Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
I don't agree entirely. When I took grad macro, the instructor asked each of us if we had dynamic programming. Around half of the class had dynamic programming from prior coursework (usually, master's degrees), but the instructor later told us that the best students were those who didn't take dynamic programming in the past. I was one of the latter group and scored two standard deviations above the median.

IMO, having studied something like Romer's Advanced Macroeconomics will be more important than having learned dynamic programming. Grad macro teach you the Bellman equations, but they test you on actual macro models, and your ability to solve these models depends on your familiarity with macro topics.
What I meant from that was that if you're already familiar with dynamic programming and optimal control, at least you won't have to grapple with the 'whys' of the techniques and just have to worry about learning the content, compared to someone totally new who'd have to struggle with the technique as well as the content. That being said, having the economic intuition is obviously central to doing well in grad level coursework. This come from learning the content, removed from the perturbations brought about by mathematics. A sizeable number of grad students are too occupied with - allow me to borrow the term from EJMR - mathurbation than actual economics. They get too obsessed with the math and forget to pick up the intuition along the way. At least, that's what I've noticed thus far.