Hi! I'm applying to PhD programs in economics and was hoping to get some help evaluating my profile / finding target schools. Some background: for personal/family reasons could not apply to graduate school right out of undergrad and worked a few years for government/policy institutions doing applied research (replicating papers, impact evaluation, number-crunching, etc). I'm aware I'm not the typical candidate, hence I plan on also applying to some Public Policy programs like HKS or Harris (I know it's a long shot, but I lose nothing by trying).

Anyway, here's my profile. Thanks!

Type of Undergrad:
Economics, Latin American university.
Undergrad GPA: 3.7 (Estimated. My ug institution uses a grading scale difficult to convert to American-style GPA).
Type of Grad: MSc Economics at top UK institution.
Grad GPA: 3.8
GRE: 167Q/160V/4.0A
Math Courses:
Didn't get good marks the first few semesters, but believe I made up for it later and in grad courses.
-Calculus 1-3
-Mathematics for Economist (Linear Algebra and ODE)
-Statistics 1-2 (Probability theory)

Took some graduate maths at UG uni. Did well here. Both As.
-Real Analysis
-Optimization Methods

Econ Courses:
Again, first year marks not so good. Aced everything later on.
-Up to advanced micro/macro
-Public economics
-Int. trade theory
-Econometrics I (Intro)
-Econometrics II (Cross section methods, panel data, time series)

All As.
-Development Economics.

Other Courses: J-Pal short course on impact evaluation methods (not sure if this counts for anything, but including it anyway).

Letters of Recommendation:
I expect all letters to be strong. Have close relationships with all of them:
  1. Senior prof. from grad institution. Not a superstar, but well known and respected in their field (top 5% repec, etc.). Gave advice on my masterís thesis and we have a good academic relationship. Talk often and encouraged me to go for a PhD.
  2. Prof. from undergrad (PhD from top UK uni). Did well in their course, later worked with them as RA and TA. Known each other for years and have a great relationship.
  3. Prof. at undergrad institution (PhD from top UK uni). Didnít teach me but worked with them as RA and later at a policy institution. Great relationship.
  4. Prof from grad institution. Took two modules with them, plus attended seminars and office hours. Doesnít know me as well as 1-3, but well enough for a good letter.

Research Experience:
-UG and MSc thesis.
-RA work at undergrad institution
-A few years doing applied research for government/policy institutions (see intro paragraph).

Teaching Experience: TA for undergraduates (Intro Macro, Intermediate Micro, Maths).

Research Interests:
Applied micro, development econ, political economy


  1. Spent a few years after undergrad working in government/policy (Iím in late 20s). Fear age might be a hindrance for some programs. However, Iím also aiming at Public Policy PhDs that might look favorably on it.
  2. All LoR are from professors in the UK or with UK PhDs. Fear they may not be as well known in US institutions / US admissions. I'll apply to UK unis, but am aware that funding is hard to come by and Brexit makes stuff uncertain.