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Thread: Profiles and Results 2017

  1. #11
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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

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    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    Econ/Math BA from top 200 US
    Undergrad GPA:
    3.97 (4.0 in both majors)
    Type of Grad:
    None
    Grad GPA:
    N/A
    GRE:
    170Q, 160V, 5.0A
    Math Courses:
    Calc 1-3, linear algebra, differential equations, intro proofs, analysis 1-2, stochastic processes, probability theory, statistical theory, continuous statistics, probability and statistics, math modeling
    Econ Courses:
    principles/intermediate micro, principles/intermediate macro, econometrics, international monetary relations, money and banking, public finance, economic research seminar, history of economic thought, economic history of the us
    Other Courses:
    Letters of Recommendation:
    all letters should have been pretty strong as I have close relationships will all 3 and have done very well in their classes 1) department chair, top 5% repec, known me since sophomore year and supervisor for RA; 2) grad director at my uni, took research class from him and supervisor for independent paper; 3) another professor, went to top 30 econ and knows me really well
    Research Experience:
    RA for department chair before junior year, turned project from research class into paper (accepted at undergrad journal)
    Teaching Experience:
    N/A
    Research Interests:
    Applied micro
    SOP:
    I think it was good, talked about why I want to study economics, my research experience and interests, and various extracurricular things I have done that are related. Made each customized by reading the webpages and saying why I was applying, and looking up all of the professors and mentioning whose research was of interest to me.
    Other:
    another professor that I didn't get a letter from wrote emails to people he knew at the schools I was applying to, which was super nice. Don't know if it helped or not.

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances:
    University of Washington ($), UCSC ($$), University of North Carolina-CH ($), University of Wisconsin-Madison ($), Coumbia (MA), Boston Universtiy (MA)
    Waitlists:
    University of MD-CP ("priority")
    Rejections:
    Stanford, Berkeley, Northwestern (03/22), NYU (03/16), Columbia, UCSD, Michigan (04/14)
    Pending:
    UC Davis (no news by the time I accepted WI so I withdrew my application)
    Attending:
    Univeristy of Wisconsin Madison!!!
    Comments:
    Applying straight from undergrad, especially a low ranked one, is really hard. Advantage is you will be much younger when you get a phd! It's becoming a small minority that do it this way, without first doing masters or working. As one admissions director told me, you are competing against people with undergrads from top unis. Also, don't stress too much when you start to hear back, and probably just avoid internet forums for as long as you can... The grad school websites that say "March 15th you will hear back" are liars! I heard back as early as mid February and everything I heard after March 15 was bad news. Of course, this is just my experience. Yours could be different. May the odds be ever in your favor, and I wish you the best of luck. (P.S. summer before senior year was spent doing math classes and studying for GRE)

    What would you have done differently?
    Not much. Story would be different without Wisconsin, though. Still not sure if that is just lucky or not. I guess I overestimated my competitive range, so I would've not applied to NYU and Columbia and instead more schools in 30-15 range. I had lots of extracurricualr hobbies like clubs, etc. throughout college that I enjoyed but probably doing reserach would've helped my application more. But I have had so much joy from that part of my life that really helped me get through college. I would've started applications earlier. The applications was the workload of another class for me, and I really couldv'e started way earlier and finished way earlier as well instead of having finals and grad apps all bunched together.

  2. #12
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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: BSc Economics and Finance in HK

    Undergrad GPA: 3.85

    Type of Grad: N/A

    Grad GPA: N/A

    GRE: 170Q/162V/5.0A

    Math Courses: Calc I-III (A-,B+,B), Linear Algebra (A-), Intro to ODE (B+), Theory of Calculus (A), Intro to Probability (A), Real Analysis (B)

    Econ Courses: Standard undergrad courses, MA Macro, PhD Micro Sequence

    Other Courses: N/A
    Letters of Recommendation: Two letters from professors at home institution and one from professor at exchange institution.

    Research Experience: RA for two different projects (one in trade and one in environmental econ)

    Teaching Experience: N/A

    Research Interests: Applied Micro

    SOP: Talked about preparation, motivations for doing PhD, research interests (very vaguely as I don't know what exactly I want to do), why I chose the school

    Other: Did an exchange semester at a top 15 department (USNews) in the Midwest. Canadian citizen.


    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Maryland ($$), Virginia ($$), WUSTL ($$), Toronto Doctoral MA ($$), Queen's MA ($), UBC MA ($)

    Waitlists: Vanderbilt

    Rejections: UT-Austin, Penn State, UCLA, Wisconsin, Boston U,

    Pending: UC Davis, Rice (had interview)


    Comments:
    Very happy with the result.

    What would you have done differently?
    Work harder for math courses or take more math courses in the US.
    Apply to a few more schools in the 15-25 range.

    How accurate were others' predictions of your range of admissions?
    Was expecting to do an MA in Canada first. Didn't think I could make any decent PhD programs in the US.
    Last edited by okc; 04-21-2017 at 03:48 AM.

  3. #13
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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Top 5 Canada
    Undergrad GPA: 3.98
    Type of Grad: Top 5 US Masters Finance
    Grad GPA: 5.0 / 5.0
    GRE: 160 V, 170 Q, 4.5 AW
    Math Courses: Calculus 3, Adv Calc, ODE, Analysis 1 and 2, Algebra 1 and 2, Linear Algebra, Probability, Stochastic Processes, Mathematical Finance
    Math Courses (grad-level): Mathematical Statistics 1 and 2, Generalized Linear Models, Sampling Theory, Adv Stochastic Processes (in progress)
    A in all math courses

    Econ Courses (grad-level): Econometrics 1 and 2 (taken at my undergrad institution), Stat Method in Economics (Phd level taken during my masters), Econometrics (Phd level taken during masters, in progress).
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Honors Micro 1 and 2, Honors Econ Stats 1 and 2, Honors Macro 1 and 2, Honors Econometrics 1 and 2, Game Theory, Advanced Economics 1 and 2, Monetary Economics (A-)
    A in all econ courses except monetary economics (won undergrad award for top honors econ student)

    Other Courses: Financial Engineering, Financial Markets, Advanced Corporate Finance, Data Structures, Other Finance Courses
    Letters of recommendation: Tenured Professor in Econometrics with whom I took 2 classes and received A's. Wrote large paper for the grad class. Tenured Professor in Macro. Received A in class and he also coached our Governor's Challenge (Canada's version of Fed Challenge) team which one first place. Professor in Macro with whom I took 2 courses and did small independent research project with.
    Research Experience: Limited. Did small independent research project
    Teaching Experience: None
    Research Interests: Econometrics, Financial Economics
    SOP: Standard
    Concerns: Lack of research experience

    Applying to: Harvard , HBS , MIT , Sloan, BC, Chicago, Columbia, CBS, NYU, Stern, Northwestern, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Wharton, Brown, CMU, JHU, Duke, UVA, Michigan, Wisconsin, WASHU, Stanford, Berkeley

    Accepted: Princeton ($$$), Sloan ($$$), Northwestern (unfunded year 1), Berkeley (Low funding), Wisconsin, Michigan, Duke, UVA, Washu
    Declined to Pursue: CMU, JHU, BC
    Rejected: the rest

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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    Long-time lurker, first time poster...

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    Math/Econ major, private top 10 econ dept.
    Undergrad GPA:
    3.64 - but wait, there's more!
    Type of Grad:
    MA in the same department (see below)
    Grad GPA:
    3.39
    GRE:
    169V / 170Q / 5.0 AW
    Math Courses:
    Mostly honours courses in the math department. Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calc (B, A, A-), Real Analysis (B, A-, A), Probability (A-, A, A), some seminar courses (A)
    Econ Courses (undergrad):
    Intermediate Micro (A-), Intermediate Macro (A), Intermediate Econometrics (B+, A-), other fields.
    Econ Courses (grad):
    PhD Micro (B, B, A-), PhD Macro (A-, B), PhD Metrics (B). Took some field courses during my RA period with A's.
    Other Courses:
    Poli Sci and 1-2 Stats courses. I took the minimum number of econ field courses so would have time to explore other things.
    Research Experience:
    Undergraduate grant in the summer before senior year; senior thesis; 1-2 part-time RA tasks for undergrad faculty; 2 years full-time RA at B-school.
    Teaching Experience:
    TA/grader for intro calculus sequence and an MBA class once.
    Research Interests:
    Household finance; labour, specifically macro-labour and personnel/contracts.
    Letters of Recommendation: All well-published APs. RA supervisor (financial economist), supervisor/my coauthor (macroeconomist), thesis advisor (econometrician). Strong enough that they advised me to apply "as high as possible."
    SOP: Spent way too much time on this. In the end, just mentioned I know what I'm getting into with academic research, mentioned my bad grades are due to taking hard classes, and ensured my research interests aligned with the department
    Other:
    1) The "MA" was due to me taking a lot of first-year PhD courses my senior year.
    2) I started out being a principal RA on one of my supervisor's papers but was "promoted" to co-author status on a follow-up
    paper. This paper is starting to form nicely, but only recently after admissions season finished.

    RESULTS (in chronological order):
    Acceptances: CMU Tepper, Maryland, Wharton Applied Econ, BU, Northwestern (off waitlist). All with funding.
    Waitlists: Penn Econ, UCSD, Penn State (I think)
    Rejections: All of the "Top 7," plus Chicago Booth and Brown.
    Attending: Wharton Applied Econ

    Comments:

    1) About the GPA thing: while I tried to explain it as the result of taking hard classes, some of which were curved down (especially with PhD micro), my grades really are bad. As a result, I cast my net widely in terms of rankings. I wasn't planning on applying at all to the top 7 (i.e. ranking higher than Northwestern, Columbia, Penn, NYU), but I was egged on by my rec letter writers. The results signal I was screened out at those departments anyway.

    2) Digression on my RA experience: it seems this forum has an ongoing debate on the value-added of RA positions. I think my RA experience was immensely helpful to me, where I learned to code much better and think on the spot. That said, barring co-authoring a paper and getting a R&R during my stint, I don't think I could've done enough in just two years to make myself competitive for top departments. It does seem like certain departments weigh RA experience more highly than others; at Wharton, I think 7 of the 9 visiting students had a 2-year RA stint.
    (My plan is to stick around the forum in the future and clear up people's questions about the RA path to grad school in particular. Also note that among all RAs I interacted with at my school, my placement is definitely below average: others have received offers from Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford and HBS.)

    What would you have done differently?
    Planned my course load better. In terms of playing the admissions game, one of the worst decisions I made was to try and take the hardest math and econ courses when I should have applied for a PhD prep track at my university, or focused on advanced undergrad field courses and do well in them. Do I regret what I did? Not necessarily, since I still retain all the cool stuff I learned in those courses. That said, the gain from this early exposure is likely smaller than the lifetime loss of not attending a top econ department in the counterfactual.

    I apologize if I sound ungrateful for my placement; I chose Wharton because I found out it is a great fit. I think it's established, however, that undergraduate pedigree plays a big deal in admissions. Attending a top 10 econ school is a privilege; those who were truly top of the class in my cohort, i.e. those with perfect GPAs, received top 10 and even top 5 PhD offers. The same cannot be said for equally credentialed people at state flagships, for example. I feel like I've squandered my opportunity somewhat, but such is life I suppose.



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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    BS Finance and Mathematics, NYU Stern
    Undergrad GPA:
    3.83/4
    Type of Grad:
    MBA at IIM A/B/C (top B school India)
    Grad GPA:
    6.92/9
    GRE:
    Q: 168, V: 162
    Math Courses:
    Calc 1-3, Linear Algebra, ODE, Analysis 1, Algebra 1, Math Modeling, Vector Analysis
    Econ Courses:
    Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics
    Letters of Recommendation:
    3 Professors from MBA program
    Research Experience:
    Undergraduate Thesis at NYU Stern
    Teaching Experience:
    TA - Marketing and Math Tutor at NYU
    Research Interests:
    International Economics and Finance
    SOP:
    My SOP was well structured and I managed to tie in all my achievements, extracurricular activities, research and teaching experience to create a narrative about why I wanted to pursue a Masters and a PhD. The key, I think is to explain why you did what you did and how it relates to the various aspects of a PhD in economics and life thereafter.


    RESULTS:
    Acceptances:
    Oxford MPhil, Cambridge MPhil, LSE EME, UCL MSc, UoT MA (TAship)
    Rejections:
    UBC MA
    Attending:
    Oxford MPhil
    Comments:
    Was surprised to get rejected by UBC

    What would you have done differently?
    I wish I had applied to some programs in the top 30, would have saved me two years and lots of money. But at the beginning of the application season, I honestly did not feel confident of cracking a funded offer at any of the top 30 programs. I also wish I had applied to CEMFI as the program would have offered the same benefits as Oxford MPhil but at a significantly lower cost.

    How accurate were others' predictions of your range of admissions?
    Fairly accurate, as most posters predicted that I would crack one or two of the aforesaid institutions.




  6. #16
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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: BSc Economics, top ranked institution in home country (little known elsewhere)
    Undergrad GPA: Top 3%
    Type of Grad: M. Econ., top ranked institution in home country (little known elsewhere)
    Grad GPA: Top 2%
    GRE (Q/V/A): 170/166/6.0
    Math Courses: Calculus I & II, Linear Algebra, Probability and Statistics, Real Analysis (PhD course)
    Econ Courses: pretty standard; intermediate-to-advanced microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, plus some field courses
    Other Courses:
    Letters of Recommendation: (1) master thesis advisor, PhD @ Top 5 US; (2) PhD @ Top 5 US, did well in two of his classes; (3) young researcher whom I TA'd for. Strong letters all around I suppose, although my referees aren't world-renowned scholars
    Research Experience: None, other than my masters' thesis
    Teaching Experience: TA for 3 years (undergraduate macroeconomics courses)
    Research Interests: Macro, Migration
    SOP: standard; talked mostly about research questions that interested me
    Other: NA

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Minnesota ($$), Columbia ($$), Maryland ($), Rochester ($$), Bocconi ($)
    Waitlists: Boston U (rejected right away once I got the email)
    Rejections: Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, NYU, Penn, Chicago, UCLA, UBC, Cornell
    Pending: Toronto (asked me whether I was still interested, replied that I wasn't)
    Attending: Columbia
    Comments: Pretty happy with the way this turned out, given my lack of research experience and having a master's from a relatively unknown school in Europe. Applying to the top 5/6 schools in US was admittedly a stretch.

    What would you have done differently?

    being more proactive in finding RA opportunities, maybe doing a master's degree in a more prestigious institution somewhere else in Europe


    How accurate were others' predictions of your range of admissions:
    Like other posters have said, most people underestimate the competitiveness of the PhD application process. My master thesis advisor expected me to have a top 5 offer - I surely didn't. anyway, thrilled to be going to Columbia, and best of luck to everyone applying next year!

  7. #17
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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    PROFILE: Canadian student in mediocre school ranked 200-300 in the world.
    Type of Undergrad: B.Math Double Honours in Math and Economics
    Undergrad GPA: 3.91/4.0
    Type of Grad: N/A
    Grad GPA: N/A
    GRE: N/A
    Math Courses: Real analysis, Differential equations, Statsitics and Probability, Other less popular heavy math courses
    Econ Courses: Advanced Econ,
    Other Courses:
    Letters of Recommendation: 1 from the dean, 2 from the regular faculty
    Research Experience: 1 year with econ faculty
    Teaching Experience: 2 years as TA since first year summer
    Research Interests: Flexible
    SOP: Standard
    Applied: U of Toronto, UBC, Queen's, Paris School of Economics, LSE

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Everywhere I applied
    Waitlists: None
    Rejections: None
    Pending:
    Attending: PSE
    Comments: Decided to attend PSE to see Piketty and Paris.
    I might transfer to US if I don't find a good supervisor at PSE.
    I agree entirely with the guy above who said applying from non-high ranked schools directly to these top schools in Canada and UK was not easy. I was fortunate to have references who attended MIT. Otherwise, I doubt that I would've been accepted at PSE and LSE, two schools that are harder to get into among the schools I applied.
    The downside is that even though I got admissions from everywhere with "full funding", they weren't exceptional. They all offered me standard funding at around $20000. Someone from good university with my profile would probably receive a lot more funding.

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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    Econ BA from top Latin American University
    Undergrad GPA:
    7 out of 10
    Type of Grad:
    Econ Masters from same undergrad Uni
    Grad GPA:
    3.7 (or close to that)
    GRE:
    169Q, 160V, 3.5A
    Math Courses:
    Calc 1-2, linear algebra and differential equations from undergrad; real analysis, probability and intro to measure theory and optimization at grad level
    Econ Courses:
    all main courses at undergrad; micro, macro, econometrics, labor at grad level
    Other Courses:
    Letters of Recommendation: One letter from my master's thesis advisor, PhD from major UK uni but unknown. pretty good letter, but perhaps the weakest out of the bunch. Other letter from labor professor at my university, recent PhD from top UK uni with few but good publication, perhaps known at her specific field, probably the strongest letter since she co-advised my master's thesis, did very well in her grad course and knows me pretty well. Last letter from famous professor in my country. Although not having strong international publications he might be known by name in his area. RA'd with him during my undergraduate and graduate years. PhD from top UK uni also.

    Research Experience:
    RA for two years with this professor, one during undergraduate, one during graduate, no papers resulted from it.
    Teaching Experience:
    TA for Probability and Intro to Measure Theory (grad level) and Microeconomics II (grad level)
    Research Interests:
    Applied micro, labor, structural econometrics
    SOP: Very standard, but changed last paragraph accordingly, mentioning specific professors and strong areas from each university I applied

    Other:


    RESULTS:
    Acceptances:
    Rice ($$)
    Waitlists:
    Maryland, Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    Rejections: Northwestern, Berkeley (ARE), NYU, Columbia, Yale, UCL, LSE, Vanderbilt, UNC, Brown, Duke, Wharton Applied Econ

    Attending:
    Rice
    Comments: I probably aimed way too high, I thought my letters would be stronger. Not really sad though, as I am very excited with my (only) result. I feel like I could have been accepted at Illinois off the waitlist, as they asked if I was still interested close to the April 15th deadline, but I had already accepted my offer from Rice


    What would you have done differently?
    Not sure. Maybe wait another year to get stronger letters, but not sure what I could have done about it. I am very happy with Rice, but I would have probably aimed a little bit lower. I though I had good chances of being accepted at UCL or LSE, since all my letters are from the UK and at least two of those professors still maintain some kind of contact with them. Also Yale had my hopes up for a bit, as one of my letter writer's advisor is there and I was promised that he would be contacted, but it was a very long shot.

    I guess my undergrad GPA is not very good, but I heard that for foreign students, it is mostly ignored when masters GPA are available. I slipped in some of the core courses in my master's, and I think that
    definitely made a difference.

    How accurate were others' predictions of your range of admissions?
    My letter writes told me my list was pretty good and I would have a pretty good shot at those. I don't blame them for saying that though, I knew I was aiming high. I think my profile would be better suited for a 35-60 ranking.

  9. #19
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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    Profile
    Type of Undergrad:
    Top 50 State School
    Undergrad GPA: 3.55
    Type of Grad: NA
    Grad GPA: NA
    GRE: 165Q/159V/3.5AW
    Math Courses: Calc I(A)/ Calc II(A)/ Calc III(B+), Linear Algebra (B+), Diff Eq (A), Into to Proof (C), Advanced Calculus (A), Real Analysis (A), Topology (A), Intro Stats (A), Probability (A), Stochastic Processes (B+)
    Econ Courses: Intro Micro/Macro, Intermediate Micro/Macro, Advanced Micro/Macro, International Econ, Econometrics, Math Econ, IO (All A's)
    Other Courses: Programming
    Letters of Recommendation: Math Econ Prof - I think was very good, Econometrics prof - was probably fine, Research Advisor - I think was excellent.
    Research Experience: Worked as undergrad research fellow with well known prof in environmental. Python/R.
    Teaching Experience: Economics tutor for 3 years
    SOP: Took some time with it - I thought it was pretty good.

    RESULTS:

    Acceptances: UC Irvine, U Washington, UC Santa Barbara, UNC Chapel Hill. All full funding
    Waitlists: CMU, UC Davis, UMD
    Rejections: UCLA, Boston College, Yale, Berkley ARE, Brown, Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins,
    NYU, UCSD, Vanderbilt.
    What would you have done differently?
    Taken first year Phd Micro sequence in undergrad. Take the GRE much earlier and do better.


    How accurate were others' predictions?
    Pretty accurate.

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    Re: Profiles and Results 2017

    PROFILE
    Type of Undergrad: Econ from top 100 international liberal arts-like university (top 5 in home country)
    Undergrad GPA: 4.00
    Type of Grad: None
    Grad GPA: N/A
    GRE: 170/170/6.0
    Math Courses: Intro Calculus (A+), Intro Statistics / Probability (A+), Mathematics for Economics (A+), Mathematical Economics (Grad, A+)
    Econ Course: Principles (A+), Corporate Finance I/II/III (A+), Intermediate Micro (A+), Asset Pricing (A+), Applied Econometrics (A+), Advanced Macro (A+), Advanced Micro (A+), Econometric Theory (A+), Monetary Econ (A+)
    Letters of Recommendation: Evidently very strong given placement - few students go to PhD, so professors tend to enthusiastically support those who do and I had strong relationships with all three professors. (1) Grad Mathematical Economics Prof, Top 5 PhD, (2) Corporate Finance Prof, Top 5 PhD, (3) Thesis Advisor, top 100 PhD.
    Research Experience: Senior Thesis
    Teaching Experience: TA for various courses in junior and senior year
    Research Interests: Macro
    SOP: Assume it was standard - talked about why I was interested in my specific topics and pointed out what about each school made it a good fit for those interests.
    Concerns: Far less math on transcripts than peer group (judging by these forums)

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances:
    Chicago ($$$),
    Princeton ($$$), Berkeley ($$), Columbia ($$) various schools in home country (N/A to $)
    Waitlists: N/A
    Rejections: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, UPenn, NYU, Northwestern, HBS, Minnesota, Chicago Booth

    Comments: Frankly, I placed higher than my profile probably deserves - especially given the relative dearth of mathematics on my transcripts. My saving graces were that (1) I believe I was the only student in my year applying to top PhDs, so I had the undivided support of my recommenders, and (2) my grad mathematical economics prof could attest that my transcripts understate my mathematical preparation. Although it is obviously unwise to generalize from one data point, my case at least disproves that you must have real analysis or must have RA experience to get into top PhD programs.

    What would you have done differently? In terms of the process, nothing. I'm thrilled with how it turned out - I'm very fortunate to have gotten the placements that I did. In terms of my undergraduate degree? Taken more mathematics - it would have made applications marginally less stressful and first year considerably less painful.


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