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Thread: Profile Evaluation 2019

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Profile Evaluation 2019

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    Hi all,
    I am a bit confused as to where I should apply. Strong undergrad econ grades, pretty good GRE research experience, and meh undergrad math grades. Kind of unsure about where I should apply, as I think my profile is strong in some areas, and pretty lackluster for top programs in others. Planning on sending out applications.

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    Top 30 Liberal Arts College, pretty good track record of placements in 10-20 econ programs.
    Undergrad GPA: 3.75, Econ major (4.0 in major)
    Type of Grad: N/A
    GRE: 167Q, 166V, 4.5AW

    Undergrad Math Courses: Calc I-III(A,A,B+) , Applied Statistics (A), Proof-based Linear Algebra (A-), Diff-EQ(B+), Proof-based Combinatorics/Graph Theory (B), Real Analysis (B+). Planning on taking math-stats sequence before attending grad school
    Econ Courses (undergrad level): All A's: Micro (A), Macro(A), Econometrics (A), Law&Econ seminar(A), International Trade seminar(A), Behavioral Econ seminar (A).

    Letters of Recommendation:
    Should be good. Will probably get 2 from good economists at Fed, and then 1 from an undergrad research adviser who knows me well. I don't consider myself outrageously gifted, so probably none of my letters will say that I'm the best RA they've ever had or anything.

    Research Experience:
    -3 Undergrad research papers. One published in undergraduate journal (not that meaningful I know). Won a university award for undergrad research.
    -Currently working as an RA at a Federal Reserve bank.

    Research Interests: Applied Micro/Applied econometrics, Labor, environmental, health and education (all over the place right now, I mostly just want the best training I can get) .

    Concerns: 1) Mediocre math grades. My mediocre Calc III and Diff Eq grades were mostly due to time-management/motivation issues, so I'm not worried about being unable to succeed in that respect. I know that's not an admissions committee issue, but I feel competent in those subjects.

    Not sure where to aim because my math grades are so meh. I'm not trying to be a theorist, but I know how important this stuff is...
    Any advice on where I should aim, and what preparation to do in the next year before applying would be greatly appreciated. I could do a masters, but I would probably need funding.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by unilateral; 12-18-2017 at 04:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2019

    Bump...

  3. #3
    Within my grasp!
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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2019

    I have a decently similar profile to yours, except that after 2 years at a Fed I moved to another 2 years at an NBER RA gig to improve my profile (as opposed to, say, a master's across the pond). If you haven't considered that option, it may be worth thinking about, if in fact you want to boost your profile before applying.

    I'd have to guess that right now you'd be aiming for top 15-25 range, maybe 10-25 with good recs. Top 10 isn't impossible, but I wouldn't guess it in expectation. Worth getting more opinions, as I'm just applying myself.

    If you do consider another RA gig (NBER/SIEPR/etc), here are the benefits I see (as someone who has made that jump):
    - Get rec letters from well known profs. I'm impressed you say your college has done well with PhD placements in the past. I'm from a liberal arts college as well, and we've placed okay for the small number of PhD applicants. But the conventional wisdom is liberal arts profs are not as well known because they don't publish as much, and so their letters carry less weight. This may apply to a lesser degree for Fed economists (do they publish in journals? do they attend conferences?).
    - Take/audit some PhD-level courses at a top-notch institution
    - Hone your research skills with top academics
    - Get paid (as opposed to paying for master's)

    Unfortunately I'm applying this cycle, so I won't be able to share my results until likely after you would have decided on your path for next year.

  4. #4
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2019

    Seems like a decent profile. If your undergrad college has a good track record of placing in 10-20 econ programs, then you should be competitive for that range. Some of your peers might have had better math than you did, but you'll probably have more research experience than they did.

    And, conditional on getting into a 10-20 econ program, there would be no good reason to do a master's program.

  5. #5
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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2019

    This is a strong profile. I wouldn't do a masters. My advice is:

    1. Pick schools that are strong in your fields of interest where students are actively working in those fields.
    2. Apply widely. In the scheme of things, applications are cheap.

    I assume you are talking with your letter writers, esp college professors, about where to apply and where past students have attended.

  6. #6
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2019

    Thank you very much for the responses.
    @jjrousseau: I've thought about that, but wasn't sure two RA positions was really something if it was something that people actually do. It could definitely be cool to be an RA on a project with big-time economists, so I'll definitely keep that in mind.

    @chateauheart +tbe: Thank you for the responses and advice. This is very helpful.

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