I think you’ll get several offers in the top 20, and depending on the strength of the rec letters, top 10 is possible.
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
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
I tend to summarize profiles with the following in mind:
-GRE Q >= 167
-Academics (grades in math/econ courses, weighted by how advanced they are)
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.
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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