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View Full Version : Why exactly is the M.A. in Economics at NYU not a good step towards a top PhD ???



divikid
12-03-2007, 06:20 PM
I've read over and over this same story about the M.A in Economics at NYU not being a good setp towards a top PhD program in the US. But I can't seem to find the reasons for that! NYU is consistently ranked among the top 10 econ depts in the US. If you are a top student in the M.A., I believe you would get good recommendations from professors who would write good recommendation letters. You can take some courses at the Courant, which is one of the best math depts in the world. So, if you can take some courses in real analysis, probability, etc. I think you should be well equipped to apply for a top PhD.
Please, can somebody tell me why is it not as good as it seems? So if you are an international student, like me, that hadn't had the chance of taking an undergrad course at Princeton, Stanford, Berkeley, etc., what do you do to get to a top PhD program? If not through a masters in one of the top econ depts in the US, I don't know how...

ImProcrastinating
12-03-2007, 06:32 PM
I'm not an expert, but I've heard that NYU's MA program is a money machine for the department. To maximize revenue, they admit a large number of students, meaning both that admission to the program is not a signal of outstanding ability and that students do not interact much with professors because the student\faculty ratio is so large. Also, I think the program has more of an applied than a theoretical bent, so it really won't teach you what you need for a PhD.

As to what to do to get into a top Econ program, a Master's from a prestigious school in Europe or Canada (UBC, UWO, LSE, Toulouse, etc.) will help you a lot more than an MA from NYU.

polkaparty
12-03-2007, 07:13 PM
NYU is consistently ranked among the top 10 econ depts in the US.

A program that isn't designed as preparation for a Ph.D. simply isn't going to be good preparation for a Ph.D., regardless of where it's taught.

Now, I have no idea what NYU's program is like, as I too have only heard the hearsay that it's not meant as Ph.D. preparation.

You are right that it's possible you may get good letters and take some quality math courses at NYU, but as ImProcrastinating said: consider your other options. There are probably better places to go.

By the way, a quick look at NYU's website (http://www.nyu.edu/econ/graduate/ma.html) seems to indicate that their program can be used as pre-PhD prep
It is also an excellent preparatory degree for those students wishing to go on to a PhD program elsewhere in the U. S.
but they could just be trying to lure students for money as ImProcrastinating has heard. Again, I don't know anything beyond the `common knowledge' of this board.

divikid
12-03-2007, 07:34 PM
Thanks for the comments guys. I don't know about you, but I'd really want to hear from someone who has taken the M.A. at NYU. I think much of what is said is just speculation. I have a friend who has started the M.A. in August. I still didn't have the chance of asking him, but as soon as I have, I'll post here.

YoungEconomist
12-03-2007, 08:06 PM
Thanks for the comments guys. I don't know about you, but I'd really want to hear from someone who has taken the M.A. at NYU. I think much of what is said is just speculation. I have a friend who has started the M.A. in August. I still didn't have the chance of asking him, but as soon as I have, I'll post here.

Yeah, try talking to some people who've been through it (especially if you can find someone who went PhD afterwards).

Here's my 2 cents. It's probably really hard to get into a top 10 program from NYU's MA program. But I imagine that if you do really well (GPA, GRE, take some upper level math courses, solid LORs), you probably can get into a program ranked between 25 - 50.

asquare
12-03-2007, 11:21 PM
NYU's website claims that the MA program is a good stepping stone to a PhD in economics. However, in the FAQs about the MA program (http://www.nyu.edu/econ/graduate/ma/faq.html#19), they say this:
The master's program does not lead to the PhD program. The two programs are quite separate and students cannot transfer from the master's program to the PhD program at NYU. However, our master's program can be used to lay the groundwork for students who wish to pursue a PhD program elsewhere, and an increasing number of our students have gone on to do a PhD in economics at other universities in the United States (e.g. Boston University). Indeed, the best qualified master's students sometimes take one or more PhD-level courses within the Department of Economics as credit towards their M.A. degree. In order to improve their math background, some students seeking to pursue a PhD also take graduate math courses. Students can also choose to apply for our Ph.D. program after completing the master's, although admission is very competitive and none of the master's work would transfer toward the PhD.The fact that they cite Boston University as a place where an alum has pursued a PhD suggests that the NYU masters does not regularly place graduates into top-20 PhD programs.

econphd23
12-04-2007, 03:35 AM
NYU's website claims that the MA program is a good stepping stone to a PhD in economics. However, in the FAQs about the MA program (http://www.nyu.edu/econ/graduate/ma/faq.html#19), they say this: The fact that they cite Boston University as a place where an alum has pursued a PhD suggests that the NYU masters does not regularly place graduates into top-20 PhD programs.

I have the same concern,,,,

YoungEconomist
12-04-2007, 03:56 AM
The fact that they cite Boston University as a place where an alum has pursued a PhD suggests that the NYU masters does not regularly place graduates into top-20 PhD programs.

This may not matter though. I mean, let's face it, most people do not even want to go onto a PhD program after NYU masters (it's more for business economists and such who just want a masters and then find a job). And the few people who do want to pursue a PhD might have fairly mediocre (or in some cases bad) profiles, which is why they want a PhD but cannot apply to one straight out of undergrad. There is so much self selection going on here, that NYU's placement record might not have a lot to do with their program but rather the students who come through the program. Besides, getting a top 20 admit is very difficult, especially if your undergrad record isn't very strong. In fact, it seems a mediocre or weak undergrad profile might not even get one past the first round cuts at top 20 programs.

bscout
12-04-2007, 04:40 AM
As to what to do to get into a top Econ program, a Master's from a prestigious school in Europe or Canada (UBC, UWO, LSE, Toulouse, etc.) will help you a lot more than an MA from NYU.

From more or less 30 students, the placement from UTDT (http://www.utdt.edu/ver_novedad.php?id_novedad=103&id_item_menu=436) last year was:


Juan Pablo Xandri - Department of Economics, Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Juan Matías Ortner - Department of Economics, Princeton University
José Azar - Department of Economics, Princeton University
Javier Donna - Department of Economics, Northwestern University
Emiliano Marambio - Department of Economics, New York University
Cecilia Parlatore - Department of Economics, New York University
Florencia Borrescio Higa - Department of Economics, Brown University
Federico Droller - Department of Economics, Brown University
Nestor Sebastián Calónico - Department of Economics, University of Michigan
Sebastián Lobo Yamín - Department of Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Luciana Andrea Nicolier - Midi Pyrénées Sciences Economique, Université de Toulouse 1
Manuel Macera - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
María Elisa Belfiori - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
Guillermo Raúl Beylis - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Javier Cravino - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Cassin
12-04-2007, 06:46 AM
Now, I have no idea what NYU's program is like, as I too have only heard the hearsay that it's not meant as Ph.D. preparation.

I have spoken with the top NYU MA student of 2006-2007 at the April flyout. He said that out of ~90 students, only one (he) was able to get into NYU PhD (or any good school ~top10-15). He was adamant that it's not a good preparation for PhD - he got lucky that, by chance, he already had some connections with the NYU faculty before doing the MA (through his consulting work experience). He decided to do MA because he was out of school for a number of years and wasn't committed to research initially.

Like others have said above in this thread, the material there is of applied nature and is useful for people who want to work in the private sector/policy (true for most US MA's).

US academic system is different from the Commonwealth. Since top undergraduates can enter PhD directly, terminal MA are used for orthogonal purposes (revenue, policy-training). On the other hand, UK/Canadian PhD programs generally require MA first, which necessitates that their Master's programs are useful for research work.

econphilomath
12-04-2007, 12:53 PM
From more or less 30 students, the placement from UTDT (http://www.utdt.edu/ver_novedad.php?id_novedad=103&id_item_menu=436) last year was:
Juan Pablo Xandri - Department of Economics, Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Juan Matías Ortner - Department of Economics, Princeton University
José Azar - Department of Economics, Princeton University
Javier Donna - Department of Economics, Northwestern University
Emiliano Marambio - Department of Economics, New York University
Cecilia Parlatore - Department of Economics, New York University
Florencia Borrescio Higa - Department of Economics, Brown University
Federico Droller - Department of Economics, Brown University
Nestor Sebastián Calónico - Department of Economics, University of Michigan
Sebastián Lobo Yamín - Department of Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Luciana Andrea Nicolier - Midi Pyrénées Sciences Economique, Université de Toulouse 1
Manuel Macera - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
María Elisa Belfiori - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
Guillermo Raúl Beylis - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Javier Cravino - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)



Thats insane...

divikid
12-04-2007, 01:50 PM
And what about master in Finance? A few months ago, I was thinking about applying for a master in Finance, like in Princeton, Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia, etc. But I realized it was too hard to get in. I've heard they are even better stteping-stones for a top PhD in Economics than an MA. Is it true? Does anyone know about this?
And what about doing an MA in Economics, then go to a master in finance, and then to a PhD? Am I going too far here?

asquare
12-04-2007, 02:11 PM
This may not matter though. I mean, let's face it, most people do not even want to go onto a PhD program after NYU masters (it's more for business economists and such who just want a masters and then find a job).
Yes, but presumably those who do go on to PhDs wanted to, so they are the relevant comparison group.

And the few people who do want to pursue a PhD might have fairly mediocre (or in some cases bad) profiles, which is why they want a PhD but cannot apply to one straight out of undergrad.
And again, people who do want PhDs but don't have the undergraduate record to enter a top program directly are the relevant comparison group. If the OP could get into a top program directly, I doubt he would be considering NYU's master's program. But what we can surmise from NYU's webpage is that for a student who wants to get a PhD but whose undergraduate record and personal circumstances are such that attending NYU's masters program is the best option, NYU does not routinely place students in top PhD programs. Of course placement is a function of the students who attend, but here we are talking about placement conditional upon previous record.

Using students admitted to the same schools is a form of matching; see for example Krueger and Dale (1999 or so).

YoungEconomist
12-04-2007, 04:37 PM
But what we can surmise from NYU's webpage is that for a student who wants to get a PhD but whose undergraduate record and personal circumstances are such that attending NYU's masters program is the best option, NYU does not routinely place students in top PhD programs.

My question is whether this is mainly a result of NYU's program, or of the students who tend to go to NYU (including the ones who want to go onto PhD)? Isn't this really just an example of the ability bias?

LMCS
12-04-2007, 05:05 PM
From more or less 30 students, the placement from UTDT (http://www.utdt.edu/ver_novedad.php?id_novedad=103&id_item_menu=436) last year was:
Juan Pablo Xandri - Department of Economics, Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Juan Matías Ortner - Department of Economics, Princeton University
José Azar - Department of Economics, Princeton University
Javier Donna - Department of Economics, Northwestern University
Emiliano Marambio - Department of Economics, New York University
Cecilia Parlatore - Department of Economics, New York University
Florencia Borrescio Higa - Department of Economics, Brown University
Federico Droller - Department of Economics, Brown University
Nestor Sebastián Calónico - Department of Economics, University of Michigan
Sebastián Lobo Yamín - Department of Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Luciana Andrea Nicolier - Midi Pyrénées Sciences Economique, Université de Toulouse 1
Manuel Macera - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
María Elisa Belfiori - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
Guillermo Raúl Beylis - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Javier Cravino - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Are you serious about this? 1 MIT, 2 Princeton and 1 Northwestern? 15 top placements in one single year? That's hilarious... Was it an outlier year?

divikid
12-04-2007, 05:38 PM
Are you serious about this? 1 MIT, 2 Princeton and 1 Northwestern? 15 top placements in one single year? That's hilarious... Was it an outlier year?

I'm from Brazil, and there are is a top masters in economics here in Rio de Janeiro - PUC-Rio - that consistently place an average of 5 students (out of 10-15) in top 20 PhDs, but it's hard to get in. Does anyone have the placement record from UCL, LSE, Warwick, UBS or UT like this from PUC-Rio?

2001
Felipe Monteiro de Salles, London School of Economics
Pedro Calhman de Miranda, Stanford University ($$)
Thomas Yen Hon Wu, Princeton University ($$)
Maria José Salgado, Northwestern University

2002
Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Princeton University ($$)
Paulo Guilherme Moreira Mello Filho, U.C.L.A. – University of California, Los Angeles
Daniel Santos, University of Chicago
Pedro Garcia Duarte, Duke University
Filipe Robin Campante, Harvard University ($$)

2003
Priscilla Yung Medeiros, Northwestern University ($$)
Anna Risi Vianna Crespo, Princeton University ($$)
Roberto Benjamim Pinheiro, University of Pennsylvania ($$)
Cristine Campos de Xavier Pinto, University of California, Berkeley

2004
Daniel Ribeiro de Souza Carvalho, Harvard University ($$)
Fernanda Feitosa Nechio, Princeton University ($$)
Silvia Helena Barcellos, Princeton University ($$)
Leandro Siqueira Carvalho, Princeton University ($$)
Juliana Dutra Pessoa Araújo, University of Maryland ($$)
Renata Del Tedesco Narita, University College London
Gabriela Bertol, London School of Economics ($$)

2005
Felipe Tamega Fernandes, London School of Economics
Klênio de Souza Barbosa, Université de Toulouse
Cecilia Caraciki Muruci Machado, Columbia University ($$)
Renato Dias de Brito Gomes, Northwestern University ($$)
Tiago Couto Berriel, Princeton University ($$)
Daniel Ferreira Lima, University of California, San Diego

2006
Bruno Ferman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT ($$)
Eduardo Zilberman, New York University ($$)
Ricardo Fibe Gambirasio, Princeton University ($$)
Alan Seixas Bello Moreira, University of Chicago ($$)

2007
Gabriel Lopes Ulyssea, University of Chicago
Bernardo Santos da Silveira, New York University ($$)
Marcel Scharth Figueiredo Pinto, Tinbergen Institute, ($$)
Edson Roberto Severnini, University of California, Berkeley ($$)
Antonio Carlos de Azevedo Sodré, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – M.I.T ($$)
Nelson Camanho da Costa Neto, London School of Economics (LSE), ($$)

Antonio
12-04-2007, 05:57 PM
I'm from Brazil, and there are is a top masters in economics here in Rio de Janeiro - PUC-Rio - that consistently place an average of 5 students (out of 10-15) in top 20 PhDs, but it's hard to get in. Does anyone have the placement record from UCL, LSE, Warwick, UBS or UT like this from PUC-Rio?

2001
Felipe Monteiro de Salles, London School of Economics
Pedro Calhman de Miranda, Stanford University ($$)
Thomas Yen Hon Wu, Princeton University ($$)
Maria José Salgado, Northwestern University

2002
Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Princeton University ($$)
Paulo Guilherme Moreira Mello Filho, U.C.L.A. – University of California, Los Angeles
Daniel Santos, University of Chicago
Pedro Garcia Duarte, Duke University
Filipe Robin Campante, Harvard University ($$)

2003
Priscilla Yung Medeiros, Northwestern University ($$)
Anna Risi Vianna Crespo, Princeton University ($$)
Roberto Benjamim Pinheiro, University of Pennsylvania ($$)
Cristine Campos de Xavier Pinto, University of California, Berkeley

2004
Daniel Ribeiro de Souza Carvalho, Harvard University ($$)
Fernanda Feitosa Nechio, Princeton University ($$)
Silvia Helena Barcellos, Princeton University ($$)
Leandro Siqueira Carvalho, Princeton University ($$)
Juliana Dutra Pessoa Araújo, University of Maryland ($$)
Renata Del Tedesco Narita, University College London
Gabriela Bertol, London School of Economics ($$)

2005
Felipe Tamega Fernandes, London School of Economics
Klênio de Souza Barbosa, Université de Toulouse
Cecilia Caraciki Muruci Machado, Columbia University ($$)
Renato Dias de Brito Gomes, Northwestern University ($$)
Tiago Couto Berriel, Princeton University ($$)
Daniel Ferreira Lima, University of California, San Diego

2006
Bruno Ferman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT ($$)
Eduardo Zilberman, New York University ($$)
Ricardo Fibe Gambirasio, Princeton University ($$)
Alan Seixas Bello Moreira, University of Chicago ($$)

2007
Gabriel Lopes Ulyssea, University of Chicago
Bernardo Santos da Silveira, New York University ($$)
Marcel Scharth Figueiredo Pinto, Tinbergen Institute, ($$)
Edson Roberto Severnini, University of California, Berkeley ($$)
Antonio Carlos de Azevedo Sodré, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – M.I.T ($$)
Nelson Camanho da Costa Neto, London School of Economics (LSE), ($$)



F..K !!!!!!!!!!! This is a placement!

asquare
12-04-2007, 07:54 PM
My question is whether this is mainly a result of NYU's program, or of the students who tend to go to NYU (including the ones who want to go onto PhD)? Isn't this really just an example of the ability bias?
Yes. That is why the conditional comparision is right. If NYU is the best program an applicant is admitted, to, then what placement can be expected upon finishing the MA.

bscout
12-05-2007, 12:33 AM
Are you serious about this? 1 MIT, 2 Princeton and 1 Northwestern? 15 top placements in one single year? That's hilarious... Was it an outlier year?
In fact is more than that since, for instance, they guy who is attending to MIT was accepted at most top ten schools including Harvard (however, after being waitlisted); of course, the same is true for most of them.

Was an outlier year in the sense that many students decide to go for a PhD. In general they place 5-7 students at top programs. A very good result per se but even more when we take into account that is not hard to get into their program.

flipecon
12-05-2007, 03:09 AM
what other universities in latin america offer competitive MA Econ programs? im hoping they are offered in English. i am asking since i am interested in learning the language there too.

bscout
12-05-2007, 03:57 AM
PUC Rio, UFRJ, UTDT, PUC Santiago de Chile, ITAM and also some programs like the Master of IMPA.

Besides Latin America you can consider UPF and CEMFI (both of them in Spain).

flipecon
12-05-2007, 03:58 AM
thanks bscout. ill definitely research on those programs. cemfi and upf are better compared to those latin american ones?

bscout
12-05-2007, 04:52 AM
I think they are more 'international' and they also have professors that are very well known. For instance, CEMFI has Arellano and Repullo and UPF has Mas-Colell.

I do not know about UPF's placement but CEMFI usually places one or two students per cohort (nearly twenty students) in top programs. Last year (last period of applications) one student went to Columbia and another went to MIT and in 2005 one student went to Princeton. However, it is very hard be a top student there when compared, for instance, with UTDT.

flipecon
12-05-2007, 08:39 PM
the program in UTDT is in english?

econphilomath
12-05-2007, 08:54 PM
From what I know coming from a masters in latin america, the placements are best from UTDT, PUC Rio and ITAM. There are other good ones also. I'm not sure however that placements would carry over to someone from say, the US. Usually students who get good placements are the best students from local elite undergrad institutions. I'm not sure it carries over to people coming out of the system.

Obviously getting a top ranking at a competitive program would get you some good LORs but I imagine its much easier to do well in a good program in the US and still get great LORs. There are some examples of students coming from Peru or Bolivia who don't have such good local programs and they use prograsm from Argentina, Chile, or Brazil as a platform, do well and then go to the US. But they have a good excuse. If your from a country that has good programs, why would you go out of your way to go abroad?

As a stepping stone, I think US MAs dominat if your from the US (with the exception of LSE). However maybe your main objetive is not to maximize ranking of your phd program and going abroad might be interesting in itself.

On another note, UPFs program is in english while those from Latin america are not.
(from what I know)

econphilomath
12-05-2007, 08:58 PM
I think they are more 'international' and they also have professors that are very well known. For instance, CEMFI has Arellano and Repullo and UPF has Mas-Colell.

I do not know about UPF's placement but CEMFI usually places one or two students per cohort (nearly twenty students) in top programs. Last year (last period of applications) one student went to Columbia and another went to MIT and in 2005 one student went to Princeton. However, it is very hard be a top student there when compared, for instance, with UTDT.

Add Jordi Gali to UPF... a LOR from him would get you into NYU reeeal fast...

flipecon
12-06-2007, 02:34 AM
thanks econphilomath. ya, im curious about other programs. although i live here in canada, i would like to experience other cultures and learn other languages like spanish. i find canada boring, toronto to be specific. its too cold for an asian guy like me. lol. besides, my language is closer to spanish so i guess i'll have an easier time learning it.

asianeconomist
12-06-2007, 01:33 PM
Add Jordi Gali to UPF... a LOR from him would get you into NYU reeeal fast...

Also add Sala -i-Martin. An LOR from him should have a similar impact on your admission at Columbia.

ekonomiks
12-06-2007, 04:00 PM
i find canada boring, toronto to be specific. its too cold for an asian guy like me. lol. besides, my language is closer to spanish so i guess i'll have an easier time learning it.

Which Asian language is close to Spanish? :hmm:

flipecon
12-06-2007, 10:57 PM
hey ekonomics. tagalog or filipino as they call it. ;-)

econyun
12-08-2007, 03:09 AM
Which Asian language is close to Spanish? :hmm:

Interesting...question...
if you know, remember to tell me...
Eastern or Middle Asia...???

Really have no idea....

asianecon
12-08-2007, 03:44 AM
Southeast Asia to be exact. The Philippines was under Spanish rule for more than 300 years hence had a strong influence on the development of the local language. But funny thing is, they didn't establish the proper educational institutions and it was the Americans who "educated" the masses. So unlike other countries who went under colonial rule, only the old elite were fluent in Spanish and only remnants of Spanish entered the language, albeit in a slightly "bastardized" way (e.g. colloquial greeting is kamusta which is close to como estas...we also curse in Spanish!; as an amusing aside, my Italian friends were disappointed when we found out that the word p*ta has French etymology---instead of Italian or Spanish). Moreover, speaking in english has always been synonymous to being educated (which I don't really believe in!)

Haha sorry, off-topic..

flipecon
12-08-2007, 05:35 AM
thanks for the help asianecon. lol.