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Thread: What track should I take?

  1. #31
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    Re: What track should I take?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Softway View Post
    Ok. I will analise your points seriously.

    But think twice. I can not totally open my situation, for a identification question. Maybe I work at something close to a research enviroment. Maybe it will be possible I be surrounded by researchers that will help keep my focus. Not academic advisors, but competent people. Maybe it will be possible that I spend the most part of my time to conclude the thesis.
    Will it be sufficient to finish the thesis? I do no. There are lots of variables here. The field, how deep I will dive at the thesis, find an advisor with a root in reality (biased to empirical work, for example), how my skills will improve until the end of the program and much more...
    As I already told, I work 10 or more hours a day. Work hard will not a problem... I will face it as a new job and do my best...
    In my case it is not the case of a degree to find a job after, but the experience, the challenger of test my limits.
    I have tryed understand this process for a long time and have learned lots with you guys. I have a good idea of the amount of suffering does it involves... My initial question was only about the better path (the trade-off between age and preparation) and I have not decided this point yet.
    For now, I am risking only my peace and some marginal money.
    I need only a tuition waiver and that a good program accept me...
    Thanks again!
    I hope, if you do make into a PhD program, that you somehow develop the ability to listen to good advice.

  2. #32
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    Re: What track should I take?

    tm_member,
    I know you are an expert. Probably you are an AP at some very good program.
    Besides that, maybe because of my broken English, I could had sound arrogant in some way. Trust me, it is not the case and I apologize if you and chateauhaert or other people here understood in this way.
    I totally aware that I am an weak and old candidate. I listen to good advice from you and people close to me. The problem is the inverse, I listen to too much good advices and when I put all them together some are conflicting.
    I recognize yours advices probably are the most rational ones, but at the same time I remember you told to some candidate asking for advice that people here were speaking about his life and that he should take the advices with a grain of salt (not exact with these words).
    My feelings are the same, I have listened to all of you, but I feel I need to try, I want to try. You make your point and now I know it is a irrational choice, but I can nor fight against it. Maybe two years from now I can change my mind or new issues make me avoid this path.
    I am very gratefull to all you for being sincere with me.
    Thanks!

  3. #33
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    Re: What track should I take?

    Quote Originally Posted by Softway View Post
    tm_member,
    I know you are an expert. Probably you are an AP at some very good program.
    Besides that, maybe because of my broken English, I could had sound arrogant in some way. Trust me, it is not the case and I apologize if you and chateauhaert or other people here understood in this way.
    I totally aware that I am an weak and old candidate. I listen to good advice from you and people close to me. The problem is the inverse, I listen to too much good advices and when I put all them together some are conflicting.
    I recognize yours advices probably are the most rational ones, but at the same time I remember you told to some candidate asking for advice that people here were speaking about his life and that he should take the advices with a grain of salt (not exact with these words).
    My feelings are the same, I have listened to all of you, but I feel I need to try, I want to try. You make your point and now I know it is a irrational choice, but I can nor fight against it. Maybe two years from now I can change my mind or new issues make me avoid this path.
    I am very gratefull to all you for being sincere with me.
    Thanks!
    It's true that the advice-givers on this board do not always know the full picture. Also, advice-seekers on this board should always take comments with a grain of salt.

    However, in my opinion your case is more cut and dry than any I have encountered in almost eight years posting on this forum. You are simply not a good candidate for a phd program in economics. I do not mean that you are a "bad" candidate from the point of view of a PhD admission committee. Instead, I make this judgment based only upon your stated goals, life situation, and aptitudes. That is, even if a program offers you admission, you should decline the offer. Leave the spot for someone who actually will complete the program and who might use their degree for its intended purpose. That will benefit you, the candidate who takes your spot, and the department that you would have attended. A win, win, win, if you will.

    If a program does offer you admission with a tuition waiver, that is on them. I wish you the best of luck in your future.

  4. #34
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    Re: What track should I take?

    Thanks for your advices, tm_member.
    Thanks a lot.

  5. #35
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    Re: What track should I take?

    To expend on tm_member's point: I think it's fair to admit we could be too young to understand something like a mid-life crisis, i.e. the desire to have a drastic change in lifestyle, aim for an intellectual achievement, and have the opportunity to travel abroad. They seem to be the main reason why you want to do a PhD, and we might not be able to judge whether these are "rational" preferences. However, even conditional on taking such implied preferences as given and assigning a high weight to them, we still think it's a bad idea.

    There are two parts for why it's a bad idea: (i) getting into an economics PhD is not feasible for you in the short term and, (ii) conditional on you investing enough time and resources to get into a PhD program, the end-result might not be as good as you expected.

    We can give the former prediction because of what we (on this forum) have learned for years about the difficulty in the admissions process. We can give the latter advice because, in our experience as PhD students, both of us had encountered a large fraction of people who began with high aspirations for academia, then quickly became disillusioned because their personalities or backgrounds are not a good fit for academic-style research or teaching (and there was no way of knowing this beforehand). The drop-out rate for PhDs is close to 50% in most American programs, with the top 10 programs being an exception, but still having drop-out rates of around 25-40%. That's just counting the students who ended up without the interest (or capacity) to complete their coursework and defend their dissertation.. Outside society places a high prestige and reputation associated with being an academic, but for the people inside - conditional on getting a foothold into academia - an unusually high proportion of people intrinsically dislike it, and more people quit the profession than virtually any other type of industry.

    I'm not criticizing academia as bad or broken; I think the highly selective system has its merits. But for most students before starting their graduate student life, the choice of enrolling in a PhD degree is equivalent to a high-payoff, high-risk gamble. When the gamble has such high variance, basic economic principle suggest that young people should be more willing to take such risks, and old people should be less willing. Furthermore, opportunity cost increases even more for married people with good existing careers; your investment into the degree will include time spent with family and your current income for 5+ years. That's a lot of resources to put into a 50-50 gamble, at best.

    Keep in mind that those 50% of grad students who dropped out might have had the same "dream" of getting a doctoral degree that you do. But the weight of such "dreams" is a monotonically increasing function of your distance from academia - the more detached you are from academia, the more relevant it seems. When grad student life actually starts, whether you enjoy your day-to-day work is the only thing that matters, and those 50% of students decided they didn't even want to complete their doctoral degrees before leaving. Given your own family needs and idiosyncratic background, I think your chances of changing your mind, dropping out, and not getting any payoff for your sunk cost is likely higher than 50%.

    I'll end by conceding that life advice is never guaranteed to be correct because personality/preferences are unobservable from other people's point of view. But I think the unobservable part of your personality would have to be 2+ standard deviations off the norm for such a gamble to justify itself at the end.

  6. #36
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    Re: What track should I take?

    As someone approaching your age and circumstances, I have two recommendations:

    1) Listen to your wife

    2) There are simpler yet harder ways to solve your problem that do not involve getting a PhD. I do not get the impression that you really want to a get a PhD, nor would receiving one solve your problem. I think you need to think very hard about what is eating away at you, and once you identify what it is, address it accordingly. This is hard to do, but I am sure you can do it.

  7. #37
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    Re: What track should I take?

    I can't advise you whether to apply of not because neither I'm at your age nor I've been through graduate studies.

    However, if you decide to apply, make sure you give yourself enough time for studying English intensively (I'd recommend about 4-6 hours a day for a year if you want to get to a sufficient level). Otherwise, unfortunately, you don't qualify because US schools pay a lot of attention to good English skills - at the of the day you are supposed to teach and write papers. Furthermore, you'll need to pass GRE and TOEFL very well, so give yourself enough time for a couple of attempts to both exams, after you learn English well. This means that the earliest you can apply is for Fall of 2019.

    Listen to advice of other people, but most importantly listen to your heart! All the best!

  8. #38
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    Re: What track should I take?

    Thanks Chate for dedicate your time preparing a so complete and balanced answer.
    I appreciate your words.
    Thanks a lot!

  9. #39
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    Re: What track should I take?

    Thank you too, Kaysa and greg3.
    I will consider your advice too.

  10. #40
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    Re: What track should I take?

    When I started this thread I asked for advice about two paths.
    The discussion changed totally and became one about if I should or not to attend a phd program in economics.
    Your points had a serious impact on me and I will ponderate some adverses scenarios.
    I noticed you already have made your mind, then there is no point in try to continue explain or discuss nothing.
    Besides that, I know you want the best to people who come here and ask for advice: Have a true Picture is Always better then have an illusion.
    Thank you very much and have a nice new year eve.

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