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Borderline PD
09-04-2007, 05:43 AM
Hello all. I'm debating what to do next, and could use some advice.

PROFILE:
Type of Undergrad: BA Econ, UC Davis
Undergrad GPA: 3.4 cumulative, 3.6 economics
GRE: 800Q, 720V, 5.5W
Math Courses: Calc I and II (B+ in both), Statistics and Probability (A), Linear Algebra (A)
Econ Courses: A's in each, except for a D+ in a course that I tried to take sophomore year without any of the prereqs. Oops.
Letters of Recommendation: Should have one from a tenured econ PhD and one from an assistant professor. Both verbally indicated they would. Other than that they probably will either be non academic or from professors I barely knew.
Research Experience: None.
Teaching Experience: Stats tutor
Research Interests: Macro, history
Other: Have been working for two years in business doing work that is largely unrelated. Would prefer a school with a varied approach to the subject.


Currently tossing around one of four ideas, in order of preference:
1. Econ PhD - Realistically, this is a stretch. I did rather well on the GRE, and the econ grades are good, but there's little otherwise.
2. Econ MS followed by Econ Phd - Better shot here but still will be a stretch for a good program.
3. Heading back to UCD for a year of math, followed by Econ PhD.
4. MBA - The best way to make a lot of money, but I don't particularly care for business.

Thoughts?

SquareSquare
09-04-2007, 07:04 AM
Think hard about PhD vs MBA. You will forgo a lot of money during grad school and staying for too long at uni will make it hard to leave it.

But if that's the road you intend to go, I would suggest applying to both PhD and MS programs. If you get into decent PhD (e.g. some UC uni?) then you're set, if you don't you will have MS as a backup...

And if that doesn't work out either you can go with step 3. For MS programs it will be hard to find one in US and the next best thing would be to head north.

SquareSquare
09-04-2007, 07:09 AM
Error 402: Demand finally caught up with Supply.

apropos
09-04-2007, 07:43 AM
Option 5: get a Masters in statistics. I bet it's valued just as well if not better as Masters in Economics (unless it's from LSE and such) by adcoms and in the case if you don't get into a Ph.D. program, you could get a nice, fairly lucrative job doing statistics.

Fermat
09-04-2007, 01:21 PM
Option 5: get a Masters in statistics. I bet it's valued just as well if not better as Masters in Economics (unless it's from LSE and such) by adcoms and in the case if you don't get into a Ph.D. program, you could get a nice, fairly lucrative job doing statistics.


I would agree, except would the OP be able to get admitted to a Stat program with such little math taken? If so, it solves a lot of your problems by allowing you distinguish yourself more and get some better recs.

apropos
09-04-2007, 02:30 PM
Well, obviously, getting into Berkeley or UCLA stats program would be difficult, but getting into CalState campus should not be a problem or big but lesser known research universities like Oregon State or Washington State, and I would investigate whether masters programs at schools like USC and UCI as unlikely but probably still achievable reaches.

buckykatt
09-04-2007, 06:27 PM
Regarding an MBA, there are an increasing (though, AFAIK, still small) number of programs that focus on preparation for a career in the nonprofit sector. If that's the kind of work you'd find rewarding, shopping for an appropriate MBA program might be worthwhile.

A statistics master's doesn't sound like a bad suggestion, whether as a terminal degree or as preparation for continuing on to an economics Ph.D. (I'm considering the same thing.) Your low grades in calc I/II and lack of multivariate calc (I'm assuming) are minuses but probably not deal-breakers at many schools.

I do think you could find a home at some economics Ph.D. program with your profile as it is but, as you probably realize, not a terribly competitive one. Just adding A's in Calc III and Real Analysis would be a big boost. One of the advantages of doing so in the context of an economics program would be the chance to get a good LOR from a econ professor.

YoungEconomist
09-04-2007, 07:50 PM
IMHO, this probably just depends on your long term goals. If you are wanting to just get accepted to a low ranked PhD program and then go into a teaching career at a small LAC, then you may be able to apply as is, but realize you would probably only be admitted to some of the lowest ranked PhD programs. If you're trying to get into the best school possible, then I would say go back to undergrad for a couple quarters (maybe even a year) work on some math classes, get good grades in them and then apply to programs for admissions about a year from now.

Borderline PD
09-04-2007, 08:35 PM
Thank you all for the excellent advice. I hadn't considered a masters in stats, but this would come in very handy. I need to explore this some more.


IMHO, this probably just depends on your long term goals. If you are wanting to just get accepted to a low ranked PhD program and then go into a teaching career at a small LAC, then you may be able to apply as is, but realize you would probably only be admitted to some of the lowest ranked PhD programs.

Long term career goals in order of preference:
1. Professor position at just about any university. I'm not terribly picky, I just want a place where I can pursue my research interests and earn enough to live on.
2. Teach at a community college. No prestige, but its probably the lowest-stress job I can think of, and I would still be able to pursue research interests. Obviously this could be achieved with a MS only.
3. Strategic level business. I could easily make six figures by going to B school, which certainly has its appeal, but its not really my passion. Non profit would be slightly better but its still not where I want to be.

YoungEconomist
09-04-2007, 09:14 PM
Long term career goals in order of preference:
1. Professor position at just about any university. I'm not terribly picky, I just want a place where I can pursue my research interests and earn enough to live on.
2. Teach at a community college. No prestige, but its probably the lowest-stress job I can think of, and I would still be able to pursue research interests. Obviously this could be achieved with a MS only.
3. Strategic level business. I could easily make six figures by going to B school, which certainly has its appeal, but its not really my passion. Non profit would be slightly better but its still not where I want to be.

Well, from the research I have done it is fairly easy to land a job at a university if you have a PhD. However, this will not necessarily be a well known university, the pay won't be great, and the teaching load may be kind of high. But if these things don't bother you then you will definitely get a chance to pursue your own research interests and earn enough to live on. Sounds like you want to work on research to some degree so a job at a community college is probably not the way to go.

buckykatt
09-04-2007, 11:23 PM
Given that your career goals are modest, IMHO you could find your way into a suitable Ph.D. program with even the background you have now. However, I would not expect you to find a position with a light enough teaching load to devote a lot of time to research. If research is important to you--that is, if just earning a decent living teaching and perhaps publishing the occasional paper or book isn't enough for you--then it would be worth your while to do something (extra math classes or a master's program of some kind) to improve your profile and get into a better Ph.D. program than you could reach now.