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charlesbronson
12-01-2007, 05:16 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a little bit of advice.

I have my undergraduate degree with a double major in Business & Economics. I am currently enrolled in an MBA program and will finish within the next year and a half. On the side, I am picking up math classes, and have concluded three semesters of Calculus and by the end of this summer will have finished Linear Algebra, Probability Theory, and possibly Differential Equations. I have taken the GRE and scored well, particularly in quantitative. Were I to go to full time phd study, I anticipate my reach schools to be Washington/Illinois, with target schools of Oregon, Colorado, Santa Cruz, etc. I don't have a strong enough profile for top 10 schools, obviously, but I have done enough to strengthen my profile to make me competitive in the 25-75 range.

I am taking the MBA program because for the time being I am geographically restricted - my passion is economics, but I am not in the vicinity of a graduate program in economics. Rather than waste away during this period of immobility, I decided to pick up the math classes I need for graduate study in Economics, as well as pick up the MBA, to open more doors in terms of careers, to improve myself personally, and to ensure a safety net in case I am never able to return to study in Economics.

I expect to be able to relocate for the fall of 2009, so I intend on applying for graduate study next fall. However, I am a little unsure on what to apply for.

I would like to pursue the doctorate degree. However, I am not positive that I would want to end up purely in an academic role, and therefore the degree may not be necessary. If that is the case, I would prefer to merely work towards the masters degree. This is where my several questions come in.

a) can anyone comment on the nature and scope of jobs available for someone with a masters in econ? What about someone with both a masters in econ and and an MBA? I am particularly interested in international, development, and public economics - will a masters degree do a good job opening doors in both industry and government for these specific fields?

b) can anyone comment on the benefits of applied masters programs versus theoretical? Assuming I am planning on going to the job market directly after the masters degree, I am assuming taking an applied economics masters degree will be more marketable than a theoretical one that is the basis for a phd program. On the other hand, should I wish to pursue a phd program, an applied degree will do little to eliminate the time the program will take.

c) can anyone comment on taking the phd program while employed? Assuming I finish the MBA and Masters in Econ, we'd like to start having a family immediately thereafter. I will also have accumulated quite a bit of debt. I can't see postponing work and family any further at that point. Is there anyway one can pursue the phd in a more temporary way while meeting these other engagements?

I've read quite a bit about it over the last several years, and my impression is that it is something you must go into, in depth, with no other distractions. If thats the case, going for a masters will pretty much rule out the doctoral degree for me indefinitely. The only alternative would be to go into a phd program with the knowledge that should I not want to pursue it full, I can stop with a Masters. However, many programs don't offer this alternative, and again, it would be more of a "theory" degree and not an applied one.

I'm at a position where I have quite a bit of freedom to make these decisions. I know I want to pursue economics full time, however, I don't have enough of the information about what lies on the other side of a degree to make the decisions I need to at this point. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

zappa24
12-01-2007, 09:07 PM
I can answer one part:

c) PhD programs tend to view being in the program as full employment. If you receive aid, there is usually a rule that says you can't have outside employment. Based on my experiences in the first quarter, there just isn't any time to do work outside of the PhD. Even if you were allowed to find outside employment, your options would be limited by when you have to take classes. The jobs that you would find that would fit your schedule would probably not be financially or mentally rewarding enough to make up for lost time studying.

Also, there aren't any PhD programs that I know of that would allow you to take classes part time. If there are programs that allow it, they probably aren't worth going to.

The big question is, if you aren't sure you want to get into the academic world, do you want to be a researcher? If the answer is no, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to try for the doctorate.

buckykatt
12-03-2007, 03:19 AM
AFAIK, the only graduate program of any note that is open to part-time students is George Mason:

Doctoral Program - GMU Economics (http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/grad/phd.html)

YoungEconomist
12-03-2007, 04:46 AM
a) can anyone comment on the nature and scope of jobs available for someone with a masters in econ? What about someone with both a masters in econ and and an MBA? I am particularly interested in international, development, and public economics - will a masters degree do a good job opening doors in both industry and government for these specific fields?

I'm unsure about governments jobs, but I imagine you could definitely land some decent ones (I'd think they care more about the MA Econ degree than the MBA but I could be wrong). The dual degree would definitely be very marketable in the private sector. I think a lot of corporate economist jobs would love that combination, and maybe even some economic consulting firms, and management consulting firms probably really like that combo. Seems like the dual degree could also serve you well in a finance related career. As far as development and public economics, I'm not really sure if there are many private sector jobs that work in those areas (if there are though, I don't see any reason you wouldn't be qualified).