View Full Version : Good GPA, Average GRE, From Bangladesh- Any Chance?? Pls Pls Pls Advice!!

09-13-2007, 05:43 AM
Hello everybody,

I did my ugrad (2006) in Business with minor in economics from the most prestigious business school in the country ( doesn’t help, I know) and currently doing my MA in Economics. I am also working in one of the largest international development project in the country. After completing my second MSc/MA from abroad, I plan to go for a PhD in Development related field.

Given my following profile, what should I do ( apply for MA in econ or go for MPP or development studies and where should I apply?)

Ugrad GPA, BBA, (completed): 3.73 ( Ranked 3rd in the class)
Grad GPA, MA in Econ (ongoing) : 3.85
GRE: 770 (Q), 620 ( V) , 4.5 (A)
Journals : 4 papers under review in local journals related to development economics.
Work Experience: Full time 1.5 ( development organization), Part time 1 year (research associate) Courses: Micro I, Macro I, Int. Micro II, Int. Macro II, International Economics, Metrics, Adv. Metrics, Contemporary Economic Thoughts, Adv. Trade Theory, Adv. Development Economics, Math for Business (Linear Algebra, Basic Calculus), Stat-I,Stat-II, Research Methods, Socio Economic Study. The average GPA for above courses: 3.83.

Sorry for the loooooooooooooooooooooooong post :)


09-15-2007, 07:23 AM
which country do u wish to apply? US or UK ?

09-16-2007, 09:16 AM
I plan to apply for programs in US and Canada for 2008 session. Which programs and universities should i target?

09-16-2007, 09:30 AM
As far as I know, the prime purpose of MPP programs is to send their students to private/public/IGO jobs. I doubt whether a MPP program would be a good pre-cursor to a PhD. I believe that a Masters of Econ degree would be more beneficial to your cause. Of course, you will probably manage to get into a more reputed MPP program (in relation to your MS Econ options), but would that be worth it ? The question essentially boils down to whether a mediocre-reputation MS Econ is a better preparation than a reputed MPP, for a future PhD (probably in Dev Econ) ?

09-16-2007, 06:42 PM
I am guessing you are from IBA... you have to make sure that you get very good letters from your profs. And try to get them for economists rather than your business profs. Papers in local journals wont help much, if they are not highly quantitative and your profs can tell that in their letter. Bottomline is that as you are coming from another country (and as your GRE and class rank is pretty good), your letters will, kind of, decide your destination. You should look at all the top 50 schools and see which schools match your interest.

09-16-2007, 11:34 PM
I plan to apply for programs in US and Canada for 2008 session. Which programs and universities should i target?

I think that your gre scores and MA ECON are good your country is not much important.
good recomendations will probably do atleast top 50 program in US.
Try to apply PHD program instead of MA or MPP since in us not much direct MA programs offered.
And funding is only for PHD studies.

09-17-2007, 07:08 AM

Thanks everyone for ur suggestions!! And yes Bayern I am from IBA. As for LOR, I plan to take one from the Head of the Department (economics), who took the Advance Econometrics and Advance International Trade Theory courses, and the second one from the former head of the department, who took the Intermediate Macroeconomics and Advance Development Economics courses.

As for suggesting the top 50 PhDs in US, I donít have sufficient math background ( no calculus III and IV, real analysis etc) and so will they directly take me in to their PhD program??? I suggested MPP because then my work experience and my development related journal articles can be use advantageously to maximize my chances of getting in to a good program in a reputed institution.

Can you guys suggest few econ PhD programs that I can apply to, among the top 50??

Live Long and Prosper!!!

09-17-2007, 12:29 PM
Being a student from a developing country, I do not think that the current advice to the OP in this forum is doing him justice.

LORs from relatively unknown (developing) countries & especially from unknown universities are heavily discounted by Adcoms because:

1. The professors are nearly always effusive in recommending a student & will produce a near-perfect letter for almost all students.

2. The students themselves are often asked by the professor to write the letters themselves.

3. Since the professors are not frequent writers of LORs, they sometimes are not aware of the mechanics of writing a letter.

In fact, this was corroborated by my Real Analysis professor (who did his PhD in US & hence has intimate knowledge of the way adcoms evaluate profiles from developing countries).

I would surely not argue with the fact that whether the OP has a good chance for Top 50 programs, but what I must warn him and others of is the relative unimportance of LOR.

09-18-2007, 06:30 AM
I think I will have to disagree with you in this issue asianeconomist. It is true that professors are effusive in recommending a student and might produce an extremely good letter, but again too many people do not have the potential to apply abroad for PhD, and the adcoms know that there are reasons for letters only filled with praises. It is also true that these professors are not frequent writers of LORs, but same is true for professors in LACs, but again so many students go to grad schools from LACs. And lastly, adcoms are aware that the best minds are at the teaching jobs in the best universities of a country, so if they say someone is really good, it is quite likely that person is very good. The difficult part is how good is that person compared to American students. GRE gives them some idea, so does prior research work or difficult courses taken...

09-18-2007, 06:34 AM
And about which top 50 programs you should apply to... look at the rankings (econphd.net) and maybe, narrow down some fields which interests you (such as development?)... your adviser or professor can also help you in the process... they have a good idea about foreign universities and their specialities.

09-18-2007, 09:47 AM
Allow me to contribute more to this healthy debate.

It is certainly true that not a lot of students apply for a foreign PhD. However, among those who apply,everybody invariably sends in a equally-glittering LOR. Therefore, the Adcom cannot use this as a tool to select between individuals from the same country/institution. To take your example, if every applicant to a program has a 800Q in GRE then how can you select between them! You have to use another criterion. Therefore, as you indicate, GRE & GPA are indeed the most important criteria for evaluating unknown foreign profiles, but not LORs.

It is certainly true that some professors in developing countries (especially those who have studied outside) are well-versed in the methods of writing a LOR but I do know quite a few professors whose LORs amount to nothing more than a "character certificates". But then again, this is a subjective issue and I believe that the reputation of the OP's UGrad institution ensures a certain level of quality.

Lastly, a best mind is often not the most "truthful" mind & I hope Adcoms know that!