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Thread: advice for RA position

  1. #1
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    advice for RA position

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    I'm planning on applying for some RA positions at top institutions, and I have some concerns, primarily GPA and grades. (my school is known to be hard with some grade deflation). I was wondering what my chances are for getting into such RA position. And just advice in general will be very helpful (which math/econ courses to take, etc, what to do to maximize my chance for top 20's)

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Top 20-25 Private Research University
    Undergrad GPA:
    3.5
    GRE:
    N/A
    TOEFL: N/A

    Math Courses: Calculus I-III (A,A,A), Intro to Proof (C), Intro to Matrix Algebra (C), Advanced Matrix Algebra (A), Discrete Math (B), Differential Equations (A), Algebraic Structures (A), Operations Research (A), Stochastic Methods (A), Linear Algebra (A), Real Analysis I & II (A,A)
    Econ Courses: Intermediate Micro, Macro (A, A), Microeconomics I (Grad level; A) Econometrics (B, B), Market Design (B), Econometrics I (Grad level; A)

    Letters of Recommendation:
    N/A

    Research Experience: RA for my macro professor for more than a year, an independent study under him, plan on working with a well-known professor/author for a standard economics textbook
    Software Skills: Proficient - STATA, R, SAS, EXCEL, python
    Concerns: GPA, grades

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
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    Re: advice for RA position

    b u m p

  3. #3
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    Re: advice for RA position

    also, if anyone has any thought as to whether RA or MA in econ will be better for me, feel free to share your opinion please!

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    Re: advice for RA position

    Can you scrape data using Python?

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    Re: advice for RA position

    Undergraduates from American universities are far, far more likely to do the RA route rather than an MA.

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    Re: advice for RA position

    Quote Originally Posted by startz View Post
    Undergraduates from American universities are far, far more likely to do the RA route rather than an MA.
    Thanks for your input! My concern is, will I have a chance in landing an RA position at a top institution?

  7. #7
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    Re: advice for RA position

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaysa View Post
    Can you scrape data using Python?
    Yes, I have experience with that. Is that an important aspect of being a potential RA?

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    Re: advice for RA position

    -- deleted my repeat post --
    Last edited by jjrousseau; 12-26-2017 at 11:46 PM.

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    Re: advice for RA position

    I'm currently an RA at a top institution and my undergrad GPA was 3.6 at a top 10 liberal arts. Econ major with 5 math classes during UG. I also spent two years at a Fed between UG and the current job, and took one more math class there.

    While Fed probably makes me a somewhat different applicant than you, it's worth emphasizing that (1) you don't need a perfect GPA to get these positions, and (2) as Kaysa is probably alluding to, these jobs care quite a bit about coding ability and quality.

    RA's are pretty involved in screening applicants, so I can also say we pass through a decent number of applicants with GPA's around 3.5/3.6 to the second round, which is a coding task. 3.4 or lower is iffy, but that also tends to be because transcripts show weak grades in important courses. Your previous RA work will also help you.

    So, yes, you can absolutely land an RA job at NBER, SIEPR, etc. You may need a tiny bit of luck to receive the coding task, but if you get it, make sure to give it a right go and really demonstrate your coding and writing ability. For us, at least, that ends up being the dominant signal.

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    Re: advice for RA position

    advice pls :/

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