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Thread: Anyone familiar with RA(including NBER) recruiting cycle?

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Anyone familiar with RA(including NBER) recruiting cycle?

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    Hi there

    I am strongly interested in working as an RA next year and I am trying to apply them. So for positions starting next summer, I just wonder it is normal to apply now? Becuase I have seen many recruitment adverts on NBER websites. Also, there are like, first round, second round, or something. Do professors hire RAs mostly from the first round? Frankly, I have missed some key dates so I am quite frustrated now, of course, they have the second round offer, but how chance is going to be? So, we are in the regular season for the RA applications, or this is a little bit early? Anyone knows the logistics of RA application??

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    Re: Anyone familiar with RA(including NBER) recruiting cycle?

    It's never too early to apply.
    Some professors have several round of recruitment (eg: Chetty, first round Nov, second round March, also Finkelstein etc, most of them have many full time RAs) but also many of the position only have one round.
    According to my experience, there's no particular season for RA recruitment, different professors have their own timeline, (last year most notice are released between Nov-Jan: including Booth (multiple center), Chetty, Finkelstein, HBS (multiple), Wharton (Real estate, health, econ...), Kellogg). This tool can help you browse the archives of the website so you could see the approximate release date of each position Wayback Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Leprintemp View Post
    Hi there

    I am strongly interested in working as an RA next year and I am trying to apply them. So for positions starting next summer, I just wonder it is normal to apply now? Becuase I have seen many recruitment adverts on NBER websites. Also, there are like, first round, second round, or something. Do professors hire RAs mostly from the first round? Frankly, I have missed some key dates so I am quite frustrated now, of course, they have the second round offer, but how chance is going to be? So, we are in the regular season for the RA applications, or this is a little bit early? Anyone knows the logistics of RA application??

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    Re: Anyone familiar with RA(including NBER) recruiting cycle?

    I'm currently an RA for an NBER affiliate, so hopefully my experience can be of some use. I am only familiar with the postings on the website and not the other large employer of RAs, the Fed, so I'll only talk about the NBER postings.

    You should absolutely start applying now if you are interested in any of the positions through the NBER. From my experience, as well as talking with other RAs about their experiences, there are two large pushes for hiring RAs who will start the coming summer: mid-November and late Winter/early Spring. But many positions are on a rolling basis and are open now (many of them prestigious!) so if you are not applying now you are removing yourself from consideration for a lot of great positions. In between the larger pushes I mentioned are sporadic postings which you should keep an eye on too.

    As to your question about first and second rounds, I think that is unique to the larger labs like the Chetty lab (and maybe the Greenstone lab?). But yes, if you are interested in those kinds of positions there are large returns to being in the first applicant pool. Importantly, though, if you feel that you cannot write a good application (mainly the cover letter) in time to meet the first round deadlines then wait for the second round.

    Maybe my process for applying will be of use as well. I started applying at the beginning of September during my cycle and was hired in mid-November. I wrote the outline of a cover letter that I could send to all of the positions, and cleaned a writing sample (correcting grammar, making graphs look nicer, etc.). I then checked both the "Job Openings at the NBER" and "Research Assistant Positions - Not at the NBER" pages once a week. When I saw an opening in which I was interested, I tailored the cover letter outline to the specific position, and applied. The tailoring process was basically just to read through a paper or two of the author(s) to make sure I would enjoy working for the professor(s) and be able to speak with specificity about one paper I found interesting in the cover letter. But don't feel the need to tailor cover letters, I know people who sent out a generic cover letter to all positions and still were hired.

    Hopefully the above was helpful. Let me know if you have more questions.

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    Re: Anyone familiar with RA(including NBER) recruiting cycle?

    Apply now. You're already kind of late for the fall recruitment cycle. Postings can be found on this page.

    There is generally a fall recruitment cycle and a winter/spring recruitment cycle. Both cycles are for positions starting next summer or fall. Some professors do hire RAs in both cycles, but many hire only during one cycle. When people refer to "rounds" in recruitment, they're usually referring to the hiring process. For instance, employers might screen resumes first, then hold the first round of interviews, then hold a second round of interviews, etc.

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