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Thread: Profile Eval

  1. #1
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    Profile Eval

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    Finished Junior studies. Planning 1.5 more years in undergrad. 2 more years in grad. I am wondering what I can do to prepare for phd right now.

    Type of Undergrad:
    Top 2 Economics program in Korea, Top 100 world wide (US News, by subject)
    GPA: 3.9/4.5 (3.7/4.0 where A,A+:4, B,B+:3, etc.) ; math&econ: 4.2/4.5
    Type of Grad: N/A
    GRE: N/A, TOEFL: 110 (sp. 27, wr. 28)
    Math courses taken (undergrad): Calc I,II (A,A+ ; Calc II = mutivariate), Linear Algebra (A,A+)
    Planning to take Analysis I,II, Real Analysis, Topology I, Diff. Eq., Partial Diff. Eq., Intro to Probab., Mathematical Statistics, Stochastic Process, Topics in Applied Math
    Econ courses taken: Principles of Econ I,II (A+,A+), Micro (A), Macro (A; retaken), Math for Econ (A), Stat for Econ (A+), Econometrics I,II (A+,A ; metrics II = time series metrics), International Finance (A), International Trade (A+), Financial Econ (A+), Strategy and Information Econ (B+), Empirical Micro (A+)
    Planning to take Industrial Organization, Indus.Org. Seminar, Empirical Analysis of Econ Policies, Mathematical Economics, grad micro, grad macro
    Other Courses: Statistical Inquiry (B+), Formal logics (A), bunch of other philosophy & law courses
    Recommendation Letters:
    1 from Metrics professor who knows me well. 2 others not yet decided.
    Research Experience:
    1 paper on International Finance (exch. rate) with 5 other undergrads. Presented at an undergrad conference.
    1 paper on Finance (derivatives) with another undergrad. Will be presented at undergrad conference.
    1 funded independent research on Micro Theory. Ongoing.
    I know all three are not much of a signal.
    Research Interest:
    Primary - micro theory, secondary - finance

    Concern: What can I do for now to get ready for theory application? I heard a rigorous math course work is a prerequisite for theory work, so I'm planning to take a lot of math courses in the following semesters. What else can I do to improve my profile? Would taking an RA job at a Korean research institute help as a theory applicant? (most of the work will be on empirical studies). I'm confident of my mathematical potential, so I would like some advice assuming my future math scores converge to A's.
    Last edited by WelshCorgi; 01-10-2018 at 05:07 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Profile Eval

    Seems like a lot will depend on your pending grades for real analysis/grad econ classes, as well as on your letters of recommendation. Otherwise, I think it's a little bit early to tell

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    Re: Profile Eval

    Quote Originally Posted by mathenomics View Post
    Seems like a lot will depend on your pending grades for real analysis/grad econ classes, as well as on your letters of recommendation. Otherwise, I think it's a little bit early to tell
    Thank you for your reply!! May I ask what other theory applicants do for their profiles? Are there people doing "theory" RAs during undergrad studies? Thank you.

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    Re: Profile Eval

    Quote Originally Posted by WelshCorgi View Post
    Thank you for your reply!! May I ask what other theory applicants do for their profiles? Are there people doing "theory" RAs during undergrad studies? Thank you.
    I took a look at the CVs of theory job market candidates and my general sense is that most of them do a Master's in Mathematics or have a Bachelor's in Mathematics but no undergrad RA experience in theory (at least none of them mention it).

    But don't let that discourage you because I've talked to some folks who graduated top Econ PhD programs, indicated interest in theory and got in without a Master's/Bachelor's in Mathematics, so it is possible. But they didn't graduate with a PhD in theory.

    So my general sense is that it's possible to get in, hard to graduate in theory, if u don't have that background.

    But that's just my personal experience from the outside. I'm applying for theory PhD this year with a similar profile to yours.

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    Re: Profile Eval

    Quote Originally Posted by brobroski View Post
    my general sense is that most of them do a Master's in Mathematics or have a Bachelor's in Mathematics but no undergrad RA experience in theory (at least none of them mention it).
    I agree that people doing theory often have bachelors in mathematics, but I think having a bachelors in mathematics is not alone sufficient for theory. In fact, plenty of empirical-oriented applicants have bachelors in mathematics because the "basic" math requirements for econ PhD programs involve so many math courses anyway. Also, it's pretty rare for RA's to work on theory projects. I haven't seen any at my undergrad nor at my current job.

    To be honest, I don't really know what preparations look like for theory-oriented applicants- I'm sure more experienced members on this forum can give you better advice. My guess is that if you do well on all of the additional courses you've mentioned, you'd have pretty solid coursework- but doing well on grad micro/grad macro is definitely no joke.

    Did you write an undergrad thesis? If not, you probably should, on a theory topic. It would be a great chance for you to explore whether theory is the right path for you, and you could also have a theory professor advise you on your thesis, which would help you get letters of recommendation.

    I'm currently working as a full time RA and have not applied to PhD programs yet, so please take anything I say with a grain of salt.

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