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Thread: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

  1. #1
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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
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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
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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".

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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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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    You should try a Canadian master's first. Because of your lack of upper-year and graduate-level economics courses, I doubt your application will be competitive for those top programs.

    Apply to U of T, UBC, Queen's, Western, for master's. The master's program is just one year anyway and they offer good funding. If you do well then you can get admitted to top programs.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by mespebjidom View Post
    You should try a Canadian master's first. Because of your lack of upper-year and graduate-level economics courses, I doubt your application will be competitive for those top programs.

    Apply to U of T, UBC, Queen's, Western, for master's. The master's program is just one year anyway and they offer good funding. If you do well then you can get admitted to top programs.
    I don't know about the other schools but UofT is real stingy with funding. Was accepted a while back with no funding so I didn't enroll because the cost-benefit didn't work out for me.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    Hmm I didn't think U of T would be that stingy with funding. Have you tried U of T's Doctoral stream? I think the funding for the doctoral stream program is higher than the ordinary MA program.

    The four schools I've mentioned are all great preparation for PhD in top programs. Western's program is an MA leading to PhD.

    Perhaps you should also consider Barcelona GSE or even Bocconi for master's. They offer funding and I think with your GPA and GRE scores there's a good chance you'll get some funding.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    I didn't get into the doctoral stream. What I mean when I say they're stingy is that overall very few get into the doctoral stream, who are the only ones who get funding.

    Thanks for the suggestions, btw. Though I don't plan on doing a Masters. The cost-benefit just doesn't work out for me.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: Old Man Edition

    No offence, but if you didn't get into U of T's doctoral stream then it would be very very difficult to get into the programs you've mentioned. Western's MA program is like a doctoral stream program and you'll be able to finish your PhD in 4-5 years. Although I must add that it's quite challenging to get into the top Ontario schools as an international student.

    Anyway, good luck!

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