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Thread: Controversial Profile Evaluation

  1. #1
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    Smile Controversial Profile Evaluation

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    Hello Urch,
    I am going to apply for a Phd program this year. I have some concerns regarding my chances because I have a bit controversial profile.
    If there is one who have some knowledge regarding my situation could you please share your opinion?
    Type of Undergrad: Unknown University in Asia in Finance
    Undergrad GPA: 3.5 (good finance courses grades)
    Type of Grad: Masters at the same university in Finance
    Grad GPA: 3.8 (good finance courses grades)
    GRE: Q168, V156

    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Microeconomic (B+), Statistics (C) Statistics II (B-), Macroeconomics (A-), Principles of Economics (C-), Principles of Economics ll (B+), Econometrics (B), Government Regulation of Economy (A).

    Math Courses (undergrad-level): Mathematics for Economists I to IV (All A- or A), the courses covered calculus, linear algebra, differential equations matrixes, and from all of them I got either A or A-

    Econ Courses (grad-level): Macro and Micro Economic (A-)
    Letters of Recommendation: I am currently working in a research institute in country which is not know abroad. And I plan to get one reference letter from 2 of my coworkers (I think they are not known abroad), and 1 plan to get from my prof who taught me some finance courses at university.

    Research experience: I think it is the only thing that can help me to get into a phd program. I have a solely written empirical paper, which uses advanced econometric techniques and is accepted at a quite good journal.

    The Journal have an impact factor at about 1.6. It is a fairly new journal (founded about 20 years ago), but it has some good economists published there, some of them the Nobel laureates. The paper is on Institutional and Political economics.

    Concerns: Small amount of econ and math courses and bad econ grades. Unknown university and references from unknown profs and scholars. By the way, i had bad grade only in the first two year of my undergrad, but in the last i got As from almost every course. Unfortunately, all econ, statistics and econometric courses were taken during the first two years.

    My question is: Can my paper and quite high GRE Q scores help me to get into a phd program.
    My thoughts are: Good gre can show that I do not have any problem with math. And the published paper can show that I can do original research, I am good in statistics and econometrics (since the paper is empirical and uses a lot of econometric techniques), and since it is on Institutional and Political economics it can show that I have quite good knowledge in these fields. Moreover, I have 2 years of experience in a research institute as a junior research fellow, and about 2 years as a market risk manager (requires a lot of econometrics and statistics) in financial institutes in my country.

    I know my application is really controversial. If someone had such profile or know someone who has, could you please share your experience.
    I am planning to apply to top 30-60.
    Any help will be appreciated!
    Last edited by danik; 12-07-2017 at 02:34 PM.

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    very little chance at a top 50. GRE 168 is nothing special, most asian students have 170. No math courses, and mostly finance stuff which won't help with first year econ phd courses. your undergrad GPA is not good.

    If you're hellbent on econ phd,, apply for masters in econ in canada and go from there. Alternatively, if you plan on returning to your home country after grad school, branch out more (top 80 perhaps).

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    Having a good GRE is a necessary but not sufficient condition to show that you can handle the mathematical rigour of PhD coursework. I mean, they're testing high school math + reading graphs and charts.. Your GRE score will mean that you'll at least survive the first cut, but I'm not entirely certain that you can meet the GPA requirement, since 3.5 is rather low (as mentioned by ksuga). Your grad GPA is decent, but if your whole profile screams finance, you really have to convince adcoms why you're switching to econs at this juncture. As it currently stands, you do not have sufficient math courses. Any Mathematics for Economists courses will be discounted at a single glance, unless you can provide the syllabus to substantiate the claim that it's rigorous. Applicants are expected to have at least a year-long sequence of calc, algebra and preferably some exposure to proof-based or analysis course.

    As for letters, letters from profs from other fields (even adjacent fields such as finance) will be discounted, unless said finance prof came from an Econs PhD programme.

    Given that you come from a relatively unknown school, you ought to look towards the profs in your school for advice on where to apply, assuming that they've sent students to US PhD programmes in the past/recently. At the very least, they'll be able to judge your relative standing.

    On a more positive note, you are pretty much set on the research experience portion of your application. Yes, having a paper published is definitely a plus, even if it is in a low impact-factor journal.

    If you're adamant on applying to only good schools, like ksuga mentioned, you'll be much better off doing a masters. You can look at LSE's Msc Econ (don't bother trying for EME, you won't get in), BGSE's masters programme or even those 2 year programmes like Oxford's MPhil, CEMFI's MSc or PSE's M1&M2 programme, so that it'll give you some time to know the faculty members and get good letters.

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    Well, i understand that my gre score does not indicate that i a math genius, but at least adcom will not worry about my math abilities.

    I actually took math classes, which are math for economists. I donít remember what was the syllabus of the classes, but we covered staff like: calculus, linear algebra, differential equations matrixes, and from all of them I got either A or A-

    But I got your general point, and I totally agree with it. That was the main point why I am asking the question here. I really have a very bad profile.

    The only thing that I am hoping for is my published paper. It is not some kind of low level journal. It is among top 100 economic journals, according to SSCI, and it uses serious econometrics.

    My point is: universities require high grades from econ and math courses and look for recommendations from good scholars because they are looking for signals that the applicant can become a researcher and publish papers. If I already have a good solely written paper, they do not need that signal they have real example of my abilities.

    That is what I am hoping for. I could not find in the internet an example like this, when an applicant had a publication in a good journal, and that is why I cannot understand how much it can help.

    Yes, I would say I want to get to a good phd program, mainly because I want to work in academia. Yes I might be able to get into a top 100 program and get back to my country, but my goal is to do real research, but, unfortunately, in my country nobody interested in research.

    In addition, I think that getting masters somewhere in Europe is not a desirable option for me. I am already 26 years old, if I go to phd after 2 years of masters I will get my phd degree only at 33-34. And it is too expensive to study in Europe, I think I cannot afford it.

    But still thank you gays for your advice!

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    Most people enter the PhD programme in their late 20s so that's not really an issue.

    My point is that, you can have a million papers published in journals but if your grades won't survive the first few rounds of cuts, adcoms won't even be looking at your application package. While it is tougher to ascertain research ability, it's a lot easier for adcoms to decide if you can survive PhD coursework. As it currently stands, you don't have sufficient math and grades to convince them. Barring special circumstances, they'll never take in someone who, in their opinion, can't at least survive the first 2 years of coursework.

    If your profile is sufficiently good, certain programmes offer full tuition waivers. CEMFI even offers stipend to incoming masters students. PSE's school fees are basically nonexistent. The only costly thing is living in Paris. BGSE and Bocconi both offer merit-based tuition waivers.

    Spending an additional year or two is a strictly dominant strategy if it will allow you to enter a significantly better programme; more so for your particular case where you seem to check all the boxes except for grades in econ coursework. Doing well in a well known graduate programme will help put to bed any concerns of your math abilities.

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    By academic job do you mean in the US?

    I don't want to sound more discouraging, but if you're hoping to work in US academic market you need to get into a T20 uni to stand a reasonable chance (these days more like T15-T10). US academic market is very hard to break into, unless you produce an exceptional jmp and perhaps do a post doc at a top school. Other avenues for research in US are institutions like WB/IMF but these also hire mostly from good schools (T50 mostly).

    So a master's is unavoidable for you if you want to work in research in US. Alternatively if you want to go to industry in US, you can probably do so from a lower ranked school.

    Again, if you want to go back to your home country, the ranking probably wont matter and you can try right away. Best of luck


    Quote Originally Posted by danik View Post
    Well, i understand that my gre score does not indicate that i a math genius, but at least adcom will not worry about my math abilities.

    I actually took math classes, which are math for economists. I donít remember what was the syllabus of the classes, but we covered staff like: calculus, linear algebra, differential equations matrixes, and from all of them I got either A or A-

    But I got your general point, and I totally agree with it. That was the main point why I am asking the question here. I really have a very bad profile.

    The only thing that I am hoping for is my published paper. It is not some kind of low level journal. It is among top 100 economic journals, according to SSCI, and it uses serious econometrics.

    My point is: universities require high grades from econ and math courses and look for recommendations from good scholars because they are looking for signals that the applicant can become a researcher and publish papers. If I already have a good solely written paper, they do not need that signal they have real example of my abilities.

    That is what I am hoping for. I could not find in the internet an example like this, when an applicant had a publication in a good journal, and that is why I cannot understand how much it can help.

    Yes, I would say I want to get to a good phd program, mainly because I want to work in academia. Yes I might be able to get into a top 100 program and get back to my country, but my goal is to do real research, but, unfortunately, in my country nobody interested in research.

    In addition, I think that getting masters somewhere in Europe is not a desirable option for me. I am already 26 years old, if I go to phd after 2 years of masters I will get my phd degree only at 33-34. And it is too expensive to study in Europe, I think I cannot afford it.

    But still thank you gays for your advice!

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    GRE Q 168 means nothing really. You will need a real analysis course in your transcript to get into pretty much any top 50 PhD programs. Yes it Q168 will let you survive through the first screening but there is no marginal gain coming from GRE Q once it's above 167+. Note that Q 166+ is all 800 in old GRE.

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by stravel159 View Post
    GRE Q 168 means nothing really. You will need a real analysis course in your transcript to get into pretty much any top 50 PhD programs. Yes it Q168 will let you survive through the first screening but there is no marginal gain coming from GRE Q once it's above 167+. Note that Q 166+ is all 800 in old GRE.
    This is just not so. You need real analysis at the very top programs. You do not necessarily need real analysis at program 50. Does it help in admissions? Yes. But other things can compensate.

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by ksuga View Post
    By academic job do you mean in the US?

    I don't want to sound more discouraging, but if you're hoping to work in US academic market you need to get into a T20 uni to stand a reasonable chance (these days more like T15-T10). US academic market is very hard to break into, unless you produce an exceptional jmp and perhaps do a post doc at a top school. Other avenues for research in US are institutions like WB/IMF but these also hire mostly from good schools (T50 mostly).
    Afraid that simply isn't true - you just need to check the placement of unis that are outside the top 20 (e.g. UCSD) to see that plenty of PhDs from those places end up in other US uni's economics departments.

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    Re: Controversial Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by Rohanps View Post
    Afraid that simply isn't true - you just need to check the placement of unis that are outside the top 20 (e.g. UCSD) to see that plenty of PhDs from those places end up in other US uni's economics departments.
    UCSD is not outside the top 20.

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