experiences in two different programs, so I wouldn't put much stock in these rumors in general.

    For GSB's PE program, the one thing you need to know is that you're really entering a political science program. The level of training, and content, are closer to tier-1 economics programs, but it was really designed with an eye towards placing in top poli-sci jobs, and that's a totally different world from economics. Two major distinctions of political science that might be relevant for you: (i) you're really expected to be better trained than your professors, simply because the discipline is moving rapidly forward. This means you need less mentorship than is the case in economics. (ii) industry is not a viable option. If you're entering a political econ PhD program, you better be sure you want to work in academia.
    Thanks a lot for the infos. Do you by any chance know the possibility of getting someone from econ department to co-advise you if you are in the PE program?

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