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Thread: Want Some Advice about my profile

  1. #1
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    Want Some Advice about my profile

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    Hi, I graduated with a double major in poli-sci and economics, from a top 10 econ school, with a 3.7 GPA, with honors in Poli Sci (unfortunately however, because of a blunder i had one year when i was a bit overworked my econ gpa is only 3.3). I then went to work at a bank for two years, but now am going to apply to a Econ PHD, but I'm unsure my application is strong enough for the top econ schools. Unfortunately, since I only realized that i wanted to do a phd, at around my last year in college, i only managed to do calc 1-3 and linear algebra (with about a A- on these classes), and couldnt do Real Analysis. I understand that i need two academic recommendation letters, but i'm not sure they are very strong - one would be from an associate professor who i had lots of classes with, and the other from a professor i had a few classes with (including econometrics). The third would come from a director at the bank i work with.

    I understand some people recommend that undergrads full time r.a. for a while, but that is not an option for me, as i am a foreigner, and i think it would be complicated to get a visa to merely R.A. for a while.

    I do have some research examples, but only my honors thesis was published - and that was for political science (well, actually one other work i made for the bank was published, but that's it).

    As such, i'm thinking of also applying to some econ masters programs as backup... Do you have any advice? which masters programs are good? I heard European programs are good - and this would not be an issue as I speak german, french, portuguese and spanish as well. Do you guys think my profile has a shot at some of the top schools for PHD, or is my strategy to aim for some Masters programs good?

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Want Some Advice about my profile

    Applicants with your background are not uncommon. I'll give you a concise evaluation: this type of profile has a very low chance at directly leading to a funded offer in any of the top 40 or so ranked PhD programs. There are simply way too many qualified applicants relative to # of spots per year. A typical 1st/2nd tier PhD program enrolls 10-30 students per year and 60%+ of them have foreign degrees. And there are many state schools and LACs without PhD programs, but which produce qualified applicants for PhD econ as well. This means, roughly speaking, for people from top undergrads like you, you'll need to be the best 3-5 econ undergrads from your own year to get a good chance at a PhD econ program of the same rank.

    However, I don't think this should actually matter to your decision (i.e. I think you're asking the wrong question); almost all US undergrads tend to move laterally or downward in ranking when they apply to PhD programs, and we're talking about a highly self-selected demographic with 3.8+ GPA in their econ major and usually a math major as well. The objective isn't to get into a high-ranked program, but to get into the best possible program *if* you're sure you want to pursue a career that requires a PhD in economics. Unless you give us some more context about your career interests, I don't think we can confidently tell you whether it's a good idea or not to try to get into a PhD econ program, and whether to invest into a master's for that path. I'll say this: if I am in your shoes right now, I'd put continuing your banking career as the first option, seeking a PhD in political science or public policy as the second option, and seeking a PhD in economics or finance as the third option.

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    Want Some Advice about my profile

    Hi,

    I am looking at some top schools (Harvard, Stanford, UChicago, Princeton) for Econ PhD. I have a 4.0 GPA in my major (Math and Economics) and 3.9 overall. My GRE score is 323 (Q:166 and V: 157). I am currently a senior and I am looking to send out applications in December. I have published 1 econ paper in an online journal. However I am not sure how strong my application is for the schools I am looking at. Is my GRE score strong enough to even be considered by these schools? Any help/ advice will be much appreciated

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    Re: Want Some Advice about my profile

    Considered? Yes. But what you’ve posted is a very small part of the application. You may want to tell us a lot more.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Want Some Advice about my profile

    Quote Originally Posted by laira View Post
    Hi,

    I am looking at some top schools (Harvard, Stanford, UChicago, Princeton) for Econ PhD. I have a 4.0 GPA in my major (Math and Economics) and 3.9 overall. My GRE score is 323 (Q:166 and V: 157). I am currently a senior and I am looking to send out applications in December. I have published 1 econ paper in an online journal. However I am not sure how strong my application is for the schools I am looking at. Is my GRE score strong enough to even be considered by these schools? Any help/ advice will be much appreciated
    Please post a new thread. Check this thread for an example of a good format.

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    Re: Want Some Advice about my profile

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    Applicants with your background are not uncommon. I'll give you a concise evaluation: this type of profile has a very low chance at directly leading to a funded offer in any of the top 40 or so ranked PhD programs. There are simply way too many qualified applicants relative to # of spots per year. A typical 1st/2nd tier PhD program enrolls 10-30 students per year and 60%+ of them have foreign degrees. And there are many state schools and LACs without PhD programs, but which produce qualified applicants for PhD econ as well. This means, roughly speaking, for people from top undergrads like you, you'll need to be the best 3-5 econ undergrads from your own year to get a good chance at a PhD econ program of the same rank.

    However, I don't think this should actually matter to your decision (i.e. I think you're asking the wrong question); almost all US undergrads tend to move laterally or downward in ranking when they apply to PhD programs, and we're talking about a highly self-selected demographic with 3.8+ GPA in their econ major and usually a math major as well. The objective isn't to get into a high-ranked program, but to get into the best possible program *if* you're sure you want to pursue a career that requires a PhD in economics. Unless you give us some more context about your career interests, I don't think we can confidently tell you whether it's a good idea or not to try to get into a PhD econ program, and whether to invest into a master's for that path. I'll say this: if I am in your shoes right now, I'd put continuing your banking career as the first option, seeking a PhD in political science or public policy as the second option, and seeking a PhD in economics or finance as the third option.
    yeah, I am realizing more and more with each passing day how hard it is to get into a PhD program in economics. Basically, ideally what I would like to do is, well basically, do research. I want to get out of banking mostly because although the money is good, and I get to learn a lot at my job (thereís lot of on the job training and resources made available to us), I feel like I really want to try and create knowledge as well, to have the freedom to pursue my own research interests. And I donít want to limit myself to only basically advanced modeling (which is what is mostly done in private banksí Econ departments), I am open to working in institutions such as world bank, or think tanks, and academia sounds like it would be nice as well. I think if i did change to political science I would have a better shot- my Poli Sci GPA was considerably better than my Econ GPA... but I donít want to just do a PhD, I want to Econ... Iíd be more willing to downgrade to a masters than switch subjects... i keep seeing public policy thrown aroun, how different is it from political science? Is it closer to economics? I guess Iíll take a look...

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    Re: Want Some Advice about my profile

    Everyone, by the way, I apologize for the double thread... I submitted this one before te other one, but then I realized the formatting was bad, and submitted the other one (which ironically got accepted earlier) I sent a message to the mod to ask him not to approve this thread, but I suppose it must not have been seen. I ask that you actually disconsider this thread, and go to the other one. Thank you for your time and attention (and advice!)

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