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Thread: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm applying for Econ PhD but feel like an old man because I would be mid-30s if I graduate in 2024 Been out of school for a while.

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: My degree says one of top 3 uni in Canada. But I didn't study on the main campus and people look down on my campus. It's complicated.
    Majors: Economics and Mathematics
    Undergrad GPA: 3.88/4.00
    GRE: 156V, 167Q, 4.5W


    Math Courses:
    A and A+ classes: Intro to Analysis, Intro to Crypto, Complex Variables, Game Theory, Probability and Stats I & II, Linear Algebra I & II, Calc I & II, Discrete Math, Groups & Symmetries, Combinatorics, Differential Equations
    Not A classes: Calc III (B+), Geometrics (B)

    Econ Courses:
    A and A+ Classes: Applied Econometrics, Advanced Micro & Macro, Risk Management, Financial Market Microstructure, Financial Economics I, Family Economics, etc
    Not A class: Financial Economics II (B+)


    Letters of Recommendation: Two econ professors (one has tenure, the other doesn't). A VP at my Econ Consulting firm (I've worked there for 3+ years, worked with the VP for ~1 year).
    Research Experience: Did research for a prof for 1+ years. Produced no notable results LOL.
    Teaching Experience: TA for Linear Algebra and Mathematical Proofs
    Research Interests: Micro Theory (I briefly mention matching theory, game theory and market design in my SOP)
    SOP: I might have put too much time into this. 8 revisions with help from PhD reviewers. I think I've spent about 80 hours total. Then 1~2 hours per school to identify professors whose research I'm interested in.
    Other:
    I've a couple of concerns:
    (1) My research assistance experience was lengthy but produced no results (I blame the data lol). I also didn't write a thesis for my undergrad.
    (2) My professors lack renown south of the border, plus I haven't seen them for 3+ years.
    (3) My research experience and work experience are all geared towards Applied Micro but then I realized my true passion is in Theoretical Micro so the SOP was a little hard to write.
    However, an additional strength I might have is my work experience. The firm I work for is top 3 in the US so most on the admissions committee would've heard of it.

    I've sent out applications to: Chicago, NYU, Columbia, Yale, Boston U, Boston C, MIT, Harvard, UCLA, Stanford, Berkeley, Northwestern, Cornell, Caltech, UW Madison, U Illinois UC, UC SD, Brown

    What do you think, guys? Does this old man stand a chance?

  2. #2
    Within my grasp!
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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    You overshot very high. You should obtain a masters before trying at a top 20-40 program. Sorry.

  3. #3
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubrus View Post
    You overshot very high. You should obtain a masters before trying at a top 20-40 program. Sorry.
    Aren't there a lot of Canadians with undergrad degrees who apply straight to PhDs? Assuming his described research experience isn't actually bad, I don't think he overshot.

    I wouldn't know how to translate that provided GPA but I assume it's something on par with a 3.9 at a top public university in the U.S., which is very high in percentile ranking.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by brobroski View Post
    (3) My research experience and work experience are all geared towards Applied Micro but then I realized my true passion is in Theoretical Micro so the SOP was a little hard to write.
    To maximize your admissions advantage, I suggest you sell yourself as something like a theoretical I.O. candidate (or whatever field that's closest to what you worked on in consulting). Your math background wouldn't be ideal as a pure theory candidate, and your work experience wouldn't give you a particular edge in pure theory either (apart from being a small signal of work ethic). You can do whatever the heck you want after you get into a PhD program, so it's sensible to state a field that fits your strengths on paper. It's fairly easy to write a SOP saying "I found myself interested in researching such and such [applied micro topic] issues at a deeper level than what I was told to do in consulting".

  5. #5
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubrus View Post
    You overshot very high. You should obtain a masters before trying at a top 20-40 program. Sorry.
    You don't really need a Masters to get into those programs, although they do improve your odds greatly. I have considered doing a Masters but it just doesn't make Economic sense for me (I am quite old and already make around as much as Assistant Profs do). So if I don't get in, I'll just stay in industry I guess.

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