View Full Version : Future Plans

08-29-2007, 03:08 AM
Hello Everyone

I have heard great things regarding this site so I hope to get some advice for myself. Let me tell you all a little about myself.

I graduated in 2006 from Boston College with a degree in History. While at BC I took some finance classes in order to prepare myself for the "Real World". However, during the end of my tenure at BC I started to really like Economics and Finance but kept sweeping it under the rug. Now that I have been working for over a year I find myself reading articles and caring a lot about the academic world. So much so that I want to do what is needed to apply for either a PhD in Economics or Finance, since I am a fan of financial economics. Things such as asset pricing, corporate finance (M&A), investing in general, etc.

My problem these are the only classes I have taken: intro to econ, statistics, investments, corporate finance, money and banking, and calc I & II. Now I work in RI with Fidelity Investments and my only options for schools at night is University of Rhode Island (what is the respect of this school?). My question is what will I need to do to realistically get into a top 50 econ program so I can teach at one? I rather get into a top 20 and that is the attitude I will be taking towards this goal, but I am realistic.

So if people can tell me what I can do during the next 2-3 years t o realize this it would be great. The more specific the bett

08-29-2007, 03:23 AM
Well, one comment right off the bat: if you want to teach at a top 50 program, you probably need to aim a bit higher with the program you attend for your Ph.D. Take a look at the faculty listings at some of the schools you think you might like to teach at and note where the professors got their Ph.D.s...

08-29-2007, 03:42 AM
Great advice and I have done that. Any advice on how to get there.

08-29-2007, 06:24 AM
I have never seen University of Rhode Island in any of the Econ rankings I've seen, so I'm assuming it places outside of 300. If that were the case, going to night school there will not get you into a top 50 Econ Ph.D program. If you REALLY want to get into a good Econ Ph.D program, you might apply to Master's programs in Finance or Econ (preferably at top schools), graduate at the top of your class, and then apply to Econ Ph.D programs. But that is a lot of investment of time with no guarantee.

The way I did it was I did Econ ungrad at UCLA, but low GPA (I think 2.9), did Econ MA at Cal State Long Beach, top of the class, outstanding grad, RA and great LORs. Got into U. Washington with funding. Not bad. I love the study of Economics but I don't think a life of research is for me so I didn't end up attending.

08-29-2007, 04:25 PM
Of course the better the school, the more impressive good grades and recommendations are going to look to an adcom. But I disagree with scheng75 when he says that a top 50 admit isn't possible based on undergrad work at a less-prestigious school like URI.

As for how to get there, the first step would be addressing the gap between the econ and math prep you've completed and what top grad schools say they want you to have. The bare minimum would be multivariate calculus (typically "calc III" at a school like URI or BC) and linear algebra plus intermediate micro and macro. For a top admit, though, you'd want to add some more advanced math classes, such as real analysis and math stats; and it probably goes without saying that grad level econ would be better.

I agree that a master's program would be a good way to close the gap, and you have enough math to get into and handle the load in an MA program. But if URI is your only option, then work with what you've got. (Just be sure that you can actually get the classes you need at night. I attend a similar school, and the more advanced math classes are only offered during the day. You might also want to check this discussion board for the threads about where to take math courses online.)

Beyond the classes, you'll want to get to know some professors who can write you good LORs and take any opportunities to do research with them. At the very least, try to find opportunities to write papers for their classes (even as extra work) so they can get some idea of your potential
to do research. Maybe you can tie this into your work somehow?

08-29-2007, 09:24 PM
anyone else care to weigh in

08-30-2007, 12:37 AM
Bump please

08-30-2007, 02:06 AM
Originally Posted by Outfielder http://www.urch.com/forums/../tm_images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.urch.com/forums/74599-my-future-decision.html#post486449)
So if people can tell me what I can do during the next 2-3 years to realize this it would be great. The more specific the better.

I would strongly recommend looking at the profiles and results (http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/66608-profiles-results-2007-a.html) of students starting in graduate programs this fall. This will give you numerous examples of what has gotten people into top-tier programs.

08-30-2007, 05:14 PM
If you haven't already, you should write to any of the BC Finance faculty that you know, and ask them what they think. BC has a really good Finance department, and since you're an alum, they'd be more helpful with giving you advice.

I think if you are serious about your stated goal of academia, and teaching at a research school, then your best bet is to apply to Masters programs at places like Tufts, LSE, Toronto, Univ of British Columbia, or NYU. Also, I would suggest spending two years in a Masters program, which I guess would require you to extend your study at places like Tufts and Toronto, which have one year masters programs. The first challenge is getting into one of these masters programs. But if you get good rec letters stating your aptitude, then you might be able to succeed in this regard.

If not, no big deal. Take courses in math at URI and, if possible, a grad econ course or two at Brown; the latter might not be possible or feasible.
The key is to have As in the following: Calc 1-3, Linear Algebra, Prob & Stats, Real Analysis, and if possible Diff Eq. Also, you need to solidify your econ background with intermediate micro & macro, a course (preferably two) in econometrics, a math for economists course (or some equivalent with optimization theory), and, if you are ambitious, a grad micro course. It goes without saying you need to have mostly As, and nothing below a B. Ideally, enrolling in an Econ Masters program is the way to do this, and the math can be taken by lessing your econ course load.

One possible time plan is this:
Year 1: take courses listed above (or enroll in a masters program)
Year 2: take more courses if necessary (and complete masters program if longer than a year). If done with coursework or masters, work (and take a couple of field/finance courses to signal your interests). Apply for graduate school.