PDA

View Full Version : HELP Profile Evaluation



RealEstate
11-12-2010, 04:32 AM
I have a bachelor in a Chinese university, and a master in Singapore. (not an economics major, not a math major)
Undergraduate GPA: 90.8/100
Graduate GPA: 4.88/5.0
GRE: V510 Q800 AW:3.5
TOEFL:105(Speaking: 20)

I have taken some math courses in my undergraduate study, like calcus, linear algebria, statistics.
Also take microeconomics, macroeconomics in my undergraduate study.

In my graduate study, I went to the econ department and take graduate level economic courses like microeconomics, public economics, econometrics and so on.

I have three recommendation letters, 1 from an economic professor, 1 from my supervisor and 1 from another professor in my own department.
My target is Top 30. I am wondering whether my target is realistic for my background. Please kindly offer your advice. Thanks. (I also need scholarship)

If you think it is possible, what are the weak points in my background?

achillisharry
11-12-2010, 05:00 AM
are you a Tsinghua Student?

RealEstate
11-12-2010, 05:47 AM
no, I am not. my undergraduate university is a not known chinese university (Possibably well known in China, but not Tsinghua U or Peking U)

Harry2010
11-12-2010, 06:42 AM
Observations:
1. The other two of your letters do not count too much.
2. Do not know how well you did in your grad econ classes.
3. Do not know what your grad econ classes covered (i.e. I know there are grad econ classes for major and not for major, so it matters since you are not doing MA in econ).
4. Do not know whether you have had real analysis and if you do, how well you did.
5. Do not know your research experience.
6. Both of your grad and undergrad are not very well known (at least for econ departments in the US)

Conclusions: Since there are so many unknowns, I cannot say too much about it. Given what you have, your overal GPA and GRE look nice, but they are really not the essence--everyone who wants to get funding at a top30 school has similar and stronger GPA and GRE. The more important determinants are your math backgrounds and LORs. Your lors do not look that great. Moreover, you did not claim you have had any econ research experience. This sometimes matters cause it distinguishes you with other students who have similar background. As a result, from what the information you give, I see there is only a little chance for you to get into top 30, especially when you need funding. Keep in mind that fundings are very competitive at this time, and the amount of applicants are much greater than before. My suggestions are, ask your econ professor (if he/she got a PhD from the US and know about econ application in the US) what schools you should target at, or give us more information on your math background and research exp. Then, ask your self, do you really know what an econ PhD is in the US? Do you really like it? Do you really aware the possible types of jobs you can get with an econ PhD? ----I always give this suggestion to Asian students, since many of them do not really know what an econ PhD really means. I have seen many Chinese students apply for it just because it sounds cool--Come on, you get to be serious with your life!

RealEstate
11-12-2010, 07:28 AM
Hi,

Thanks very much for your reply. I am a research type master in a Singapore University. So I am currently working on my thesis. I had some research experience in my undergraduate study, worked on two projects for two prefessors. But for my graduate study, as my supervisor was visiting a US university last year, I did not get much chance of working for him. But I do have worked for another professor, the other professor who wrote lor for me.

I have not taken real analysis. In my graduate study, I got A for growth theory, A- for public economics, A-for econometrics, and still working on my microeconomics. In my undergraduate study, I got A+ for macroeconomics, C for microeconomics, A+ for Caculus 1, C+ for Calculus 2, A+ for linear algebra, A for statistics and probability theory.


Observations:
1. The other two of your letters do not count too much.
2. Do not know how well you did in your grad econ classes.
3. Do not know what your grad econ classes covered (i.e. I know there are grad econ classes for major and not for major, so it matters since you are not doing MA in econ).
4. Do not know whether you have had real analysis and if you do, how well you did.
5. Do not know your research experience.
6. Both of your grad and undergrad are not very well known (at least for econ departments in the US)

Conclusions: Since there are so many unknowns, I cannot say too much about it. Given what you have, your overal GPA and GRE look nice, but they are really not the essence--everyone who wants to get funding at a top30 school has similar and stronger GPA and GRE. The more important determinants are your math backgrounds and LORs. Your lors do not look that great. Moreover, you did not claim you have had any econ research experience. This sometimes matters cause it distinguishes you with other students who have similar background. As a result, from what the information you give, I see there is only a little chance for you to get into top 30, especially when you need funding. Keep in mind that fundings are very competitive at this time, and the amount of applicants are much greater than before. My suggestions are, ask your econ professor (if he/she got a PhD from the US and know about econ application in the US) what schools you should target at, or give us more information on your math background and research exp. Then, ask your self, do you really know what an econ PhD is in the US? Do you really like it? Do you really aware the possible types of jobs you can get with an econ PhD? ----I always give this suggestion to Asian students, since many of them do not really know what an econ PhD really means. I have seen many Chinese students apply for it just because it sounds cool--Come on, you get to be serious with your life!

Harry2010
11-12-2010, 01:52 PM
What master are you? If you are not doing research in economics (for your master), it does not help too much. Your grades seem only ok for admission for top 30, but very dangerous for funding. Moreover, not taking real analysis is definitely an issue for funding (and admission too, depends on school). Do not whether the professor you mentioned is an economist or not, if he is, ask him for suggestions on where you should apply for.

Look at the results post from the last year, and you will see what kind of people got funding from top 30.

FIFTHlee
11-12-2010, 02:06 PM
way too high

RealEstate
11-12-2010, 03:26 PM
Hi, thanks very much.

I am not doing economics, but the methods used for research in my area are all about economics or econometrics. I guess we focus more on the emprical part.
I want to do research, so I want to pursue a PhD in economics to have a broader picture of research.

When you say very dangerous for funding, you mean the low toefl score? Some universities will waive toefl score for singapore....So is a waiver better?

I noticed that some programs requires real analysis. I regret that I did not take it. So should I just give up on these universities?

The professors all published in economic journals, like Top 50 economic journals? Some of their coauthors are professors in some top universities in the US.


What master are you? If you are not doing research in economics (for your master), it does not help too much. Your grades seem only ok for admission for top 30, but very dangerous for funding. Moreover, not taking real analysis is definitely an issue for funding (and admission too, depends on school). Do not whether the professor you mentioned is an economist or not, if he is, ask him for suggestions on where you should apply for.

Look at the results post from the last year, and you will see what kind of people got funding from top 30.

RealEstate
11-12-2010, 03:28 PM
Hi, thanks.

What do you think are the problems? Could you kindly offer some advice on the tier of schools I should target at? Thanks.

way too high

Harry2010
11-12-2010, 10:13 PM
Hi, thanks.

What do you think are the problems? Could you kindly offer some advice on the tier of schools I should target at? Thanks.

Appy for those schools where the coauthors are. Otherwise, I will suggeste you apply for couple top 30 schools and focus on top 40~50. But still, funding is very competitive. It is not anything wrong with your profile. It is just in terms of lors and math background, your background are not that strong compare with other applicants. Feel free to ask your professors, that is very important.

econornot
11-13-2010, 01:27 AM
. Then, ask your self, do you really know what an econ PhD is in the US? Do you really like it? Do you really aware the possible types of jobs you can get with an econ PhD? ----I always give this suggestion to Asian students, since many of them do not really know what an econ PhD really means. I have seen many Chinese students apply for it just because it sounds cool--Come on, you get to be serious with your life!

Wow! Where did that come from??? I think it's only quite recent that Chinese students are "allowed to come out" (no offence intended in this expression) of their country to do grad studies, and they have done pretty well in this short span of time given their presence in the top programs now; in many instances, many are way way more prepared than their european and american counterparts perhaps because of the emphasis in math and sciences in their education system. A lot of the very top programs have their top student in coursework being a Chinese these days, and we haven't taken into account the number of Koreans in the top programs as well. My own personal take and expereince is that because of the asian values of the need to work and support one's family, it's a lot more difficult for an Asian to take the decision to forgo current income to pursue a phd and thus, Asians who are doing it tend to be more serious and more mature actually. But let's not get into an argument about racial or cultural differences, but I don't think the OP's seriousness in getting a econ phd should be questioned at all.

To the OP,
I personally think the emphasis on real analysis is overplayed on this forum. It's a good thing to have, but it's not a must, and not having it will not kill your chances of getting a funded offer from a very good department. (If I haven't remember wrongly, someone once mentioned that half the entering class of MIT has not done real analysis before. You can check with Jeeves on that.)
On your LOR, they should be "fine" as long as they are from academia who are not doing just mickeymouse research. It's the quality the matters, so the bottom line is, they have to say you are good enough for your school choices. So only you can gauge how good your LORs are (if you recommenders encourage you to apply to top schools, even if they are disillusioned about competitveness in the admission process, it still means that his LOR is good; but if they are not enthusiastic, then look for another one), so whether your LORs are good or not, I don't think anyone here can say it for you.
Also, what exactly is your major? The number of economics modules seems a little lacking for you, and your 2 C's send out a very very very bad signal (unlike real analysis, having taken and doing well for your mirco is relevant to the point of being crucial), so you probably need to explain away it. But I don't think your profile is that bad as suggested by others; you did well for your graduate courses which is probably more important than having a real analysis on your profile.
I think your profile is one of those not very clear-cut case where you have something that stands out from the rest, but it's also not bad enough to land you in the rejection pile immediately. I cannot tell you more (and in any case, my words is worth nothing anyway) but than to encourage you to apply to schools of your choice, but what I will suggest to you is to go get a econ master first (and not in some other fields). Doing it in Asia is fine (since the aim is to bolster the amount of econ exposure to you), but there are also a lot of very good ones in Europe. The UK schools have almost no funding for their master, but they are not the only ones around. You can come to Toulouse for example (and you should be able to get into the M2), or there's UPF, Bonn, etc, where either funding are readily available or tutition fees are just dirt cheap. These schools tend to run their master program concurrently with their 1st yr PhD program, so if you can do very well there, then a top 30s should not really be an issue after that. In any case, staying in these schools for their phd is not that bad either.

Good luck!

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 05:41 AM
Thanks very much.



Appy for those schools where the coauthors are. Otherwise, I will suggeste you apply for couple top 30 schools and focus on top 40~50. But still, funding is very competitive. It is not anything wrong with your profile. It is just in terms of lors and math background, your background are not that strong compare with other applicants. Feel free to ask your professors, that is very important.

Harry2010
11-13-2010, 05:44 AM
Wow! Where did that come from??? I think it's only quite recent that Chinese students are "allowed to come out" (no offence intended in this expression) of their country to do grad studies, and they have done pretty well in this short span of time given their presence in the top programs now; in many instances, many are way way more prepared than their european and american counterparts perhaps because of the emphasis in math and sciences in their education system. A lot of the very top programs have their top student in coursework being a Chinese these days, and we haven't taken into account the number of Koreans in the top programs as well. My own personal take and expereince is that because of the asian values of the need to work and support one's family, it's a lot more difficult for an Asian to take the decision to forgo current income to pursue a phd and thus, Asians who are doing it tend to be more serious and more mature actually. But let's not get into an argument about racial or cultural differences, but I don't think the OP's seriousness in getting a econ phd should be questioned at all.

To the OP,
I personally think the emphasis on real analysis is overplayed on this forum. It's a good thing to have, but it's not a must, and not having it will not kill your chances of getting a funded offer from a very good department. (If I haven't remember wrongly, someone once mentioned that half the entering class of MIT has not done real analysis before. You can check with Jeeves on that.)
On your LOR, they should be "fine" as long as they are from academia who are not doing just mickeymouse research. It's the quality the matters, so the bottom line is, they have to say you are good enough for your school choices. So only you can gauge how good your LORs are (if you recommenders encourage you to apply to top schools, even if they are disillusioned about competitveness in the admission process, it still means that his LOR is good; but if they are not enthusiastic, then look for another one), so whether your LORs are good or not, I don't think anyone here can say it for you.
Also, what exactly is your major? The number of economics modules seems a little lacking for you, and your 2 C's send out a very very very bad signal (unlike real analysis, having taken and doing well for your mirco is relevant to the point of being crucial), so you probably need to explain away it. But I don't think your profile is that bad as suggested by others; you did well for your graduate courses which is probably more important than having a real analysis on your profile.
I think your profile is one of those not very clear-cut case where you have something that stands out from the rest, but it's also not bad enough to land you in the rejection pile immediately. I cannot tell you more (and in any case, my words is worth nothing anyway) but than to encourage you to apply to schools of your choice, but what I will suggest to you is to go get a econ master first (and not in some other fields). Doing it in Asia is fine (since the aim is to bolster the amount of econ exposure to you), but there are also a lot of very good ones in Europe. The UK schools have almost no funding for their master, but they are not the only ones around. You can come to Toulouse for example (and you should be able to get into the M2), or there's UPF, Bonn, etc, where either funding are readily available or tutition fees are just dirt cheap. These schools tend to run their master program concurrently with their 1st yr PhD program, so if you can do very well there, then a top 30s should not really be an issue after that. In any case, staying in these schools for their phd is not that bad either.

Good luck!

I said "many of them" which meant not all of them. Be honest to yourself, do a little research and you will find there are not that many Asians (especially Chiense) in very top programs (except at Princeton, they admit 3~4 Chinese every year but they all have perfect profile and have done master in econ (or physics, math and so on). But in any case, only few students are from China at very top schools. I agree with that Chinese students are very likely to do well on exams and so on, but the lack of creativity and language skills make them worse off while doing serious research. However, your life of academics does not depend on how well you scored on the qualify or on any finals but how well your research is.

Chinese are always allowed to study in the US, at least it is true since 1980s. In recent years, more Chinese are able to afford PhD study and the information of how to go to the US and study become more accessible. That is why there is an expansion of Chinese applicants recently. However, large amount of Chinese students do not really know what an econ PhD really is and whether they really like it---maybe not for those who went to Princeton and MIT, but definitely very likely true for any programs ranked top 40 and below.

I do not know in which year you applied for grad school. but the competition for funding at a top US program is very high at this time. Public schools all get large amount of budget cuts and private schools get much more applicants than before. If you do not believe truth, then give a shot and you find it out. Again, not matter where you come from, you should always ask your self, do you really know what an econ PhD is in the US? Do you really like it? Do you really be aware of the possible types of jobs you can get with an econ PhD? ---- If you haven't watched the video "So you want to do a PhD in economics", then go to here http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/126461-so-you-want-get-phd-economcs.html

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 05:45 AM
Hi, thanks very much for your suggestions.

I guess I will do urban economics. I received the offer of Toulouse when I apply two years ago. I received the admission from a top 50 universities but without funding. Anyway, I guess it is going to be more difficult this year.




Wow! Where did that come from??? I think it's only quite recent that Chinese students are "allowed to come out" (no offence intended in this expression) of their country to do grad studies, and they have done pretty well in this short span of time given their presence in the top programs now; in many instances, many are way way more prepared than their european and american counterparts perhaps because of the emphasis in math and sciences in their education system. A lot of the very top programs have their top student in coursework being a Chinese these days, and we haven't taken into account the number of Koreans in the top programs as well. My own personal take and expereince is that because of the asian values of the need to work and support one's family, it's a lot more difficult for an Asian to take the decision to forgo current income to pursue a phd and thus, Asians who are doing it tend to be more serious and more mature actually. But let's not get into an argument about racial or cultural differences, but I don't think the OP's seriousness in getting a econ phd should be questioned at all.

To the OP,
I personally think the emphasis on real analysis is overplayed on this forum. It's a good thing to have, but it's not a must, and not having it will not kill your chances of getting a funded offer from a very good department. (If I haven't remember wrongly, someone once mentioned that half the entering class of MIT has not done real analysis before. You can check with Jeeves on that.)
On your LOR, they should be "fine" as long as they are from academia who are not doing just mickeymouse research. It's the quality the matters, so the bottom line is, they have to say you are good enough for your school choices. So only you can gauge how good your LORs are (if you recommenders encourage you to apply to top schools, even if they are disillusioned about competitveness in the admission process, it still means that his LOR is good; but if they are not enthusiastic, then look for another one), so whether your LORs are good or not, I don't think anyone here can say it for you.
Also, what exactly is your major? The number of economics modules seems a little lacking for you, and your 2 C's send out a very very very bad signal (unlike real analysis, having taken and doing well for your mirco is relevant to the point of being crucial), so you probably need to explain away it. But I don't think your profile is that bad as suggested by others; you did well for your graduate courses which is probably more important than having a real analysis on your profile.
I think your profile is one of those not very clear-cut case where you have something that stands out from the rest, but it's also not bad enough to land you in the rejection pile immediately. I cannot tell you more (and in any case, my words is worth nothing anyway) but than to encourage you to apply to schools of your choice, but what I will suggest to you is to go get a econ master first (and not in some other fields). Doing it in Asia is fine (since the aim is to bolster the amount of econ exposure to you), but there are also a lot of very good ones in Europe. The UK schools have almost no funding for their master, but they are not the only ones around. You can come to Toulouse for example (and you should be able to get into the M2), or there's UPF, Bonn, etc, where either funding are readily available or tutition fees are just dirt cheap. These schools tend to run their master program concurrently with their 1st yr PhD program, so if you can do very well there, then a top 30s should not really be an issue after that. In any case, staying in these schools for their phd is not that bad either.

Good luck!

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 05:49 AM
Could you guys offer some information of what phd programs are usually poor, or they offer litter funding? Thanks very much.

econornot
11-13-2010, 12:49 PM
However, large amount of Chinese students do not really know what an econ PhD really is and whether they really like it---maybe not for those who went to Princeton and MIT, but definitely very likely true for any programs ranked top 40 and below.
[/URL]

You see, you have your population sample and I have my population sample, and mine obviously told me otherwise. Not having an overwhelmingly huge presence in certain programs are by no mean any justification that majority of the Chinese students are just doing PhD for fun or because it sounds cool. I believe international students have an inherent disadvantage during the application process because the adcoms do not know much about the schools they came from and their grading systems. It's only when a previous student had come from a particular school and has done well in the program that they start to give the school more credit and such things and credibility take decades to build up; hence we only observe asian students coming from only particular schools.
Nevertheless, it is again by no means an indication of Chinese students being "unprepared" in your interpretation. If I am a Chinese, I will definitely take offence from your claim which you have made it sound like a hard fact. For a start, such claim can never be tested or justified unless one goes out and survey the Chinese's interpretation of grad econ. They may not know what living in US is like, and I do agree that most face some form language barrier and might not be as creative as the rest, but most of them have gotten a Master before application and they certainly know what grad econ is about. Nobody can claim for sure they know what grad school in econ is like, and every school's experience differ, but I don't think you should be suggesting that a person who has taken the effort to find out more about programs and application does not really know what an econ PhD is about simply because of where he comes from.

(P/s: the video "So you want to do a PhD in economics" is really meant to be a joke to poke fun of us grad students, so please do not take it too seriously. If anything, most current grad students can relate well to a few things mentioned and can certainly laugh about it, but it's defintely not a full reflection. )

petecheese
11-13-2010, 01:15 PM
wow, i am amazed by all the insinuations made towards Chinese students and the fact that some people think they understand the cultures and makings of grad school.
As always this forum proves to be a double edged sword, helpful in so many ways, but hurtful in so many others.

To the OP, most of the information and advice given to you in this thread is based on mere speculation, hearsay and huge generalizations. If you want my advice, GO to your advisers or close professors and ask them where people in your school have placed before and what their backgrounds were. Then, that will give you an understanding of where you can place. It's all about connections these days.

Just on a personal side not. I think you have a good shot at cracking the top 40 with that profile.

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 04:08 PM
Hi, Thanks.

I agree that language is a problem for us Chinese students, but it is something we could learn and improve. I do think some Chinese professors are doing well in the specifc field. It is true that some Chinese PhDs are not that good after they graduate, but it is not true that all the US or other international PhDs are doing good after they graduate, either.


You see, you have your population sample and I have my population sample, and mine obviously told me otherwise. Not having an overwhelmingly huge presence in certain programs are by no mean any justification that majority of the Chinese students are just doing PhD for fun or because it sounds cool. I believe international students have an inherent disadvantage during the application process because the adcoms do not know much about the schools they came from and their grading systems. It's only when a previous student had come from a particular school and has done well in the program that they start to give the school more credit and such things and credibility take decades to build up; hence we only observe asian students coming from only particular schools.
Nevertheless, it is again by no means an indication of Chinese students being "unprepared" in your interpretation. If I am a Chinese, I will definitely take offence from your claim which you have made it sound like a hard fact. For a start, such claim can never be tested or justified unless one goes out and survey the Chinese's interpretation of grad econ. They may not know what living in US is like, and I do agree that most face some form language barrier and might not be as creative as the rest, but most of them have gotten a Master before application and they certainly know what grad econ is about. Nobody can claim for sure they know what grad school in econ is like, and every school's experience differ, but I don't think you should be suggesting that a person who has taken the effort to find out more about programs and application does not really know what an econ PhD is about simply because of where he comes from.

(P/s: the video "So you want to do a PhD in economics" is really meant to be a joke to poke fun of us grad students, so please do not take it too seriously. If anything, most current grad students can relate well to a few things mentioned and can certainly laugh about it, but it's defintely not a full reflection. )

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 04:09 PM
Thanks much for your advice. I should go and talk to my professors next week. Thanks again.


wow, i am amazed by all the insinuations made towards Chinese students and the fact that some people think they understand the cultures and makings of grad school.
As always this forum proves to be a double edged sword, helpful in so many ways, but hurtful in so many others.

To the OP, most of the information and advice given to you in this thread is based on mere speculation, hearsay and huge generalizations. If you want my advice, GO to your advisers or close professors and ask them where people in your school have placed before and what their backgrounds were. Then, that will give you an understanding of where you can place. It's all about connections these days.

Just on a personal side not. I think you have a good shot at cracking the top 40 with that profile.

buzios
11-13-2010, 04:48 PM
wow, i am amazed by all the insinuations made towards Chinese students and the fact that some people think they understand the cultures and makings of grad school.
As always this forum proves to be a double edged sword, helpful in so many ways, but hurtful in so many others.

To the OP, most of the information and advice given to you in this thread is based on mere speculation, hearsay and huge generalizations. If you want my advice, GO to your advisers or close professors and ask them where people in your school have placed before and what their backgrounds were. Then, that will give you an understanding of where you can place. It's all about connections these days.

Just on a personal side not. I think you have a good shot at cracking the top 40 with that profile.

Good post. I was hoping someone would make this comment, I was pretty confused by some of the earlier advice given.

To the OP, it's easy to mistake conjecture and generalizations for good advice on this forum. I'd second talking to professors as they would be able to give you a MUCH more accurate assessment of your profile.

Your profile seems good for [20,40] ranked programs, good luck!

asquare
11-13-2010, 05:02 PM
I said "many of them" which meant not all of them. Be honest to yourself, do a little research and you will find there are not that many Asians (especially Chiense) in very top programs (except at Princeton, they admit 3~4 Chinese every year but they all have perfect profile and have done master in econ (or physics, math and so on). But in any case, only few students are from China at very top schools. I agree with that Chinese students are very likely to do well on exams and so on, but the lack of creativity and language skills make them worse off while doing serious research. However, your life of academics does not depend on how well you scored on the qualify or on any finals but how well your research is.

Chinese are always allowed to study in the US, at least it is true since 1980s. In recent years, more Chinese are able to afford PhD study and the information of how to go to the US and study become more accessible. That is why there is an expansion of Chinese applicants recently. However, large amount of Chinese students do not really know what an econ PhD really is and whether they really like it---maybe not for those who went to Princeton and MIT, but definitely very likely true for any programs ranked top 40 and below.

I do not know in which year you applied for grad school. but the competition for funding at a top US program is very high at this time. Public schools all get large amount of budget cuts and private schools get much more applicants than before. If you do not believe truth, then give a shot and you find it out. Again, not matter where you come from, you should always ask your self, do you really know what an econ PhD is in the US? Do you really like it? Do you really be aware of the possible types of jobs you can get with an econ PhD? ---- If you haven't watched the video "So you want to do a PhD in economics", then go to here http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/126461-so-you-want-get-phd-economcs.html

I agree that international students may not know what an American PhD program is like. However, I also think there are plenty of American students who don't have realistic expectations about PhD programs! I am American and was an undergrad at a top private university in the US, but just being an economics major there didn't give me any clue at all what it would be like to be a PhD student. I know plenty of other Americans who are now in a wide range of PhD programs and who were surprised by the transition to graduate school, the culture they found there, and the divide between academia and non-academia as post-graduate options. I don't think it is fair to single out Asian students for being especially unprepared for an American PhD program -- and even if it were, it's not constructive to simply discourage the OP, rather than offering information you feel he might not have.

Also, the video you link to is an intentionally cynical, over-the-top take on graduate school in economics. (I don't even think it's particularly well done; I thought the political science one was much funnier). Insinuating that it contains some truth the OP needs to understand is inaccurate and misleading.

econornot
11-13-2010, 05:31 PM
Hi, Thanks.

I agree that language is a problem for us Chinese students, but it is something we could learn and improve. I do think some Chinese professors are doing well in the specifc field. It is true that some Chinese PhDs are not that good after they graduate, but it is not true that all the US or other international PhDs are doing good after they graduate, either.

Chinese or non-Chinese issue aside, I don't think anybody's non-academic background should become a barrier to a good career in academia.

Like many others had said, you should go talk to your letter writers. But just from personal experience (which constitutes only a few sample points), a lot of professors in non-US schools are not exactly aware of how competitive the admission process is these days, (and this is especially common when the schools do not send students to a US phd program on a regular basis) so they tend to be overly optimistic about their students' chances. So be aware of that and be (I would say) a little more risk averse in your eventual school choices. But if your professors do encourage you to apply to very top schools, it can only mean that they think highly of you which implies their LOR will be good... so that's good news!:)

But I still maintain that if I were you, I will go somewhere to do a master in econ first. Unlike many others who have posted here in the forum before about how much a master can bolster their profile when they already have tons and tons of econ modules taken in their bag, the number of econ courses you have taken so far can be counted with 10 fingers, so I think a high level econ training can send out a good signal in your case. I don't think a funded top 30s is that difficult to crack with a good master degree, especially given the fact that you have a decent enough profile to begin with, so you really don't need to go too far down. Perhaps a mixture a of some top 30s schools of your choice with some masters as safeties will be my suggested optimal bundle. But then, it's just my personal take.

(P/s: Do check out the "So you want to do a PhD in Political Science" if you haven't. I think it's really a lot better than the econs one both in terms of entertainment value and "realism" to econ grad school:)

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 05:57 PM
Hi~Thanks very much for your opinion.



Good post. I was hoping someone would make this comment, I was pretty confused by some of the earlier advice given.

To the OP, it's easy to mistake conjecture and generalizations for good advice on this forum. I'd second talking to professors as they would be able to give you a MUCH more accurate assessment of your profile.

Your profile seems good for [20,40] ranked programs, good luck!

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 05:59 PM
Hi, thanks very much for your reply and clarification.


I agree that international students may not know what an American PhD program is like. However, I also think there are plenty of American students who don't have realistic expectations about PhD programs! I am American and was an undergrad at a top private university in the US, but just being an economics major there didn't give me any clue at all what it would be like to be a PhD student. I know plenty of other Americans who are now in a wide range of PhD programs and who were surprised by the transition to graduate school, the culture they found there, and the divide between academia and non-academia as post-graduate options. I don't think it is fair to single out Asian students for being especially unprepared for an American PhD program -- and even if it were, it's not constructive to simply discourage the OP, rather than offering information you feel he might not have.

Also, the video you link to is an intentionally cynical, over-the-top take on graduate school in economics. (I don't even think it's particularly well done; I thought the political science one was much funnier). Insinuating that it contains some truth the OP needs to understand is inaccurate and misleading.

RealEstate
11-13-2010, 06:05 PM
Hi, thanks very much for your suggestions.

Yes, I will also apply for some public policy programs, since some professors there are also doing urban economics. (I am not sure whether you mean public policy when you say "political science".)

But I guess those programs are relatively not that competitive, so I previously thought I should use them as backups rather than universities that are not highly ranked in economics. How do you think of the competitiveness of those programs? Thanks very much.

But as I moved on on my research, I realized the importance of models and econometrics. If I am fortunate enough, I still prefer a PhD in economics.


Chinese or non-Chinese issue aside, I don't think anybody's non-academic background should become a barrier to a good career in academia.

Like many others had said, you should go talk to your letter writers. But just from personal experience (which constitutes only a few sample points), a lot of professors in non-US schools are not exactly aware of how competitive the admission process is these days, (and this is especially common when the schools do not send students to a US phd program on a regular basis) so they tend to be overly optimistic about their students' chances. So be aware of that and be (I would say) a little more risk averse in your eventual school choices. But if your professors do encourage you to apply to very top schools, it can only mean that they think highly of you which implies their LOR will be good... so that's good news!:)

But I still maintain that if I were you, I will go somewhere to do a master in econ first. Unlike many others who have posted here in the forum before about how much a master can bolster their profile when they already have tons and tons of econ modules taken in their bag, the number of econ courses you have taken so far can be counted with 10 fingers, so I think a high level econ training can send out a good signal in your case. I don't think a funded top 30s is that difficult to crack with a good master degree, especially given the fact that you have a decent enough profile to begin with, so you really don't need to go too far down. Perhaps a mixture a of some top 30s schools of your choice with some masters as safeties will be my suggested optimal bundle. But then, it's just my personal take.

(P/s: Do check out the "So you want to do a PhD in Political Science" if you haven't. I think it's really a lot better than the econs one both in terms of entertainment value and "realism" to econ grad school:)