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Thread: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

  1. #21
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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

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    I am sorry if it is inappropriate to upload a reference letter here, but here is a draft of my advisor's letter. What do you think?

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I have known XXX since he joined our master program in which I have been the director from the beginning of 2016. Our program has been designed in such a way that students are trained to be a serious researcher. As one of requirements of our master program, our students have to submit their papers to the level of Scopus journal by the time they graduate. XXX has been one of the most diligent students in our program, and has just finished up the process successfully. On the surface, he looked a bit quite, but I have observed he becomes very focused especially when it boils down to academic matters. The fact that he has received high grades on a consistent basis proves it.

    I also had an opportunity to advise his thesis. In the thesis, he re-examined “AAA”. Most extant literature suggests a negative relationship between liquidity and stock returns. Some claim, however, that liquidity has a different role in the emerging market. In particular, using “aaa” stock market data, M (2014) and N (2016) showed a positive relationship between liquidity and stock returns. His paper re-investigates this subject in the framework of the augmented Fama-French model with momentum and liquidity. His study finds that the liquidity factor is priced. More importantly, there is a negative relationship between liquidity and stock return.

    Although we are still in the process of making his thesis published in a decent journal, I
    am certain that there is a publishable piece with interesting empirical significance in his
    thesis. While he wrote the thesis, I also noted that he always responded quickly and yet
    with great details to all the instructions that I gave; unless he was highly motivated and
    well equipped with analytical tools, it would not have been possible. In addition, I am
    sure that he is good at handling the data, because I observed that he had a solid
    knowledge on many statistical softwares, such as Stata and Eviews. As a team player, he
    too seemed to share what he knows with many of other students, and is willing to help
    other projects every time his skills are needed.

    I have a strong feeling that he is well prepared and thus will succeed in your program. First of all, he has good habits of studying, which includes his diligent and hard-working attitudes. His analytical skills with excellent statistical background will be a plus too. XXX also has a desirable character; he is humble, and yet persistent, and very focusing. Last but not the least, he is highly motivated and prepared to learn and absorb as much of economics and finance knowledge as he can.

    Based on my observation for the last two years, I dare can assure you that he will be an excellent student, once accepted into your program

  2. #22
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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by nhanntran View Post
    I am sorry if it is inappropriate to upload a reference letter here, but here is a draft of my advisor's letter. What do you think?

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I have known XXX since he joined our master program in which I have been the director from the beginning of 2016. Our program has been designed in such a way that students are trained to be a serious researcher. As one of requirements of our master program, our students have to submit their papers to the level of Scopus journal by the time they graduate. XXX has been one of the most diligent students in our program, and has just finished up the process successfully. On the surface, he looked a bit quite, but I have observed he becomes very focused especially when it boils down to academic matters. The fact that he has received high grades on a consistent basis proves it.

    I also had an opportunity to advise his thesis. In the thesis, he re-examined “AAA”. Most extant literature suggests a negative relationship between liquidity and stock returns. Some claim, however, that liquidity has a different role in the emerging market. In particular, using “aaa” stock market data, M (2014) and N (2016) showed a positive relationship between liquidity and stock returns. His paper re-investigates this subject in the framework of the augmented Fama-French model with momentum and liquidity. His study finds that the liquidity factor is priced. More importantly, there is a negative relationship between liquidity and stock return.

    Although we are still in the process of making his thesis published in a decent journal, I
    am certain that there is a publishable piece with interesting empirical significance in his
    thesis. While he wrote the thesis, I also noted that he always responded quickly and yet
    with great details to all the instructions that I gave; unless he was highly motivated and
    well equipped with analytical tools, it would not have been possible. In addition, I am
    sure that he is good at handling the data, because I observed that he had a solid
    knowledge on many statistical softwares, such as Stata and Eviews. As a team player, he
    too seemed to share what he knows with many of other students, and is willing to help
    other projects every time his skills are needed.

    I have a strong feeling that he is well prepared and thus will succeed in your program. First of all, he has good habits of studying, which includes his diligent and hard-working attitudes. His analytical skills with excellent statistical background will be a plus too. XXX also has a desirable character; he is humble, and yet persistent, and very focusing. Last but not the least, he is highly motivated and prepared to learn and absorb as much of economics and finance knowledge as he can.

    Based on my observation for the last two years, I dare can assure you that he will be an excellent student, once accepted into your program
    Everything here suggests a PhD in Finance would be a better choice.

  3. #23
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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    First, you should ask your advisor to proofread the letter. There are some obvious grammar errors that I see.

    Second, in light of your lack of math courses, you should convince him to talk more about your ability to do PhD-level coursework and handle high-level math. It would carry some weight if he could talk about that, given the fact that he comes from Wisconsin. Also ask him to address the B+ in Micro. That's a red flag.

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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by applicant12 View Post
    Your experience at Deloitte counts for nothing in the admission process (it may even count against you). But again, as I said, I suspect it's hard for you to stand out with your GPA unless you're among the top x students in your graduating class.
    This is plain wrong. B-school adcoms take that type of experience as a huge plus. I've spoken with and worked with b-school faculty who categorically reject students without work experience (counting internships), preferably in one of the big 3/4 companies in their field. Anyone that thinks a year in Deloitte is a negative on a resume is seriously out of touch with not just the real world but with most of the business/econ academia. Some econ department adcoms might be (incorrectly, IMO) biased against industry experience, but the vast majority will be neutral or positive.

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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    This is plain wrong. B-school adcoms take that type of experience as a huge plus. I've spoken with and worked with b-school faculty who categorically reject students without work experience (counting internships), preferably in one of the big 3/4 companies in their field. Anyone that thinks a year in Deloitte is a negative on a resume is seriously out of touch with not just the real world but with most of the business/econ academia. Some econ department adcoms might be (incorrectly, IMO) biased against industry experience, but the vast majority will be neutral or positive.
    Sure, you're right. I was referring to Econ dept, 'cause OP explicitly asked about Econ. I said Idk much about finance programs so I didn't wanna comment on that

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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by applicant12 View Post
    Sure, you're right. I was referring to Econ dept, 'cause OP explicitly asked about Econ. I said Idk much about finance programs so I didn't wanna comment on that
    I don't think your comment holds true for econ departments either.

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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    I don't think your comment holds true for econ departments either.
    Disagree strongly on that, at least based on my own experience.

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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    I don't think your comment holds true for econ departments either.
    I think the underlying claim is that someone who has experience at EY, Deloitte, PWC, and so on is likely to be unprepared for Econ PhD programs. This empirical statement then gets turned into a causal claim: working for a top consulting/auditing/finance/accounting firm hurts you in Econ admissions.

    Instead, I think the reality is that some work experience, conditional on being a good candidate in all other respects, is very unlikely to hurt for Econ admissions. It's just really unusual for someone who is a good candidate for an Econ program to have that experience.

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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    I think the underlying claim is that someone who has experience at EY, Deloitte, PWC, and so on is likely to be unprepared for Econ PhD programs. This empirical statement then gets turned into a causal claim: working for a top consulting/auditing/finance/accounting firm hurts you in Econ admissions.

    Instead, I think the reality is that some work experience, conditional on being a good candidate in all other respects, is very unlikely to hurt for Econ admissions. It's just really unusual for someone who is a good candidate for an Econ program to have that experience.
    I think this is one of the best comments in this thread. It's further confounded by the fact that having work experience often means you don't have strong academic letter writer options simply because you've been out of school. But it's not the work experience that's negative - it's the things associated with it. If you worked at Deloitte, have three great academic letters, published and have a great math background this is at least as good if not superior to all of those things minus the work experience even for pure econ programs. It's just that time is finite, so having all of those things while building work experience is less likely.

  10. #30
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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    I'll add that, regardless of whether it's negative, neutral, or positive on admissions outcomes, having work experience at a top consulting firm will significantly reduce your risk of attending a PhD econ program. You can get a master's or early PhD and continue in the same industry. Many straight-to-PhD candidates will struggle to find the same opportunities.

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