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Thread: How is Phd in Managerial/Business Economics different than a Econ PhD

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    Question How is Phd in Managerial/Business Economics different than a Econ PhD

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    Hi All,

    I wanted to understand how different is the selection process & research for Business PhD in Managerial Economics versus getting into an Econ PhD. Need a better understanding for a couple of reasons:

    1. Though my core interest in Developmental Econ & Public Policy, my profile won't get me into a Top 30 in Econ program. Going through research areas of profs and PhD students at Kellogg/Ross/Harvard - it aligns pretty well with what I would like to do (A lot of interesting areas with respect to institutions, countries, political science, decision making and more).For e.g: At Northwestern, there is Phd in Developmental Economics, and the MECS program at Kellogg lists Developmental Economics as an active research area. Same for Michigan Ross

    2. How/what can I do improve my profile to get an admit - I don't want this to become a profile evaluation but want tips what one should do to get into such a program, I currently have:

    • MBA from IIMA (top B-school in India) - I was in the top 15% of the batch but no masters/bachelors in Econ
    • A grades in Economics related courses (except in Macroeconomics - I & never took Econometrics course)
    • A good reco from a Harvard Econ Phd - did a Developmental Econ project under her in IIMA
    • Planning to take RAship under an Econ prof for 18 months (10 months when I apply to colleges for Fall 2020)
    • No other significant research credentials - one paper during undergrad in a low impact journal & currently in Digital Sales for a Technology firm for last 3 years
    • Do courses from Coursera built credibility


    1. Explaining my maths courses becomes a little tricky coz it doesn't neatly map into the US system, but let me take a hack at it. At undergrad, three math courses (6 months each) - Calculus, Engineering Mathematics - II & III; This broadly covers Calculus - I & II, Linear Algebra, Polar Coordinates & a little bit of Statistics - Top 2 grades in all of them (the equivalent of As). At postgrad, three courses of Statistics - Probability & Statistics I, II, III - A in two of them, B in one of them. And there were quite a few math-based courses such as Decision Making, Labour Markets, Business Research Methods, Impact Evaluation

    Thanks. Your inputs will be helpful as I'm planning to apply next year (not this season)

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    Re: How is Phd in Managerial/Business Economics different than a Econ PhD

    I'm not very good at assessing candidates from India. What I can tell you is that the difficulty of getting into Kellogg/Ross/HBS is approximately equal to the difficulty of getting into the econ program at their respective schools. (I think HBS is much more difficult).

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    Re: How is Phd in Managerial/Business Economics different than a Econ PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubrus View Post
    I'm not very good at assessing candidates from India. What I can tell you is that the difficulty of getting into Kellogg/Ross/HBS is approximately equal to the difficulty of getting into the econ program at their respective schools. (I think HBS is much more difficult).
    Yep. One thing to keep in mind is that these PhD programs often give students access to the same courses and faculty, but have a higher stipend and/or a reduced teaching load. This makes them more competitive when students are deciding between offers.

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    Re: How is Phd in Managerial/Business Economics different than a Econ PhD

    Thanks. That's helpful, as well as a little worrying to understand where I fit in. I have a few seniors from my grad college with an Engg+MBA background getting into the Business Econ programs (at Top 20) but all of them were more than 7 years before. Based on my profile, do you see a Top 30 school within a shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubrus View Post
    I'm not very good at assessing candidates from India. What I can tell you is that the difficulty of getting into Kellogg/Ross/HBS is approximately equal to the difficulty of getting into the econ program at their respective schools. (I think HBS is much more difficult).
    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    Yep. One thing to keep in mind is that these PhD programs often give students access to the same courses and faculty, but have a higher stipend and/or a reduced teaching load. This makes them more competitive when students are deciding between offers.

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