View Full Version : Profile/course of action evaluation: any input appreciated

10-28-2010, 08:46 AM
First things first, I suppose. My ultimate goal is to end up in Stanford EAP no later than two (or three) years from now. This year I'll be applying to the University of Toronto and UBC econ masters programs, and possibly the PhD in Strategy and Business econ at UBC. Also, I'll be applying for various research assistant/analyst positions.

My fall-back options are 1) stay in undergrad longer and take more math/grad courses 2) spend two years doing an applied math MS here at my UG institution , or 3) do a 2-yr MS in stats. Both the applied math and stats program would let me take graduate econ classes and both have a research project component and both are funded.

I'm applying to the SBE at UBC because I really like the looks of it, and you can even do a cross-field program with international business which I would like. However, I do think Stanford EAP would give me better overall training. So, given that I would ultimately like to end up in the Stanford EAP program, which option would be able to give me the best shot at getting in within 2-3 years? Of course, when the time does come to apply to PhD programs, I'll apply to a few others, like HBS and any other programs strong in my interests.

Type of Undergrad: Public U in New England
Undergrad GPA: 3.72
Type of Grad: none
Grad GPA: none yet
GRE: not yet
Math Courses:
Multivariable Calculus (A-)
Linear Algebra (A-)
Introduction to calculus based Statistics (A-)
Time Series Analysis or Intro to Analysis (spring) (i'm learning towards time series, but I know analysis is a must have these days)
Econ Courses (grad-level):
Microeconomics with a focus on evolutionary game theory, endogenous preferences, replicator dynamics, and institutions. (IP),
Math Methods for Economists (IP)
Econ Courses (undergrad-level):
Intermediate Micro (B+)
Intermediate Macro (A)
International Trade (A)
International Finance (B+)
Latin American Economic Development (B)
Behavioral Economics (A)
Writing in Economics (A)

Other Courses:
Graduate level Quantitative Methods in the Resource Econ department (IP)
Grad level econometrics in the ResEc department (spring)

Letters of Recommendation:
I have a few options here. I know I can get a good one from my international trade professor, and a very good one from the math methods/intermediate macro/thesis advisor. I also have an extremely solid one, though it is from my writing professor who is not an economist, so I know his letter wouldn't carry much weight (though I believe it certainly would for job applications). I am confident I could get one from my other thesis advisor, but it would likely be best after my thesis is complete in the spring. I may also be able to get one from my grad micro professor, but I'm still testing the waters on that one. I plan on asking him after the final, which would be too late for the top programs unfortunately. However, a solid letter form him would go a long, long way.

Research Experience: Two independent studies related to an annual debate that the undergraduate economics club puts on. My thesis is on IMF conditionality and economic growth.
Teaching Experience: Department tutor for two years

Research Interests: International Economics, Evolutionary Game Theory, Incentives, Institutional Economics

SOP: working on it
Concerns: I actually failed multivar the first time around (long story) and W dropped the stats as well (the A- is from the retake). Also W dropped mathematics of finance because it while it was supposed to be cool stuff, it ended up just being a prep class for the actuarial exam, which I was not interested in at all. My only other concern is not having enough math, though I think taking the three graduate courses will be fine, as my professors seem to think so.

Other: I had a non-technical paper from my writing in economics course published by the university in the university anthology of student writing. I might make it more technical later, since I see an opportunity to apply what I'm learning in grad micro to what I wrote about. I know it doesn't count for too much (probably for nothing other than they know I can write well enough), but at least it's something.

10-29-2010, 12:48 AM
Erm, Stanford GSB EAP is kind of at the same level as the very top econ programs (and harder to get into because of miniscule class sizes). You seem a little casual about it, but anyone is exceedingly unlikely to make it there. I doubt (not to be a downer!) that any of your proposed options will help to that end, nor any option that doesn't include finding some amazing letters of reference from super well-known profs.

10-29-2010, 05:42 AM
Yeah, I know Stanford is a long-shot, but I will also apply across the top then and through the top 30 to programs that closely match my interest. If anyone has suggestions as to which programs would give me an excellent training in computational economics, international economics, and/or institutional economics I am more than open to suggestions. I just want to figure out which plan maximizes my chance of matriculating at the the program that best fits my interests. My math methods prof suggested that I apply across the top ten, though I do disagree with his position. I was wondering if anyone has any input for the time series versus intro to modern analysis dilemma. The Intro to modern analysis is at my current school and the description is:

The course will cover the following topics: Introduction to and classification of second-order partial differential equations, wave equation, heat equation and Laplace equation, D'Alembert solution to the wave equation, solution of the heat equation, maximum principle, energy methods, separation of variables, Fourier series, Fourier transform methods and operator eigenvalue problems. Time-permitting, we will briefly examine numerical methods for partial differential equations, as well as some select examples of nonlinear partial differential equations. The final grade will be determined on the basis of homework, an in-class midterm and a final exam.

The time series analysis and applications course is at one of the top 5 LAC's and the description is:

Many real world applications deal with a series of observations collected over time. Some familiar examples are daily stock market quotations in finance, monthly unemployment rates in economics, yearly birth rates in social science, global warming trends in environmental studies, seismic recordings in geophysics, and magnetic resonance imaging of brain waves in medicine. In this applied course, students will learn how to model the patterns in historical values of the variable(s), as well as how to use statistical methods to forecast future observations. Topics covered will include time series regression, autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models, transfer function models, state-space models and spectral analysis. If time permits, additional topics will include autoregressive conditionally heteroscedastic (ARCH) models, Kalman filtering and smoothing, and signal extraction and forecasting. Students will get practice with various applications using statistical software.

I'm leaning towards time series, as is my math methods prof due to logistical and practical reasons.

10-29-2010, 06:40 AM
The only high-ranking place I know of that does some computational economics is U Michigan. They have a complex systems group there.

I'd say the time series course would be more useful in economics, and probably more generally as well.