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Thread: Fall 2019 PhD in Econ Profile Eval (Finance Background)

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    Question Fall 2019 PhD in Econ Profile Eval (Finance Background)

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    Hello all, I was wondering if anyone could please help evaluate my profile for fall 2019 PhD in econ application. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Type of Undergrad: think HKUST, major in Finance, minor in Applied Maths
    Undergrad GPA: 3.86/4
    GRE: 170Q/158V/4.5AW
    Math Courses: Cal I, II, III, Linear Algebra, Probability, Applied Stat (Advanced) [B+], Stochastic Process (Proof-based) [B+], Time Series Analysis (to be taken next sem), ODE (currently taking, grade available on 1st Jan), Financial Maths (
    currently taking)
    Econ Courses: Principles of & Intermediate Micro & Macro, Metrics, Financial Metrics, M & B, Various field courses (Analysis of Econ Indicators, Macro Policies, International Banking, Econ of Tourism, etc.)
    Other Courses: Finance courses (corporate finance, portfolio mgmt, derivative securities, int'l finance issues, fin'l markets etc.)
    *Grade A for courses w/o specific indication. No A+ in my uni.
    Letters of Recommendation: 3 solid ones. One from head of dept of finc and business econ. Took his courses twice. PhD from top Canadian Econ program. One from deputy head of dept. Took his course once and did summer RA for him. One finc prof, supervising my thesis now.
    Research Experience: Summer RA mentioned above, thesis writing now (using metrics method to investigate finc mkt performance)
    Teaching Experience: -
    Research Interests: strangely, both econ development and monetary econ
    Other: 1 sem exchange to one of the top 2 unis in Singapore. Did the probability course there.

    My concerns: 1. finc - econ; 2. not high GRE V; 3. little research experience; 4. aside the stoch process course, no other courses are proof-based.

    Given my profile, I'm thinking of ~Top 40-60 US programs. EU programs also under consideration, but most of them seem to require that one obtains a master first.

    All inputs greatly appreciated. :)

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    Re: Fall 2019 PhD in Econ Profile Eval (Finance Background)

    (1) Is there a reason you aren't applying to PhD Finance or PhD Financial Economics programs? Remember that finance at the PhD level is *very* similar to economics. "Finance" as a research discipline is basically financial economics, and is much more rigorous than undergrad finance. In my opinion, someone with your background should always aim for PhD finance - better funding, better chances in admissions, similar research/tools. The only exception is those students who want to do micro theory.

    (2) I'm aware that your pedigree is pretty strong, but I don't think American adcoms will accurately recognize the strength of a finance degree from HK. Lack of econ faculty connections from your letter-writers will also make it more difficult. If you want to apply to PhD econ programs, I strongly suggest getting an econ master's in Europe first. (possibly UK or Canada)
    Last edited by chateauheart; 10-29-2018 at 07:43 AM.

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    Re: Fall 2019 PhD in Econ Profile Eval (Finance Background)

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    (1) Is there a reason you aren't applying to PhD Finance or PhD Financial Economics programs? Remember that finance at the PhD level is *very* similar to economics. "Finance" as a research discipline is basically financial economics, and is much more rigorous than undergrad finance. In my opinion, someone with your background should always aim for PhD finance - better funding, better chances in admissions, similar research/tools. The only exception is those students who want to do micro theory.

    (2) I'm aware that your pedigree is pretty strong, but I don't think American adcoms will accurately recognize the strength of a finance degree from HK. Lack of econ faculty connections from your letter-writers will also make it more difficult. If you want to apply to PhD econ programs, I strongly suggest getting an econ master's in Europe first. (possibly UK or Canada)
    I think the OP is not applying to finance programs because their research interests are in development and monetary. There is no one doing development work in B-school finance departments. There are people doing some very loosely monetary econ related stuff in finance departments, but not much.

    I do agree that the OP would have a better chance at getting into finance programs given their current profile and LOR's, but if it does not fit their interests, I am not sure pushing them toward finance is a good idea.

    I would suggest that the OP look at B-school Econ PhD programs. They are usually run out of the B-school but are usually jointly offered with the school's econ department. The adcoms will usually be from the B-school and might be more familiar with the OP's background, but it would provide access to researchers in the OP's areas of interest. Unfortunately, there are few such programs, and they tend to be at top 30 B-schools which I think the OP would have little chance of getting into.

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    Re: Fall 2019 PhD in Econ Profile Eval (Finance Background)

    Be aware that many of the master's programs European institutions require are the same as the coursework during the Ph.D. in the US.

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