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achillisharry
10-29-2010, 08:03 AM
Profile:
Type of Undergrad: B.S. Math, B.A. Econ (double major) from Tsinghua University (top 2 in China)
Undergrad GPA: overall 3.74 math:3.8 econ:3.83 (our university uses a 100 scale, I convert to 4.0 scale myself)
Type of Grad: No
Grad GPA: No
GRE: V630 Q800 AW3.5
TOEFL:111/120
Math Courses: Mathmatical Analysis I II III (book of Zorich), Advanced Algebra I II, Abstract Algebra, Ordinary Differential Equations, Measures and integrals (book of Royden), Probability theory (measure based, book of K.L. Chung), PDE, complex analysis, Mathematical Statistics (in progress)
Econ Courses (grad-level): Advanced Micro(97/100); International Trade (93/100); Energy and Environmental Econ (92/100) all rank 1st or 2nd
Econ Courses (undergrad-level): intermediate micro and macro, econometrics, game theory, developmental econ, economic growth, environmental econ
Other Courses:
Letters of Recommendation: Two econ prof graduated from Harvard (not sure whether it is solid); two or three econ assistant prof who know me well; two math professors (coursework)
Research Experience: A working paper, not published, could be used as writing sample. (About theory of the firm)
Teaching Experience:No
Research Interests: Micro theory esp. Contract theory, theory of the firm, implementation theory
SOP: Working on it.
Concerns: Overall GPA Rank is not very high, no good recommendations, no publications (I'm sending my working paper, it's under review of the Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society), several math courses did not get above 90; low AW;
Other:
Applying to: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford GSB, Columbia, UCSD, UCLA, NYU, Penn State, Ohio State, WUSTL, UC Davis, Duke (master)

Harry2010
10-30-2010, 01:32 AM
Other than research and LOR, I think your profile looks pretty solid. Your GPA is high enough so you should not worry about it too much. Also, since you have many choices of letter writers, you want to make careful decisions of who write you a letter. Since you are so interested in theory, you should ask one advanced math professor speak about your intelligence in analysis. Than choose the most two powerful economists (maybe one of them should know you very well and another one is famous). Other than that, not all schools require a writing sample. So make sure you are confident with you paper, otherwise you should not submit it (instead you can mention it on your SOP). Not every top 10 school student has publication before they are admitted.

achillisharry
10-30-2010, 01:43 AM
Thanks a lot. What about GPA ranking? Does that matter if I'm not the top 3 student in my program?
And another question, are there any people who are interested in micro-theory on this forum? Perhaps people with the same interests could talk so that they could comment on each other's research and give advices.
That's only my suggestion.

Harry2010
10-30-2010, 05:36 AM
I think your GPA is good, although not perfect, but you definitely have something compensate for it (i.e. your math background). I would suggest you apply for the master at LSE instead of master at Duke. As far as I know, most current Chinese students at Princeton had a master some where and get strong LORs. Also, there are only few Chinese students at Harvard and MIT.

achillisharry
10-30-2010, 03:42 PM
Thanks again. Are there any other master programs where I could get nice recommendation letters? What about Toulouse School of Economics and CEMFI in Spain? What about their placements after a master?
And, what is the most suitable range for my application? 1-10, 10-20, 20-30, 30-40 or 40-? Thanks

Elliephant
10-30-2010, 11:16 PM
Thanks a lot. What about GPA ranking? Does that matter if I'm not the top 3 student in my program?

Actually I think it might. Shouldn't be a terminal problem outside the top 15 or so, but it is very difficult for Chinese students to crack the top 10 without irrefutable proof of their creativity and cunning as researchers. There was a guy at PKU a couple of years ago who graduated at the top of the class and had several publications (he was also brilliant), and still only got into two top-10 schools. So without one of your LORs singing heavenly praises of your research abilities, things may look bleaker for you than would ordinarily be suspected.

Just my two cents.

Harry2010
10-30-2010, 11:59 PM
Thanks again. Are there any other master programs where I could get nice recommendation letters? What about Toulouse School of Economics and CEMFI in Spain? What about their placements after a master?
And, what is the most suitable range for my application? 1-10, 10-20, 20-30, 30-40 or 40-? Thanks

Canada programs are great too. But LSE is the best (just my opinion). For the range, it depends on whether you want funding or not. e.g. Chicago and UPenn do not give too much funding while everyone gets funding at Princeton and Harvard. Like I said, apply for couple schools in each of these range (but have to be above your bottom line, i.e. if you do not get into top X schools, you do not want to do a PhD or you will do a master first).

Elliephant
10-31-2010, 12:35 AM
everyone gets funding at Princeton and Harvard.

Really?

AREStudentHopeful
10-31-2010, 04:25 AM
Quite a few of the upper schools operate like this. I know Princeton, Harvard, Yale...they all fund everyone. If you look at the newest NRC rankings, their funding statistics are fairly reliable (they show percentage of PhD students fully funded).

achillisharry
10-31-2010, 04:30 AM
Thanks, what about UC systems? Do they have more funding this year? I've written to the secretary of UC Davis and they said that only a few admitted could be granted fellowships, some others work as RAs, but the money is not enough to cover all expenses including tuition and living. What about SD, LA? Any tips?

Elliephant
10-31-2010, 11:04 AM
If you look at the newest NRC rankings, their funding statistics are fairly reliable (they show percentage of PhD students fully funded).

According to other TMers...


One statistic I found to be wholly inaccurate from experience was % of new students with funding...

But I'm sure the general picture is right. It looks like they do indeed fund everyone - which is great news but also bad news (for anyone with little chance of a funded offer, who was hoping to wheedle out an unfunded offer).

achillisharry
10-31-2010, 12:39 PM
Yeah, NYU econ said explicitly on its webpage FAQ session that you cannot come with your own money, you have to be funded by an outside institution or NYU.......
But I'm applying for it anyway, just to try my luck~

achillisharry
10-31-2010, 01:08 PM
Actually I think it might. Shouldn't be a terminal problem outside the top 15 or so, but it is very difficult for Chinese students to crack the top 10 without irrefutable proof of their creativity and cunning as researchers. There was a guy at PKU a couple of years ago who graduated at the top of the class and had several publications (he was also brilliant), and still only got into two top-10 schools. So without one of your LORs singing heavenly praises of your research abilities, things may look bleaker for you than would ordinarily be suspected.

Just my two cents.

Thanks a lot. So, how to evaluate recommendation letters? What if somebody who knows me well but not very famous? Will their letters count? Will they prove my research potential?

AREStudentHopeful
10-31-2010, 03:06 PM
Thanks, what about UC systems? Do they have more funding this year? I've written to the secretary of UC Davis and they said that only a few admitted could be granted fellowships, some others work as RAs, but the money is not enough to cover all expenses including tuition and living. What about SD, LA? Any tips?

I know in the new "UC Plan" (or whatever they're calling it), they call for around 5% more GTA's as a cost cutting measure though I'm not sure if this will affect economics departments (maybe they'll just pay for more English TA's, who knows). I've heard that UCLA is hurting pretty badly for funding but SD isn't too bad; same with Davis. That being said, this information is mainly rumors I've heard from this forum and from a few professors so take it with a grain of salt.


But I'm sure the general picture is right.

It's been correct for all the schools I'm looking at, but then again the top 10 isn't even in sight for me :). I wonder if the mistakes for funding have to do with the fact that the data was taken in 2006, before the recession hit...

achillisharry
11-01-2010, 01:52 PM
Thanks a lot. I believe SD is my best choice apart from top 10. Then UC Davis or PSU perhaps. ~~~~~~~

achillisharry
11-16-2010, 06:50 AM
My School Choice List:
Econ PhD: MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, UCLA, UCSD, NYU, Ohio, PSU, USC, Boston College, UC Davis
Business PhD: WUSTL Olin Business School
Econ Master: Queens, Toulouse, CUHK, Duke, and probably CEMFI and UPF

achillisharry
11-17-2010, 10:18 AM
Eeeee, does anybody have any advice? Thanks,

Osmanov
11-20-2010, 09:35 PM
Achillisharry, will you apply to UPF or BGSE (or do they differ)? I don't know whether I am making a mistake or not, but when I try to search about Econ master program of UPF, website links me to the BGSE :hmm:

Elliephant
11-21-2010, 03:00 AM
Eeeee, does anybody have any advice? Thanks,

Yes: That looks expensive given the exchange rate. Are you sure you don't want to focus your list more?

As I said earlier, the competition amongst Chinese applicants is extremely stiff. This is a point I cannot emphasise enough. I've never seen anyone who wasn't at or very near the top of their graduating class break into the top 10 (though my sample is obviously limited). Then again, your GPA is fairly solid, especially given your excellent performance in grad micro. However, as I also said earlier, if your recommenders cannot talk convincingly about your research potential, that will put you in a very difficult position as an applicant for top PhD programmes. American admissions committees have doubts about Chinese students' creativity a priori, and if you don't do something to alleviate those doubts, it could get you rejected. So talk to your recommenders about where they think you will place and exactly what they are willing to write about you.

On the flip side, you might be applying to too many MAs. I imagine that with your profile, you can afford to file fewer MA applications and still be confident that you'll get an acceptance. If I were you, I'd throw out a couple of MA programmes from that list.

Don't forget: At the end of the day, this is all guesswork on our end. Talk to your profs and go with your own reasoning and instinct.

enginecon
11-21-2010, 01:42 PM
My School Choice List:
Econ PhD: MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, UCLA, UCSD, NYU, Ohio, PSU, USC, Boston College, UC Davis
Business PhD: WUSTL
Sorry, but your list a highly unrealistic... you need to search for information on the characteristics of admitted/funded applicants to the schools you are considering. They usually post such info (maybe in an faq page) and/or you can get it on the web somehow.

Your Chinese uni is relatively well-known in the west, so, that won't hurt you too badly...Yet, you seem to be making two big mistakes:
1) Grossly overestimating the impact of your excellent q&v GRE scores, and
2) Grossly underestimating the impact of your extremely weak AW GRE score.

For the (1) I simply point you to the faq section posted by Oklahoma ( http://www.ou.edu/cas/econ/phdfaq.pdf ), a program which seems to cater to Chinese students.
No one will confuse OK with a "top" program; they won't even make the US top 100, or world top 200 for some measures; yet they indicate that "Based on the previous four years, median GRE scores were approximately 590 for verbal
and 780 for the quantitative."
Your v+q GRE would seem to be only slightly higher than the median for OK PhD admits.

Why are students with GRE-Q over 780, and GRE-V over 590 in such a relatively lowly ranked program? Probably because they tried to get admitted in higher-ranked programs but couldn't. Think about that.

2) The AWA score is not as well established as the other two, and their use/weight varies among programs. But many top programs do mention such scores, which suggest they use them to a degree... your 3.5 AW score is in the BOTTOM quarter of all scores, which probably means in the bottom 10% or so among applicants to top econ programs... It would be absolutely shocking that a applicant with such score would get an admit from Harvard (or similarly ranked schools).
For all the above I am afraid that your apps to MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, UCLA, UCSD should be directed elsewhere. Th others sound more reasonable, but if I were you I would also include relatively lowly ranked programs such as OK.
Again: Do find information on the characteristics of admitted/funded applicants to the schools you are considering.