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

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

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    I am going to apply for some PhD in Economics for Fall 2019
    My undergrad: majored in Accounting 8.42/10 (one of the top schools in business and economics in Vietnam)
    My masters: majored in Finance 4.38/4.5 (an unranked university in South Korea).
    Math course:

    • Linear Algebra (A+)
    • Calculus (B+)
    • Optimization (A+)
    • Probabilities and math statistics (A+)
    • Applied Statistics in Business and Economics (A+)
    • Statistics (Grad) (A+)

    Econ courses:

    • Microeconomics I (B+)
    • Macroeconomics I (A)
    • Development economics (B+)
    • International Economics (A)
    • Theories of Monetary Finance (A)
    • Econometrics (Grad) (A+)
    • Time-series (Grad) (A+)

    My unofficial GRE score: Verbal 147, Quantitative 167. I have not received my AWA score yet.
    My LORs:
    1 from my masters thesis advisor (PhD in Finance at Wisconsin at Madison)- not really strong. 1 from a professor that I worked as his RA (PhD in Economics at Boston Uni)- looks okay
    1 from a statistics professor, I am not sure about this letter.
    My questions are:

    • My background lacks calculus II,III, and some other math courses as well as intermediate micro and macroeconomics? How does it hurt my application?
    • My verbal score is quite low, given that I am an international student with my IELTS score of 7.5? I understand that the committee puts more weight on Quantitative section, but does my super low verbal harm my chance?
    • If I take some online course without certificates on Math, does it count?
    • Some of schools that I may shoot: Hawaii at Manoa, Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Clark, UTexas at Dallas. Do I have any change getting in? Do you guys have suggestions for some schools that I should apply for?


    Any suggestion is highly welcomed.

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

    Hi there!

    From my understanding, there aren't many schools that will take you without you having taken the calculus courses. I would take another year to take those courses, and perhaps try your GRE again. The quant score is very good but that verbal score might really hurt you. It doesn't have to be incredibly high, but just up to a better level.

    Hope that helps.

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

    Hi Nhan,

    Switching from Finance to Econ is usually tough. Given your background, why don't you try some programs in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhanntran View Post
    I am going to apply for some PhD in Economics for Fall 2019
    My undergrad: majored in Accounting 8.42/10 (one of the top schools in business and economics in Vietnam)
    My masters: majored in Finance 4.38/4.5 (an unranked university in South Korea).
    Math course:

    • Linear Algebra (A+)
    • Calculus (B+)
    • Optimization (A+)
    • Probabilities and math statistics (A+)
    • Applied Statistics in Business and Economics (A+)
    • Statistics (Grad) (A+)

    Econ courses:

    • Microeconomics I (B+)
    • Macroeconomics I (A)
    • Development economics (B+)
    • International Economics (A)
    • Theories of Monetary Finance (A)
    • Econometrics (Grad) (A+)
    • Time-series (Grad) (A+)

    My unofficial GRE score: Verbal 147, Quantitative 167. I have not received my AWA score yet.
    My LORs:
    1 from my masters thesis advisor (PhD in Finance at Wisconsin at Madison)- not really strong. 1 from a professor that I worked as his RA (PhD in Economics at Boston Uni)- looks okay
    1 from a statistics professor, I am not sure about this letter.
    My questions are:

    • My background lacks calculus II,III, and some other math courses as well as intermediate micro and macroeconomics? How does it hurt my application?
    • My verbal score is quite low, given that I am an international student with my IELTS score of 7.5? I understand that the committee puts more weight on Quantitative section, but does my super low verbal harm my chance?
    • If I take some online course without certificates on Math, does it count?
    • Some of schools that I may shoot: Hawaii at Manoa, Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Clark, UTexas at Dallas. Do I have any change getting in? Do you guys have suggestions for some schools that I should apply for?


    Any suggestion is highly welcomed.

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

    Hello,

    Thanks for your reply. I will take your suggestions carefully.

  5. #5
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    Re: Application evaluation (non-econ background for low-ranked schools)

    Quote Originally Posted by Irukandji View Post
    Hi Nhan,

    Switching from Finance to Econ is usually tough. Given your background, why don't you try some programs in Europe?
    Hello,

    My professor suggested that I should try PhD in Econ because Econ admits a dozen of candidates every year, that of Finance is only 3-5 students. I think PhD in Finance is highly competitive globally? Or is it less competitive in Europe? It seems to me that it would be tough applying for Econ, but I think I don't even have any chance in Finance.

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

    Indeed, Economics programs tend to admit more students than Finance programs. However, what also matters is the research interest that you signal and the rigor and prestige of your current degree.

    From my personal experience, some European universities might be more welcoming with candidates having no calculus courses on their transcripts. But the main reason why you should consider Europe is because most of the time, application is free in Europe, hence it doesn't hurt applying to more places.

    You should also check out the placement record of the program and try to compare your background with someone who graduated from certain programs (look at the Job market candidates link) - in this way, you know more about your expected future after graduation as well as a rough guess of your chance to get admitted. The ultimate goal is never trying to get into a program at all cost, but to get into a program that gives you the job you want.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by nhanntran View Post
    I am going to apply for some PhD in Economics for Fall 2019
    My undergrad: majored in Accounting 8.42/10 (one of the top schools in business and economics in Vietnam)
    My masters: majored in Finance 4.38/4.5 (an unranked university in South Korea).
    Math course:

    • Linear Algebra (A+)
    • Calculus (B+)
    • Optimization (A+)
    • Probabilities and math statistics (A+)
    • Applied Statistics in Business and Economics (A+)
    • Statistics (Grad) (A+)

    Econ courses:

    • Microeconomics I (B+)
    • Macroeconomics I (A)
    • Development economics (B+)
    • International Economics (A)
    • Theories of Monetary Finance (A)
    • Econometrics (Grad) (A+)
    • Time-series (Grad) (A+)

    My unofficial GRE score: Verbal 147, Quantitative 167. I have not received my AWA score yet.
    My LORs:
    1 from my masters thesis advisor (PhD in Finance at Wisconsin at Madison)- not really strong. 1 from a professor that I worked as his RA (PhD in Economics at Boston Uni)- looks okay
    1 from a statistics professor, I am not sure about this letter.
    My questions are:

    • My background lacks calculus II,III, and some other math courses as well as intermediate micro and macroeconomics? How does it hurt my application?
    • My verbal score is quite low, given that I am an international student with my IELTS score of 7.5? I understand that the committee puts more weight on Quantitative section, but does my super low verbal harm my chance?
    • If I take some online course without certificates on Math, does it count?
    • Some of schools that I may shoot: Hawaii at Manoa, Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Clark, UTexas at Dallas. Do I have any change getting in? Do you guys have suggestions for some schools that I should apply for?


    Any suggestion is highly welcomed.
    No Econ program in the US will fund someone with limited Math and Econ backgrounds. They might admit you with a decent GRE Q score plus letters suggesting a good fit and research interests, but they won't fund you.

    Do you have any research experience? Why do you want to do a PhD?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    No Econ program in the US will fund someone with limited Math and Econ backgrounds. They might admit you with a decent GRE Q score plus letters suggesting a good fit and research interests, but they won't fund you.

    Do you have any research experience? Why do you want to do a PhD?
    I have to disagree with tm_member here. A student with an A+ in linear algebra and in two grad courses and strong letters is a plausible candidate at many schools outside the top 20 or so. Mind the OP suggests that the letters won't be strong. [But questions about research experience and why do you want a PhD are ones a candidate should always be able to answer.]

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

    Hello,

    During my masters, I have done my thesis on a finance topic (investment). My paper has been sent to a Scopus-indexed journal and under review. I've also worked as a research assistant for one of my professor for 5 months. I would like to do my PhD because I am really interested in development economics, especially poverty and inequality. Any chance for me with some schools in top 100.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by nhanntran View Post
    Hello,

    During my masters, I have done my thesis on a finance topic (investment). My paper has been sent to a Scopus-indexed journal and under review. I've also worked as a research assistant for one of my professor for 5 months. I would like to do my PhD because I am really interested in development economics, especially poverty and inequality. Any chance for me with some schools in top 100.
    You should have no trouble with admission at a top 100 school. (I think there are only 138 econ PhD programs in the U.S.) This does assume supportive letters of recommendation.

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