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Thread: Robert Thomas: Introduction and Further Guidance Appreciated

  1. #1
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    Introduction and Further Guidance Appreciated

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    Hello All!

    I am currently studying Economics at the undergraduate level.

    Like many on this forum, I am looking to gain admission to a reputable Ph.D. program in econ. Below I will list off some of my current credentials and the activities I am engaging in to strengthen my prospective application.

    Major: Econ
    Minor: Math
    University: Satellite campus for well-known state school.
    GPA: 3.94
    Major GPA: 4.0
    Expected Graduation: May 2020

    Research Experience:
    • Worked as a research assistant to professor doing work on foreign direct investment.
    • My current research is independent but does have an advisor. It deals with monetary shocks and equity responses to those shocks.
    • I am applying for summer research opportunities at other campuses; results have not come back.


    I have not taken the official GRE yet, but I have taken a practice exam without any prior study to see how I would do. These preliminary scores are listed below. I plan on studying a lot of quant to get my score up to at least 165.

    Verbal: 156
    Quantitative: 153

    Beyond this, I am having trouble finding the faculty I would like to work with. Of course, I know the top names in the field for which I would like to apply myself (monetary economics and macro). It is hard to believe that I will be able to land a position as a mentee under these individuals.

    How does one go about picking a reasonable, well-connected individual before applying to grad school all while being realistic about doing so? If I were to get in touch with these individuals, is it too forward to ask whether or not they will be accepting Ph.D. candidates to advise?

    My current approach has been to go down the list of the NBER research associates in monetary economics. This has proven intimidating as some big names are on there.

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks




    Mod Edit: Edited to protect OP's Privacy
    Last edited by rremuszka97; 01-10-2019 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Take name off

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    Re: Robert Thomas: Introduction and Further Guidance Appreciated

    I've moved this post to a more appropriate location.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Robert Thomas: Introduction and Further Guidance Appreciated

    Research Experience:

    • Worked as a research assistant to professor doing work on foreign direct investment.
    • My current research is independent but does have an advisor. It deals with monetary shocks and equity responses to those shocks.
    • I am applying for summer research opportunities at other campuses; results have not come back.


    Beyond this, I am having trouble finding the faculty I would like to work with. Of course, I know the top names in the field for which I would like to apply myself (monetary economics and macro). It is hard to believe that I will be able to land a position as a mentee under these individuals.

    How does one go about picking a reasonable, well-connected individual before applying to grad school all while being realistic about doing so? If I were to get in touch with these individuals, is it too forward to ask whether or not they will be accepting Ph.D. candidates to advise?

    My current approach has been to go down the list of the NBER research associates in monetary economics. This has proven intimidating as some big names are on there.
    You don't understand how this all works. (Not a criticism, no one does when they start out.) 99.9% of the time economics departments do not admit people to work with individual faculty. Further, every major econ department has people working in macro.

    Go talk to your advisors about how to think about admissions.

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    Re: Robert Thomas: Introduction and Further Guidance Appreciated

    As said above, that's not how it works (in the US).

    You first apply to about 12-15 PhD programs. Ideally, there are faculty there you would like to work with but most people say to just attend the best ranked school that admits you with "funding." Read around the forum to get more of a sense of what's going on.

    You should look into transferring schools - perhaps to the main campus (as opposed to the satellite campus) for the final year of your studies (perhaps consider spending two years at the main campus and get a math major or add a stats minor).

    Above all, your GRE Q score must be 163+ for admission to good schools.

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    Re: Robert Thomas: Introduction and Further Guidance Appreciated

    This page is quite helpful for learning the basics of graduate school: American Economic Association

    Don't focus on specific faculty. You want to apply to a range of schools. Outside the top 20 or so, focus on schools that have a core group of faculty working in macro and that also train students in macro. While there are various rankings out there, I'd first rely on your professors for guidance.

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