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Thread: Profile Evaluation

  1. #1
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    Profile Evaluation

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    At this point this is just a timekiller for me, and something to basically make myself sweat a little more for the next month or two. All but one application has been submitted.


    Type of Undergrad: B.A. Economics with Honors, B.A Math (Top 15 Public University, top 15 econ dept)
    Undergrad GPA: 3.68 overall, 3.7 in major
    Type of Grad:N/A
    Grad GPA: N/A
    GRE: 167 V, 170Q, 5.5 W
    Math Courses: Multivariable Calculus (C, first semester of freshman year was rough), Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (A), Real Analysis (A), Complex/Functional Analysis (B), Math Logic (A), Modern Algebra (A), Prob Theory (B), Math of Finance (Stochastic Calculus, A-)
    Econ Courses (undergrad+grad): Honors Macro (A-), Honors Micro(A), Intro Metrics (A), Game Theory (A), Honors Thesis (A-), Behavioral Econ (A), PhD Econometrics (B), International Econ (A-), Numerical Methods for Macro (A-)
    Further Edu: A couple Post-Bacc classes at top 5 econ university
    Letters of Recommendation: Thesis advisor (very prominent macroeconomist/econometrician), one very strong letter from the labor economist I RA for at a Fed Bank,
    one strong letter from the econometrician I RA for at a Fed Bank

    Research Experience: Full time RA in the research department at a Fed bank for 3 years, extensive experience in a variety of research projects, coauthored paper in progress, many independent write-ups, but no fully independent, full research projects.
    Teaching Experience: N/A
    Research Interests: Macro/empirical labor, game theory, behavioral
    Statement of Purpose: Fairly strong I think, edited by professors in various top departments, each tailored to the specific school (but no requests to work with specific profs)

    Concerns: A couple spotty math grades/slightly iffy GPA, little tangible research output
    Coding skills: Quite experienced in Stata, R, LaTex, Matlab

    Applying to: Most of the top 20 in US + LSE
    Last edited by cdreier; 01-10-2019 at 04:09 PM. Reason: added info

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    I think you’ll get several offers in the top 20, and depending on the strength of the rec letters, top 10 is possible.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by pulsars View Post
    I think you’ll get several offers in the top 20, and depending on the strength of the rec letters, top 10 is possible.
    Appreciate your input, it's about what I've heard from the professors I've met with to discuss applications. I think, perhaps like others in this position, I'm very susceptible to imposter syndrome. Even when I try to write an honest profile, I feel like I am overselling myself and schools will see right through it.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by pulsars View Post
    I think you’ll get several offers in the top 20, and depending on the strength of the rec letters, top 10 is possible.
    Could you provide a brief rationale for this opinion? Given that we’re both prospective applicants this year, this would help other forum visitors assess the merits of the argument for themselves.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by mathenomics View Post
    Could you provide a brief rationale for this opinion? Given that we’re both prospective applicants this year, this would help other forum visitors assess the merits of the argument for themselves.
    I know it's not what you asked, but I can summarize what I have been told.

    Strengths: Relatively strong undergrad institution with good reputation for PhD placement; (for the most part) aptitude and interest in the mathematics required for more theoretical work; strong research background, both in nitty gritty data and coding work and the larger picture of original research; one very strong LOR from a top 15 PhD that knows me very well, one from a very big name economist; strong GRE scores.

    Weaknesses: A couple questionable grades might cause doubts; given my length of time out of undergrad, one might like to see a little more in the way of complete independent research; third LOR is strong but from a relatively new, unknown top 20 PhD economist.

    Weaknesses make top 10 a little bit of a stretch, but there's a chance that a very strong letter and persistent reaching out could make a connection with a top 10 department.

    This is a combination of assessments from economists in my department, professors I have visited, and my own experience mixed in, take it with a grain of salt. I'm sure more experienced folks here have better, more accurate thoughts.
    Last edited by cdreier; 01-11-2019 at 01:48 PM. Reason: added info

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by mathenomics View Post
    Could you provide a brief rationale for this opinion? Given that we’re both prospective applicants this year, this would help other forum visitors assess the merits of the argument for themselves.
    It’s honestly just a hunch I get from reading past profiles and results threads, so forum visitors should take me with a grain of salt.

    I tend to summarize profiles with the following in mind:
    -GRE Q >= 167
    -Undergrad pedigree/reputation
    -Academics (grades in math/econ courses, weighted by how advanced they are)
    -Research experience
    -Rec letters

    I see rec letters as something that will push a candidate above or below a certain rank grouping. OP has a good undergrad pedigree (top 15) and strong research experience (Fed + thesis). They did not have straight As but had As in Analysis, Linear and the honors intermediate econ sequence. If they’d gotten straight As, I would have guessed a top 10 placement. The C in multi (which I think is forgivable given it happened in the first semester of college and how anomalous it was compared to the rest of their transcript) and B in Grad Metrics caused me to be more conservative in my evaluation.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by pulsars View Post
    It’s honestly just a hunch I get from reading past profiles and results threads, so forum visitors should take me with a grain of salt.

    I tend to summarize profiles with the following in mind:
    -GRE Q >= 167
    -Undergrad pedigree/reputation
    -Academics (grades in math/econ courses, weighted by how advanced they are)
    -Research experience
    -Rec letters

    I see rec letters as something that will push a candidate above or below a certain rank grouping. OP has a good undergrad pedigree (top 15) and strong research experience (Fed + thesis). They did not have straight As but had As in Analysis, Linear and the honors intermediate econ sequence. If they’d gotten straight As, I would have guessed a top 10 placement. The C in multi (which I think is forgivable given it happened in the first semester of college and how anomalous it was compared to the rest of their transcript) and B in Grad Metrics caused me to be more conservative in my evaluation.
    From my only slightly more informed opinion (I am just a first year) this seems like a solid heuristic to use for rough evaluation. OP should just remember that things are random (different departments have different unstated goals) and there is no golden ticket. It looks like the OP is in a good position to defend their C in multi as a early college mishap, given the good GRE score and other math classes at a good college. I would recommend (I guess this is mostly pointless since apps are done) that the OP or anyone in a similar position be direct in addressing the C.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quite a similar profile to mine last year. I thought lack of independent research would kill me--I didn't have a senior thesis and all my work was in progress and coauthored. I also went to a much lower ranking undergrad; my GPA was higher but controlling for school I imagine we're in similar boats (also screwed up multivariable calc at start of freshman year lolz). FWIW I ended up with 1 top 5, 1 top 10, and 1 top 20. It's weird and random. You have a strong app. Wish we could relieve the noise you'll experience, because it does get wild, but I think it's pretty clear you'll get into a top 20, probably a top 10, and have a very real shot at a top 5. At this stage it's really gonna be some idiosyncratic and subjective factors. You'll do well. I'm rooting for you!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by pulsars View Post
    It’s honestly just a hunch I get from reading past profiles and results threads, so forum visitors should take me with a grain of salt.

    I tend to summarize profiles with the following in mind:
    -GRE Q >= 167
    -Undergrad pedigree/reputation
    -Academics (grades in math/econ courses, weighted by how advanced they are)
    -Research experience
    -Rec letters

    I see rec letters as something that will push a candidate above or below a certain rank grouping. OP has a good undergrad pedigree (top 15) and strong research experience (Fed + thesis). They did not have straight As but had As in Analysis, Linear and the honors intermediate econ sequence. If they’d gotten straight As, I would have guessed a top 10 placement. The C in multi (which I think is forgivable given it happened in the first semester of college and how anomalous it was compared to the rest of their transcript) and B in Grad Metrics caused me to be more conservative in my evaluation.
    This is a much more informative post. Thanks! Looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts

  10. #10
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    Re: Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by minskymoment View Post
    Quite a similar profile to mine last year. I thought lack of independent research would kill me--I didn't have a senior thesis and all my work was in progress and coauthored. I also went to a much lower ranking undergrad; my GPA was higher but controlling for school I imagine we're in similar boats (also screwed up multivariable calc at start of freshman year lolz). FWIW I ended up with 1 top 5, 1 top 10, and 1 top 20. It's weird and random. You have a strong app. Wish we could relieve the noise you'll experience, because it does get wild, but I think it's pretty clear you'll get into a top 20, probably a top 10, and have a very real shot at a top 5. At this stage it's really gonna be some idiosyncratic and subjective factors. You'll do well. I'm rooting for you!
    Cheers, thanks! That's encouraging to hear, I'm aware of all the randomness that goes on, which is why I applied to probably too many schools. Glad I'm not the only one with that freshman fumble, that class just ran over me for some reason.

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