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Tatonnement
01-31-2008, 03:54 PM
Hey kids -- it's Tatonnement and I'm looking for a vaguely work related way to kill some time, so I'm open for questions. You can find my previous threads if you search, but in a nutshell I'm on the faculty at a "top department" and have done PhD admissions a couple of times.

I've also followed the "Big Moves on the Market" thread, as many of you have good info about who's going where, so I'd like to hear thoughts on that. Also anybody know people "in play", i.e. with offers they're seriously considering? I'll start off: Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe and Martin Uribe, currently at Duke, considering an offer from Columbia.

Valhalla
01-31-2008, 04:22 PM
All right someone has to ask this question (no offense I'm just kidding): So after being selected from a crowd of international applicants and after having passed the first year and the prelims and after 4-6 years of intensive PhD-studies and after the competitive selection process at the academic job market and between working, sending and revising journal contributions the way how you spend leisure time is answering questions at a PhD admission forum? That happens with econ-phD's? :tup:

anyone out there who doubts his decision to apply ? .. I don't :grad:

Mr.Keen
01-31-2008, 04:34 PM
I'll start off: Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe and Martin Uribe, currently at Duke, considering an offer from Columbia.

There goes 80% of my desire to go to Duke. Wish I had applied to Columbia.

YoungEconomist
01-31-2008, 04:39 PM
Ok, I have a few

1) If you couldn't be a professor at a "top school", what would you do instead and why? Private sector, think tank, LAC, gov't, etc?

2) How many hours a week do you work on average?

3) Lastly, and sorry if this gets a little long winded, but I have some questions about academia. First of all, a job at a top department sounds like an awesome job, but I doubt I will be eligible for a such a job after my PhD. Therefore, I have to compare more realistic job opportunities as I look to my future. If I go the academia route, I will likely wind up at a small state school or LAC. My impression of this sort of job is that you teach many classes and don't do that much research. Furthermore, I am under the impression that the research that is done by these economists gets published in low rung journals that few people read. Is that an accurate description of a job at this type of institution?

sunny58
01-31-2008, 04:43 PM
I'm not sure if this has already been discussed, but can you tell us why decisions take so long for schools that had their application deadlines in mid-December? Do adcoms just set application deadlines really early as a way to weed more people out? I've heard that most adcoms start their prelim reviews in mid-Jan - beginning of Feb, and I am pretty sure that it doesnt take a 1.5-2 months to compile and put together all applications.

Thanks!

Tatonnement
01-31-2008, 04:45 PM
So after [long list] ... PhD admission forum? That happens with econ-phD's? :tup:


Ouch. It's funny because it's true.

Back in the middle ages when I was going to grad school, people used to warn me that it changes you. Well if it doesn't, then there's no reason to go is there? For a long time my life has been economics and sleep, and I don't sleep that much.

Tatonnement
01-31-2008, 04:54 PM
Good questions...


Ok, I have a few
1) If you couldn't be a professor at a "top school", what would you do instead and why? Private sector, think tank, LAC, gov't, etc?


Probably govt, i.e. a Fed or govt agency. I really like not having to report to a boss, and while that's less true in govt work there's still a lot of independence (particularly at Feds).



2) How many hours a week do you work on average?

Tremendously variable, but typically 50-60. Usual business hours, plus 1-2 nights and an occasional weekends.



3) [Long intro...]Is that an accurate description of a job at this type of institution?

I can't say so much to that -- probably roughly true but too pessimistic. Teaching loads are higher the lower the ranking certainly, and there's a broad tendency for doing more applied research, which has less prestigious outlets. But research circles do develop even among lower rated places and journals, and there are still excellent people further down the list of schools, just not as many.

Tatonnement
01-31-2008, 05:13 PM
I'm not sure if this has already been discussed, but can you tell us why decisions take so long for schools that had their application deadlines in mid-December? Do adcoms just set application deadlines really early as a way to weed more people out? I've heard that most adcoms start their prelim reviews in mid-Jan - beginning of Feb, and I am pretty sure that it doesnt take a 1.5-2 months to compile and put together all applications.

Thanks!

Nothing in academia moves quickly. It's not about weeding out.. First the grad school compiles all the apps and checks completeness, sometimes gathers demographic info about the applicants etc, then they're passed to the department. So that's probably a month. Then how we do things here is the chair of the admissions committee does a first read and sort, which eliminates more than half the files. Then they're passed out to the committee.

Thesus
01-31-2008, 05:33 PM
Really, since going from working paper to published article can take two years, I'm always surprised they don't bump the application deadline to Halloween or something.

And remember that professors are mobile. Take our very own John List, who Ph.D'd at Wyoming, if I recall? Now at Chicago.

EDIT: Given his user name, perhaps its not unusual he'd help us grope for information? :P

arieshion
01-31-2008, 05:37 PM
Just out of curiosity, and I am not sure if someone has asked you this before.

How important is the GRE verbal score for an international applicant who has been waived of TOEFL?

iugi85
01-31-2008, 05:57 PM
I have a question for you! If I remeber correctly you are a professor at a top10 University and you were (are?) in the ad-commitee, so you are the right person to answer this doubt. In the process of selection, how much weight is given to having an external fellowship? Suppose this situation: there are two candidates that are very similar, but one with external aid and the other without, and the one without external aid slightly better than the other. Who would you consider for admission? Thank you!!

Profgif
01-31-2008, 06:05 PM
I have my own set of questions:
1. Are there admission quotas by field?
2. Is it easier to get into financial economics (financial markets/efficiency/empirical finance/financial econometrics/others) or econometrics (time series and forecasting/financial econometrics/volatility modelling)? [I'm a physicist with just a master in economics, -no master in statistics nor in finance- and some research in financial time series.]
3. What universities would you recommend for time series econometrics or financial econometrics?
4. And as an international applicant, can I submit a financial statement (financial affidavit) that doesn't contain all the necessary funds? For example, can I send a financial affidavit for US$5000 when they ask me for one of US$40000, expecting that if I earn a scholarship or a TA the university will submit the I-20 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-20_%28form) even with my incomplete funds? Or just to be considered for a scholarship or a TA, do I need to have the necessary funds anyway?

Many thanks in advanced for your valuable opinions and advice.

Tatonnement
01-31-2008, 06:36 PM
Just out of curiosity, and I am not sure if someone has asked you this before.

How important is the GRE verbal score for an international applicant who has been waived of TOEFL?

GRE verbal matters little unless you bomb it -- i.e. below say 30th percentile. In my experience the TOEFL has little info -- almost everybody does very well -- while GRE verbal is a better (but still imperfect) indicator. Neither matters very much, but with very low scores sometimes a Dean will raise questions.

Tatonnement
01-31-2008, 06:40 PM
I have a question for you! If I remeber correctly you are a professor at a top10 University and you were (are?) in the ad-commitee, so you are the right person to answer this doubt. In the process of selection, how much weight is given to having an external fellowship? Suppose this situation: there are two candidates that are very similar, but one with external aid and the other without, and the one without external aid slightly better than the other. Who would you consider for admission? Thank you!!

Again, just speaking from my experience but it does not matter at all. We don't consider any of that when deciding on admission. After we come up with the list and the chair of the committee talks to the Deans, then these issues may matter for funding (i.e. how big a fellowship offer from the school). But things may vary at other schools -- MIT for instance is known to wait until NSFs are announced before deciding on some people.

arieshion
01-31-2008, 06:41 PM
GRE verbal matters little unless you bomb it -- i.e. below say 30th percentile. In my experience the TOEFL has little info -- almost everybody does very well -- while GRE verbal is a better (but still imperfect) indicator. Neither matters very much, but with very low scores sometimes a Dean will raise questions.

I am between 30-40 percentile...


Thank you!

econphilomath
01-31-2008, 06:55 PM
Here goes a politically incorrect question:

Do adcoms take into account the fact an applicant is from the US or an International in any way at all?

My null hypothesis is yes, because maybe there is more exact info on US students so they need not have an MA, publications etc to be able to identify the good ones, while the international have to build up more CV to assure adcoms their good enough.
I'm assuming that good US students get in at top programs straight out of a four year degree and internationals generally do not.

Thanks

Olm
01-31-2008, 08:57 PM
First of all, I'd like to thank you for taking your time to answer our questions! I've also gone through your older threads and have had my curiosity satiated on many more mundane issues.

You partly answered this question in an older thread so I am hoping you could give a more complete response. I did very poorly in my undergrad (3.0 GPA), but turned it around in my MA program (4.0 GPA). How much does a poor undergraduate record hurt, ceteris paribus? I only applied to schools ranked 20-40 (econphd rankings), so places like Duke, Rochester, and UCSD are in there. Be as brutally honest as possible if you can.

Once again, thank you very much for taking your time to help us out. I survived the first round of cuts of Duke so I am feeling cautiously optimistic about my chances at US schools.

AstralTraveller
01-31-2008, 09:29 PM
Dear Tatonnement,

Thank you for your time. It is so nice of you.

I want to ask you the following. On the forum a thread surfaced, where it is said that an applicant with a Fulbright Scholarship might be less considered than a non-fulbright applicant, at least for top-tier institutions, because the candidate's commitment to academia is doubted.

So the question is: Is it detrimental for an applicant to have a Fulbright Scholarship at an institution like yours? If the reply is affirmative, do you think it holds true as well if the candidate shows a willingness to resign from the Fulbright scholarship?

Thank you so much again and again!
AT

Tatonnement
01-31-2008, 10:24 PM
Again, this is all from my experience, and may not be representative.



I have my own set of questions:
1. Are there admission quotas by field?

No. Many students have only a weak idea of what field they'll pursue, and many people change their minds, so this isn't much of an issue.



2. Is it easier to get into financial economics or econometrics?

Not sure what you mean "get into".. Finance (or "financial economics") as a whole is of course bigger and broader.



3. What universities would you recommend for time series econometrics or financial econometrics?
There is a relative lack of good time series people these days. Apart from the top 10ish schools, which for my money would include UCSD, you should look at Duke and UNC. The Triangle area has a concentration of people working on financial econometrics (Gallant, Tauchen, and Bollerslev at Duke, Ghysels and Renault at UNC).



4. And as an international applicant, can I submit a financial statement (financial affidavit) that doesn't contain all the necessary funds? No idea what this is about...

Profgif
01-31-2008, 11:02 PM
Many thanks for your answers, your help is of an enormous value to all of us! :tup:

Perhaps what I meant with question #2 is that I could personalize my SOP and my application towards the field of econometrics or towards the field of financial economics. Which field would be less competitive in order to get admitted or in order to find a good thesis advisor (considering that I just hold a master in economics, not in statistics nor in finance)?

warriorshame
01-31-2008, 11:55 PM
probably stupid questions, but here goes:

how much is overall undergrad gpa looked at versus gpa/individual grades in strictly economics, mathematics, and quatative classes? Are average grades in higher level math classes worse than not having these classes at all?

also, are there any undergrad institutions that immediately jump out at you when reading an application for any reason (grade inflation, grade deflation, tough economics sequence, easy economics sequence, etc)?

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 12:04 AM
Do adcoms take into account the fact an applicant is from the US or an International in any way at all?



Of course it is a factor, in that many international applicants have MAs while most US students do not. So the committees look for different things in these students -- do the Americans have enough background and know what they're getting into? How good are the MA programs of the international students and how well did they do? We do get a fair number of international applicants straight from undergrad, but unless they're from a "known" place it is very difficult to judge them.

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 12:11 AM
...I did very poorly in my undergrad (3.0 GPA), but turned it around in my MA program (4.0 GPA). How much does a poor undergraduate record hurt, ceteris paribus?

It does hurt, of course, but I'm not sure I can quantify "how much". It all depends on the case -- if you did better in math & econ than overall in college and now have done well in your MA, then it probably doesn't matter as much. But if it was overall mediocre (and 3.0 is really so bad in the scheme of things) or you did poorly in your key undergrad classes, then it will factor in more. Clearly doing well in more advanced classes will help, particularly if beyond getting an A you were at the very top of the class (grades are often easier in MA programs).

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 12:14 AM
Is it detrimental for an applicant to have a Fulbright Scholarship at an institution like yours?
AT

I know Fulbright can cause problems down the road, but it never factored into our discussions. Same thing goes with outside funding -- obviously Deans care about these things, and perhaps more financially constrained schools take this into consideration, but for us we just decide and then leave funding to be worked out between the chair & the administration.

econphilomath
02-01-2008, 12:16 AM
Thanks a lot for taking time out to answer questions.

Regarding the "known" places to get an MA, it has been discussed before on this forum but maybe you could give us a short list, "top of mind" so to speak, of MA programs abroad in good standing.

Thanks again.

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 12:18 AM
how much is overall undergrad gpa looked at versus gpa/individual grades in strictly economics, mathematics, and quatative classes? Are average grades in higher level math classes worse than not having these classes at all?

Overall GPA matters much less than grades in math & econ. Nobody really cares if you got a C in English or Art History, although having too many low grades does suggest some problems in managing workload or something.

And your course selection matters a lot here too -- taking advanced/difficult math is all to the good, even if the grades are good but not stellar.


also, are there any undergrad institutions that immediately jump out at you when reading an application for any reason (grade inflation, grade deflation, tough economics sequence, easy economics sequence, etc)?

First off, any school with a good grad program immediately gets more attention. Students there are presumed to know what they're doing in applying. Liberal arts colleges get perhaps more scrutiny than they should, as some of the econ programs there are a bit "soft", but again if students have good math training that offsets it. Students from Average Big State U (again absent having a good grad program) have a harder time, because the question is always, "If they're so good why did they go that school?" Top of my head on low grade inflation: Chicago and Swarthmore. High grade inflation: Harvard (but this may not be discounted that much.).

futg6
02-01-2008, 12:27 AM
Sorry to be repetitive but thanks so much for taking time to answer all of these questions.

In your experience how much does one bad grade (in an important class, for example advanced macro) hurt a candidate if the rest of their grades are good across the board?

YoungEconomist
02-01-2008, 12:32 AM
But if it was overall mediocre (and 3.0 is really so bad in the scheme of things)

Is this a typo? Did you mean to say, "3.0 is really not so bad in the scheme of things." Or were you implying that a 3.0 is actually a pretty bad grade?

pevdoki1
02-01-2008, 12:35 AM
Students from Average Big State U (again absent having a good grad program) have a harder time, because the question is always, "If they're so good why did they go that school?"

Come on, the answer to that can be very easy. We can do my case:

1) Had a 78 average in high school, didn't give a crap about academia etc
2) Went to a crappy college, found things than interest my in life and got a 4.0 GPA my first year
3) Transferred to arguably the best state university in NY state (maybe Stony Brook is better than Binghamton in some areas). Absolutely could not afford anything better, and actually met EXTREMELY smart people there (mostly in the math department, though)

I think to get into Harvard (with funding) straight from high school, you need to be a highly motivated high school student with a 99 average, 1550 on the SAT (which is also a bit biased against non-native speakers), extracurricular activities etc. The thing is, you need to come from a very specific background in order to achieve that. It's not necessarily about how smart the person is; ANYONE can get a perfect average in high school because 999/1000 high schools do not challenge the students intellectually at all. I had to reach a certain level of intellectual maturity before thinking about academia.

asquare
02-01-2008, 12:57 AM
ANYONE can get a perfect average in high school because 999/1000 high schools do not challenge the students intellectually at all.
Right, but the standard labor economics treatment of this sentiment, and of the idea of education as signaling, is that it is more "costly" for some people to get good grades than for others. Specifically, higher-ability people pay lower psychic costs for good grades. This leads to a separating equilibrium, where higher ability people get higher grades than lower ability. That may sound harsh, but it's the idea behind the signaling models of education, and is generally what admissions committees have in mind, too.

pevdoki1
02-01-2008, 01:22 AM
Right, but the standard labor economics treatment of this sentiment, and of the idea of education as signaling, is that it is more "costly" for some people to get good grades than for others. Specifically, higher-ability people pay lower psychic costs for good grades. This leads to a separating equilibrium, where higher ability people get higher grades than lower ability. That may sound harsh, but it's the idea behind the signaling models of education, and is generally what admissions committees have in mind, too.

Very generally speaking, that is true. But my point is that exceptions MUST be made. And as many economic models, this one is way too simplistic to be used as a serious rule.

You know, Srinivasa Ramanujan avoided going to school early in his life, and later even had to drop out of college. Of course, he was a genius, but there are less genius (and less extreme) examples of the same thing.

Instead of going to class to learn nonsense from a ****** literature teacher who doesn't know what he/she is talking about, the student may stay at home and read a novel by Dostoevsky. Maybe they know all their high school math already (because they learned it earlier) and therefore miss a lot of homeworks, but homeworks are 1/3 of the grade.

And don't forget the community service thing. You know, being a valedictorian etc plays a huge role. And many may think the whole thing is complete nonsense. That's what I meant when I was talking about specific backgrounds.

P.S. I am amazed that the curse word I used in one of the paragraphs above has not been censored.

asquare
02-01-2008, 01:53 AM
Very generally speaking, that is true. But my point is that exceptions MUST be made. And as many economic models, this one is way too simplistic to be used as a serious rule.
Sure, but Tatonnement mentioned that admissions committees pose the question, "If they're so good why did they go that school?" And the model I described is what leads to that question. In expectation, it's true. That doesn't mean no exceptions, but it does mean that absent other information, it's reasonable for admissions committees to consider undergrad institution even though undergrad institution was largely determined by high school performance.

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 01:56 AM
Is this a typo? Did you mean to say, "3.0 is really not so bad in the scheme of things." Or were you implying that a 3.0 is actually a pretty bad grade?

Sorry yes, a typo. 3.0 is not that bad...

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 02:06 AM
Sure, but Tatonnement mentioned that admissions committees pose the question, "If they're so good why did they go that school?" And the model I described is what leads to that question. In expectation, it's true. That doesn't mean no exceptions, but it does mean that absent other information, it's reasonable for admissions committees to consider undergrad institution even though undergrad institution was largely determined by high school performance.

Not that it's needed, but I fully agree with asquare. I've been talking about trends and likelihoods. Of course there are exceptions, but in the main the undergrad institution matters a lot. Similarly, in the main your grad institution matters a lot on the junior academic market. Geniuses can come from anywhere, but this discussion is (and really must be) about means and trends, not outliers.

Ibn Abbas
02-01-2008, 02:08 AM
Ok, here's my questions :)

1. If a student from a non-econ undergrad background does his MA in Econ and does not write a thesis during his MA, will this hurt his application? In other words, since anything he wrote during his undergrad was non-econ and since there's no research during his MA, his application has zero Econ research. How much of an issue is this?

2. We keep hearing speculation about SOPs never being properly read anyways. They are skimmed and then thrown into trash. Is this true? Do adcoms really have time to properly read through SOPs? And if SOPs contain some valid arguments (let's say, defending a bad grade), is it taken into account?

Thanks!

kuejai
02-01-2008, 02:27 AM
Thanks a lot for offering this kind of help. I know that a lot of us is almost gone insane now while waiting for the letter. Anyway, I'm really concerned about my verbal score. I will graduate from U of Northern Iowa with 3.98 GPA. I got 800 on math, 370 on verbal, and 4 on writing. Since I'm an international student, does 370 will affect me a lot, especially with funding? (I got an acceptance letter from Vanderbuilt University in Econ development program(MA) on Jan 17, which surprisingly early, but I didn't get any funding)
Thanks again

polkaparty
02-01-2008, 04:58 AM
(deleted)

asianecon
02-01-2008, 05:11 AM
P.S. I am amazed that the curse word I used in one of the paragraphs above has not been censored.

s/\sshit\s/\s\*\*\*\*\s/

That's probably why...Though I'm confused why there was an instance where assume was censored

some_guy
02-01-2008, 07:35 AM
I have a question...I am wondering if applicants whose families have made substantial donations to a school may have a higher chance of getting into a graduate program at that school. In particular, I have an uncle who endowed a professorship of computer science at one school, and I was wondering if this would factor in favorably at all in any admissions decision to a separate department such as economics.

Thanks

filroz
02-01-2008, 08:45 AM
Hello,
1) In case of international applicant, how perceived are LOR, which are very positive, but from people who re not internationally famous (although maybe top in their country)
2) (in similar way to Olm question) what about applicants who are very unbalanced (very poor undergrad gpa, even lower then 3, but on the other hand having very good master gpa, having some good research experience, maybe some national award), my hope is, that some schools could "test" such an applicant by offering admission without aid...?
Thank you for your time, I think everybody here really appreciate it [clap]

econphilomath
02-01-2008, 12:38 PM
DO YOU GUYS READ SOP's ???

Could you rank importance LOR > GPA > SOP ?

iugi85
02-01-2008, 02:32 PM
I have another question. I tried to find placement information of Columbia University but I did not find them. Could you please write something about Columbia placement: how is it in absolut value and compared to similar ranked programs such as Michighan, UCLA, NYU? Thank you very much, you are doing a great service to this forum!

Valhalla
02-01-2008, 03:50 PM
I have a question...I am wondering if applicants whose families have made substantial donations to a school may have a higher chance of getting into a graduate program at that school. In particular, I have an uncle who endowed a professorship of computer science at one school, and I was wondering if this would factor in favorably at all in any admissions decision to a separate department such as economics.

Thanks

Well ... I hope that you actually want to be admitted to a program because of your performance or because some profs recommend you and truly appreciate your work so far and not because your uncle dada has a huge purse right? Honestly ... I guess it has an influence and honestly: This sucks!
:yuck:

YoungEconomist
02-01-2008, 04:31 PM
I have a question about LORs. I hear they are very important, but at some schools it is more difficult to get them because it's hard to have many professors who know you.

For example, after I graduated high school, I went to a community college and took my intro micro and macro class. Then I transferred to a university with an Econ PhD program ranked about 30th, where I've taken 8 econ classes, 2 of these classes were taught by a grad student. This only leaves about 6 classes that I can get a LOR from, not to mention some of these classes are quite large and the prof probably doesn't remember me. This leaves me with only a small handful of potential LOR writers, and I'm afraid my LORs may suffer because of it. Sometimes I just think if I would have went to a LAC or small private school (as opposed to a large state school), then more profs would have know me and therefore I'd have better LORs.

Do adcoms take this into account? Do adcoms realize that getting strong LORs can be made more difficult for some people depending on their school and circumstances? If someone has solid grades in econ and math, solid GRE scores, but 1 (or 2) of their LORs are somewhat mediocre, can they still get some solid admits (by solid I mean the 20 - 40 range)?

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 04:39 PM
1. If a student from a non-econ undergrad background does his MA in Econ and does not write a thesis during his MA, will this hurt his application?

Previous research experience doesn't matter that much to be honest. Having done some is a good sign that you know what you're getting into, but unless you have a published paper in a good journal, it has relatively little effect.


2. We keep hearing speculation about SOPs never being properly read anyways. ...And if SOPs contain some valid arguments (let's say, defending a bad grade), is it taken into account?
This is true in the main -- SOPs are fairly uninformative and give very little info, so they're just skimmed. If there is a bad grade, people do glance at the SOP to see if there's an explanation, but if there are truly extenuating circumstances then these are usually mentioned in the letters too.

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 04:44 PM
I have a question...I am wondering if applicants whose families have made substantial donations to a school may have a higher chance of getting into a graduate program at that school.

The answer to this is the same as the others about finances -- when we decide on admissions, we take no account of finances or outside funding. After we make our decisions, the chair meets with the Deans and they decide on financial packages and may make some minor adjustments -- for diversity reasons or whatever (and "legacy" cases may fit there too). To my knowledge only a couple of times has this mattered, and it was on the margin of moving someone we'd narrowly rejected onto the end of the waitlist.

asquare
02-01-2008, 04:47 PM
What do faculty think of TM? How aware are they that it (and similar sites) exist, and of what is posted on them? What is the overall perception of the advice given on the forums?

pevdoki1
02-01-2008, 04:50 PM
I would like to see LOR questions answered, as well...

I used different samples of recommenders, so my whole application process was somewhat of an experiment =)

Cornell - 2 econ, 1 philosophy (!!), 1 math
WUSTL - 2 econ, 1 math
Minnesota - 2 econ, 2 math
Other places - 2 math, 1 econ (already got an admit with this set)

I'm afraid one of my econ. recommendations is quite sucky (while the other is outstanding), so I'm not hoping to get into the first 3 places. The reason I used it is because too many people told me that it's quite important to have 2 letters from economists...

I'm kicking myself a little bit because I probably should have used the 2 math, 1 econ set everywhere.

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 04:51 PM
Hello,
1) In case of international applicant, how perceived are LOR, which are very positive, but from people who re not internationally famous (although maybe top in their country)
Some places are known for producing students, even if their faculty are not among the most well known internationally. (Bocconi in Italy is one, di Tella in Argentina another.) So reputation and experience in placing students helps -- if a letter can compare you favorably to other students who have done well in good programs, then it carries a lot of weight.


2) what about applicants who are very unbalanced ... my hope is, that some schools could "test" such an applicant by offering admission without aid...?
Some schools do take chances, and these are the ones that tend to have a higher failure rate in the 1st year. Chicago was a classic case, although it's less like that now than before. I've heard Wisconsin has a high failure rate, so maybe they take more chances too.

C152dude
02-01-2008, 04:54 PM
deleted

C152dude
02-01-2008, 04:56 PM
What do faculty think of TM? How aware are they that it (and similar sites) exist, and of what is posted on them? What is the overall perception of the advice given on the forums?

That is a great question. [clap]

buckykatt
02-01-2008, 06:49 PM
Previous research experience doesn't matter that much to be honest. Having done some is a good sign that you know what you're getting into, but unless you have a published paper in a good journal, it has relatively little effect.


Are you referring here mainly to the direct effect of a publication, as opposed to the indirect effect of research experience via letters of recommendation? (It also occurs to me that research experience may be beneficial in the sense of expanding the applicant's information set and leading them to apply to programs that are a better match, but I imagine that's probably difficult to assess from the application.)

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 08:18 PM
Could you rank importance LOR > GPA > SOP ?

I'd say GPA >= LOR >> SOP.

GPA (meaning also class choice, good grades in the right classes, etc.) and letters are by far the most important. Having a high GPA is almost a necessity, and then letters are useful to distinguish among them. It is true that stellar letters from good people can save a lower GPA, but in the main grades are more important.

Tatonnement
02-01-2008, 08:21 PM
I have another question. I tried to find placement information of Columbia University but I did not find them. Could you please write something about Columbia placement: how is it in absolut value and compared to similar ranked programs such as Michighan, UCLA, NYU? Thank you very much, you are doing a great service to this forum!

Columbia's record is not great, but my guess is that it should be improving within the next few years. Their big hiring successes were only a few years ago, and it takes time for this to be reflected. But I'd say it lags behind the others you mention. (I'd put NYU much higher in ranking, but their placements also are lagging relatively. Again that should change shortly.)

Golden Rule
02-02-2008, 12:13 AM
I have another question. I tried to find placement information of Columbia University but I did not find them.
Columbia's recent placements have been posted on this board within the past year... search and ye shall find.

Golden Rule
02-02-2008, 12:26 AM
I'd say GPA >= LOR >> SOP.

GPA (meaning also class choice, good grades in the right classes, etc.) and letters are by far the most important. Having a high GPA is almost a necessity, and then letters are useful to distinguish among them. It is true that stellar letters from good people can save a lower GPA, but in the main grades are more important.

Regarding the value of research experience, suppose you had to pick between someone with { a 3.8 GPA and who had won the "best senior thesis" award in an econ department, an LOR suppoting that thesis } vs. { someone with a 3.9 at the same school, same class difficulty, much less research experience} I think schools would be totally foolish to prefer the 3.9, but maybe I'm naive.

A related question on course difficulty. Does the process you descibe put people at Liberal Arts Colleges at a big disadvantage, since they have no grad courses to take? So how would you compare someone with a 3.9 GPA from a top 10 LAC who did the best they could (tough econ classes, the standard array of math classes) vs. someone from a top 25 research U with a slightly lower GPA who was able to take a tougher course or two?

polkaparty
02-02-2008, 01:21 AM
What do faculty think of TM? How aware are they that it (and similar sites) exist, and of what is posted on them? What is the overall perception of the advice given on the forums?

I second this question.

signal08
02-02-2008, 01:44 AM
is there standard "cut-off" for GRE scores and/or GPA? and if so, what is it?

macroeconomicus
02-02-2008, 02:20 AM
is there standard "cut-off" for GRE scores and/or GPA? and if so, what is it?

Your question is too vague. What do you mean by "standard"? Even if such standard exists, it changes from school to school.

Based on my observations from last year's profiles, I am pretty sure the top 10 probably look for people with >3.6 GPA and >770Q as a bare minimum. (In fact, there is someone on the Harvard/MIT thread claiming something like that). At the same time, it seems like the schools ranked below 30 might look at applications with GPA as low as 3.0 or Q GRE as low as say very low 700s as long as other parts of the application could make up for those shortcomings. Other schools fall somewhere in between. Some departments list their cut offs on their website (UC Davis, UCSD)

Luckykid
02-02-2008, 02:24 AM
I had a full time job through out school. I didn't put that in my SOP because I thought it would show a lack of dedication to economics...would that have helped me?

iugi85
02-03-2008, 09:34 AM
Columbia's recent placements have been posted on this board within the past year... search and ye shall find.


I found it! Thank you!

ArthurBlair
02-03-2008, 12:19 PM
Thank you so much Tatonnement. So if I understand you correctly, Adcoms look at excellence in hard courses (grad level micro, calculus, linear algebra, analysis) and I should get a professor to rank my performance in these courses as opposed to my fellow students. Is this the most important criterium?

Furthermore, is it correct to sum up your posts on this forum by saying that mediocre research experience isn't extremely helpful, GRE scores are only used to make the first cut and the SOP doesn't matter much?

Are courses in econometrics equally valuable to those in micro and math?

What does RA or TA experience mean for your application?

Thanks a bunch

Tatonnement
02-04-2008, 05:39 PM
What do faculty think of TM? How aware are they that it (and similar sites) exist, and of what is posted on them? What is the overall perception of the advice given on the forums?
I'm not sure how many of them know about it. I have heard a couple people at different schools mention their department's reputation among students and whether it is fair or not, and mention this forum in that regard. I personally don't discuss the forum much, as I'm not sure my comments here would always be regarded favorably, although I do try to be honest.

Tatonnement
02-04-2008, 05:50 PM
Do adcoms realize that getting strong LORs can be made more difficult for some people depending on their school and circumstances? If someone has solid grades in econ and math, solid GRE scores, but 1 (or 2) of their LORs are somewhat mediocre, can they still get some solid admits (by solid I mean the 20 - 40 range)?

Answers in order: 1. Not really -- sure, people know that at a big state school you may have to work harder to have contact with professors, but the onus is on you. If you want to distinguish yourself, you may have to work harder. The flip side is that if the grad program in your school is good, then committees will know that if professors vouch for you they can be trusted.

2. Sure -- letters are only one factor of course, and while the best ones are informative, many are not. So if you do well on the other aspects, then yes of course you can get good admits. But remember that there is a large pool with good grades and good GREs, so there's a lot of idiosyncratic noise in who gets in and who doesn't. Finding some way of distinguishing yourself is very useful.

JackMA
02-04-2008, 09:42 PM
I am an international student and I did well in my B.A. study, 1st out of 80 in 4 consecutive yrs in my school. I got my Master Degree in United States. Unfortunately, for some personal reason, I did pretty poorly for my graduate GPA, only 3.2 out of 4.0. (I got all As in the last semester. but only 2 courses left) will it hurt me greatly if I want to apply the phd degree? Do I need to explain the reason(very private reason) in my PS for my low GPA in graduate study? Thanks!

JackMA
02-04-2008, 11:15 PM
Thanks,Tatonnement! May I ask another question?
will it hurt if I apply 2 majors in one school at the same time, such as both accounting phd and agricultural economic phd?

Tatonnement
02-06-2008, 11:57 PM
Regarding the value of research experience, suppose you had to pick between someone with { a 3.8 GPA and who had won the "best senior thesis" award in an econ department, an LOR suppoting that thesis } vs. { someone with a 3.9 at the same school, same class difficulty, much less research experience} I think schools would be totally foolish to prefer the 3.9, but maybe I'm naive.

I think that would be a close call, and you may be right. When I'd downplayed the importance of research experience I only meant that simply being an RA or doing a thesis is not that valuable in itself for admissions. There are many other benefits of doing research of course, some of which have indirect benefits for admissions. However achieving distinction in research, as in the example you mention or in publishing a paper, does indeed have some benefit.


Does the process you descibe put people at Liberal Arts Colleges at a big disadvantage, since they have no grad courses to take? ...
I don't know about how big it is, but I do think there is an advantage to research universities over liberal arts colleges. Of course it's a plus to take graduate classes and do well in them, as it's a clear sign that you're prepared. And this typically would mean getting a recommendation from a professor who may be known to the committee. The best students from liberal arts colleges aren't hurt by this, but on the margin there is an advantage (and I don't think it's unfair) to being in a research university.

Tatonnement
02-07-2008, 12:01 AM
Thank you so much Tatonnement. So if I understand you correctly, Adcoms look at excellence in hard courses (grad level micro, calculus, linear algebra, analysis) and I should get a professor to rank my performance in these courses as opposed to my fellow students. Is this the most important criterium?

criterium...?

Anyway, yes indeed -- some of the most informative letters are those that make comparisons. The best are when professors are able to compare to students who have gone on to graduate study and done well, but being compared to your contemporaries is also useful.



Furthermore, is it correct to sum up your posts on this forum by saying that mediocre research experience isn't extremely helpful, GRE scores are only used to make the first cut and the SOP doesn't matter much?
That pretty much encapsulates it..

Tatonnement
02-07-2008, 12:04 AM
I am an international student and I did well in my B.A. study, 1st out of 80 in 4 consecutive yrs in my school. I got my Master Degree in United States. Unfortunately, for some personal reason, I did pretty poorly for my graduate GPA, only 3.2 out of 4.0. (I got all As in the last semester. but only 2 courses left) will it hurt me greatly if I want to apply the phd degree? Do I need to explain the reason(very private reason) in my PS for my low GPA in graduate study? Thanks!

Yes, this will certainly hurt your application. You may be able to mitigate the damage slightly if there truly are extenuating circumstances (and if your letters can also attest to this), but still it won't look good. Of course this also depends on where you did your MA, how hard that program is (i.e. how a 3.2 places you relatively), etc.

YoungEconomist
02-07-2008, 02:13 AM
2 questions:

1) I am in the Economics Department Honors Program at my University. The main requirement is to finish a thesis/research-project. I have many difficult and important courses to finish this year, so it's possible that I won't finish the project. I intend to finish, but it's always possible it won't quite work out given the time constraint. I was just wondering if adcoms would think this is a big deal? In other words, if they know I started the Honors program but didn't complete a thesis, would they think this is a really bad signal for research? In case it helps answer the question, most of the schools I will be applying to are in the 20 - 40 range.

2) I took Intermediate Macroeconomics twice, because the first time I didn't do that well. When I took it the first time, I didn't know I wanted to go to grad school in economics, and therefore I didn't work nearly as hard in that class as I usually do. Furthermore, I didn't apply myself much because I didn't find it that interesting at the time. The result was that I scored a 3.1 in the class.

Then, in order to join the Honors Program I was told I would need to retake Intermediate Macroeconomics and score at least a 3.5, so I re-took the course. The second time I found it much more interesting and I worked a lot harder, and the result was that I scored a 4.0. I've often wondered if this will come back to hurt me when I apply. Will my first grade in Intermediate Macro hurt me much? In case it helps, my interests in grad school are in IO, Econometrics, and possibly Labor Economics (and I plan on stating these interests in my SOP).

Also, is there any need to explain why I took Intermediate Macro twice, and why I did bad the first time, or should I not even mention it?

Oikos-nomos
02-07-2008, 01:25 PM
Hi Tatonnement, thank for your help, I have 3 questions,

1) I'm an international undergrad Economics student. In order to get good admits i know i need to have something that distinguishes me from the rest (as in the Spence model, haha, well...). What other things apart from the MA could work? Even if i have a strong record (good GPA, GRE and LORS, math classes, RA, etc) do i have little chances of being considered without the MA?

2) (Related to question 1)). I've seen people good but not distinguishable from the others enter to some good places because of connections of their recommenders with people at these good places. Could this work in spite of the MA?

3) Without the MA, do you think that i have considerable chances of getting into top 20-30 ?. Think of that good international applicants straight from undergrad that you mentioned they apply to your deparment.

It's just that i don't like the idea of spending 2 years of my life abroad just to "get prepared" for Phd...don't know if it is worthy, just to have a good shot at top schools

Thanks a lot

uwecon85
02-22-2008, 08:19 AM
What are ways to get back into the PhD after a kickout?
In particular what post kick out experience could be the best? e.g. research jobs (such as the Fed) or GRE subject based math test (or maybe physics) or extra classes as a non degree student?

asquare
02-22-2008, 08:30 AM
What are ways to get back into the PhD after a kickout?
In particular what post kick out experience could be the best? e.g. research jobs (such as the Fed) or GRE subject based math test (or maybe physics) or extra classes as a non degree student?
I'm not Tatonnement, and hopefully he will answer as well. But I am awake at this ungodly hour, so here are some thoughts.

I think it depends on why you were kicked out. In particular, if you failed classes or prelims, then you need to demonstrate that you can pass those classes. Taking additional math or graduate econ classes as a non-degree student, and doing well in those classes, would be helpful. Doing research, though, probably wouldn't address the concern about your ability to pass classes or exams. And since the math GRE is not particularly related to the math needed for econ (and is really difficult!) it doesn't seem the most efficient way to demonstrate proficiency.

If you were kicked out for for some other reason, then I'm not sure what it would take to get back in. But in general, you want to figure out what you can do to demonstrate that whatever got you kicked out of one program won't be a problem at a different program.

reason
02-22-2008, 01:22 PM
Wow, thanks for answering our questions. I hope this flood of questions is not taking too much of your time!

First of all, I'd like to thank Olm and YoungEconomist for their questions, since they are relevant for my case. Second of all, I'd like to ask a couple of question myself:
1. If one has bad grades in the undergraduate microeconomics courses, how big of a plus would it be considered to get good grades in microeconomics courses taken at an institute of mathematics (i.e. with curricula on the level of Mas-Colell et. al.)? Would it be worth it to pursue good grades in such courses? Would the time be better spend taking other courses, such as ODE's, PDE's, Mathematical Statistics etc.?
2. What would an admission committee consider most interesting: an applicant with a 4.0 GPA in his masters degree, or an applicant with a 4.0 GPA in his masters degree with extra courses in advanced mathematics, but with "mediocre" grades (let's say a 3.0 GPA in these courses)?

Thanks in advance!

israelecon
02-22-2008, 01:33 PM
definitely taking a high level micro course would be better than ODE and PDE. differential equations is very technical and is not a great signal for overall mathematical ability (as would better be evidenced by more theoretical math courses). in general i don't think differential equations are so important because if you run into a differential equation then 1. chances are there is no way to solve it, or 2. it has already been solved and then you just have to look up the solutionin a book that has solutions to differential equations.
if the Mas-Colell course is taught on a high mathematical level it is a double signal. it shows you can handle technical math and it shows that you have some economic intuition which is also important (in the end we are talking about econ not math).
i think mediocre grades in any courses won't kill you, but it will raise serious questions for the adcom, and unless they have good reason to think these low grades are not indicative of some weakness, they may pass over you for some less "risky" student.

reason
02-23-2008, 05:47 PM
Thank you very much for your answer, isrealecon - very much appreciated! It has made me rethink my plan of study.

(Of course, I am still hoping Tatonnement would also take a shot at answering these questions)

reason
03-04-2008, 01:45 PM
Bump.

phdseeker
03-04-2008, 02:04 PM
I have a few questions of my own. First, what do you see as the hot new areas in research? Which economists are the leaders? Should we be looking at applying to those schools or do you consider these fads or will the professors likely move by the time we get to thesis construction?

Second, if we dream of being a professor at a top school but cannot get in a top phd program should we go to a much lesser ranked school this year or try again next year for the top school. It seems that climbing up the hill of schools is for all intents and purposes impossible.

Tatonnement
03-04-2008, 04:43 PM
I'm not Tatonnement, and hopefully he will answer as well. But I am awake at this ungodly hour, so here are some thoughts.

I think it depends on why you were kicked out. ...

Hey kids - been out for a while.

Let me just say that I agree fully with asquare's response. I do know of several people who have gone on to successfully complete PhDs after being kicked out (i.e. failed 1st year exams) of their first program. It does mean moving down the ranks, but if you can demonstrate that you know what you're doing now, a lower ranked school may be willing to take a chance.

Tatonnement
03-04-2008, 04:54 PM
Thank you very much for your answer, isrealecon - very much appreciated! It has made me rethink my plan of study.

(Of course, I am still hoping Tatonnement would also take a shot at answering these questions)

People here are providing good advice. I second this, with the slight caveat that courses do matter more than just grades. But in most upper level undergrad and almost all grad courses anything other than an A is not so good (i.e. the range is usually just A & B, with only a few C's). Of course this isn't universal, but that would be the expectation.

Zymm
03-04-2008, 05:27 PM
For someone coming from a non-economics background (thinking specifically math), what sort of undergraduate economics classes at what level are useful for transitioning to economics at the graduate level? I'm assuming at least intermediate micro/macro, and perhaps a couple of courses in the field of interest?

Tatonnement
03-04-2008, 06:01 PM
I have a few questions of my own. First, what do you see as the hot new areas in research? Which economists are the leaders? Should we be looking at applying to those schools or do you consider these fads or will the professors likely move by the time we get to thesis construction?

Don't worry about "hot" areas now. While there is some benefit to hitting the market with a paper in a hot area, these will likely change in 5 years. Focus on fundamentals and if you're really clever, try to think of something which may become hot.


Second, if we dream of being a professor at a top school but cannot get in a top phd program should we go to a much lesser ranked school this year or try again next year for the top school. It seems that climbing up the hill of schools is for all intents and purposes impossible.

Not impossible, but difficult. It does depend on how big a drop you mean -- there certainly are many examples of people from say a top 10-20 program placing at a top 5 one, but lower down the examples are less common. The most recent coming to my mind is a guy 2 years ago from Ohio State who placed at NYU (turning down Princeton and Penn). So the decision comes down to your subjective probability of success coupled with your rate of time preference. It's also likely the case that trying again in one year may not make much difference, as you'd be applying again in the fall. With two years there may be more of a difference, as you may have a chance to improve your profile with an MA or additional coursework or research experience, but clearly the costs are higher for this.

macroec08
03-06-2008, 10:11 AM
In my experience the TOEFL has little info -- almost everybody does very well -- while GRE verbal is a better (but still imperfect) indicator.

Than why do we have to take the TOEFL? To make us pay twice as much as an american student??!!

macroec08
03-06-2008, 10:55 AM
The answer to this is the same as the others about finances -- when we decide on admissions, we take no account of finances or outside funding. After we make our decisions, the chair meets with the Deans and they decide on financial packages and may make some minor adjustments -- for diversity reasons or whatever (and "legacy" cases may fit there too). To my knowledge only a couple of times has this mattered, and it was on the margin of moving someone we'd narrowly rejected onto the end of the waitlist.

I find very hard, if not impossible to believe that the progeny of the wealthy do not receive special and privileged treatment after their parents have made donations of millions of dollars to a university. After all, corruption is present everywhere, even in select universities, even in the Ivy League.

israelecon
03-06-2008, 11:02 AM
I find very hard, if not impossible to believe that the progeny of the wealthy do not receive special and privileged treatment after their parents have made donations of millions of dollars to a university. After all, corruption is present everywhere, even in select universities, even in the Ivy League.

i am pretty sure that if my parents donated a stadium or something like that to harvard I would be in there quite easily.

macroec08
03-06-2008, 12:26 PM
Students from Average Big State U (again absent having a good grad program) have a harder time, because the question is always, "If they're so good why did they go that school?"

I went to such a school simply because I was born in an underdeveloped country, a country wrapped by theft and corruption, a country where poverty was omnipresent. At that moment I did not even have a telephone line or a computer and an internet connection was out of question.

The only viable option was to attend a university in my country. So after much effort I managed to gain admission in a university that although is the best in this remote land is yet unknown to the rest of the academic world.

So, does this mean that my chance to receive high quality education must be terminated because of my unfortunate past? Does it mean that the right to education, a right that may seem so common to others, must be denied by the pretentious members of an Admissions Committee with distorted views?

I truly hope this answers the difficult question the Admissions Committees so consistently raise.

buckykatt
03-06-2008, 12:53 PM
For someone coming from a non-economics background (thinking specifically math), what sort of undergraduate economics classes at what level are useful for transitioning to economics at the graduate level? I'm assuming at least intermediate micro/macro, and perhaps a couple of courses in the field of interest?

Yes, intermediate micro and macro are usually solid courses. If there's a course in game theory, or maybe an IO course that includes some game theory, that's probably also worth taking. Courses in experimental econ and behavioral econ may also be closer to current research.

But a math major who happens to be at a school with a graduate program in economics should probably start looking there after they have the basics down.

wednesday
03-06-2008, 03:20 PM
i am pretty sure that if my parents donated a stadium or something like that to harvard I would be in there quite easily.

I've got a cousin who transferred to Harvard from a Claremont school after two years of undergrad. He's a talented-- and thoroughly obnoxious-- guy, but I think his getting in had less to do with his personal characteristics than it had to do with the number of digits on his father's trust fund.

asianeconomist
03-06-2008, 04:09 PM
I went to such a school simply because I was born in an underdeveloped country, a country wrapped by theft and corruption, a country where poverty was omnipresent. At that moment I did not even have a telephone line or a computer and an internet connection was out of question.

The only viable option was to attend a university in my country. So after much effort I managed to gain admission in a university that although is the best in this remote land is yet unknown to the rest of the academic world.

So, does this mean that my chance to receive high quality education must be terminated because of my unfortunate past? Does it mean that the right to education, a right that may seem so common to others, must be denied by the pretentious members of an Admissions Committee with distorted views?

I truly hope this answers the difficult question the Admissions Committees so consistently raise.

I can completely empathize with your situation. I also come from an underdeveloped country and have little access to top-notch education.

From my experience, you'll have to let go of one of your choice variables to maximize your objective function. In my case, it was time. I had to nearly complete a Masters in my country and work for 1-2 years, to get into a decent Masters in US. I am hoping that if I am really good enough, then I shall perform well in the 2nd Masters and consequently go on to a PhD. I feel quite depressed when I see people like israelecon or Internationalstudent08, who are relatively young and had access to great UGrad education. I am not in any way trying to diminish their qualifications, they surely are very capable people - but I am just ruing about the better opportunities that I could have had. But with all said and done, I am extremely satisfied with what the creator has bestowed me with and thank him continually for it.

Tatonnement
03-06-2008, 09:13 PM
This discussion has gotten off track. People asked about impressions -- I gave them based on my experience. This isn't a discussion of justice or "rights to education"(?) or morals or who's deserving of what... The fact is, if you came from a lesser known institution without a record of placing students in PhD programs, you will have a harder time. For many students, this means doing an MA. In terms of time, this is rather inefficient since there is quite a bit of overlap between MA and PhD coursework. But for sorting and signaling purposes, it can be very beneficial. Of course there are people who come straight from abroad to do PhDs, but in many cases this happens when there is a connection (say a faculty member who knows institutions and/or people in the particular country).

Also, I'm not sure that it matters, but by "Big State U" I was referring to US programs, not international ones.

macroec08
03-06-2008, 09:19 PM
Also, I'm not sure that it matters, but by "Big State U" I was referring to US programs, not international ones.

It is the same: low ranked, unknown universities.

macroec08
03-06-2008, 09:30 PM
This isn't a discussion of justice or "rights to education"

No, it isn't. It is about your perspective ("Why did he go to that school?") being fundamentally flawed.

Tatonnement
03-07-2008, 02:50 PM
No, it isn't. It is about your perspective ("Why did he go to that school?") being fundamentally flawed.

It's not "my" perspective -- I did not endorse the view, but reported questions that I have heard raised. Sorry you don't like it -- if you don't want to hear about how decisions are actually made, stop reading this forum (or at least this thread).

Behaviourist
03-07-2008, 04:25 PM
Guys, it is a simple fact of life that whence you come (academically, socially, economically etc) has a large impact on whither you go. The whole world works like old boys clubs; it is very hard to get into the best cliques unless you are from the best cliques. Just accept this unfair fact of life and optimize given the constraints.

iugi85
03-07-2008, 04:30 PM
Guys, it is a simple fact of life that whence you come (academically, socially, economically etc) has a large impact on whither you go. The whole world works like old boys clubs; it is very hard to get into the best cliques unless you are from the best cliques. Just accept this unfair fact of life and optimize given the constraints.

I second this! And I also thank Tatonnement to use some of his/her time to write on this forum: it is a great value added and he/she gives a lot of useful information.

econphilomath
03-07-2008, 05:27 PM
macroec08, I understand what you feel and where you are coming from. asianecon said it well before.

In your situation, you are an underdog. That is not the adcoms fault, you have to just suck it up. You are not the first nor the last person in this situation. You have the odds stacked against you and you have to do some extraordinary things to stick out of the bunch and signal to people like Tatonnment.

However, you will be rewarded with extraordinary satisfaction when you finally reach your goals. But you need to change the frustrated attitude for iron mettle motivation.

Good luck to you.

testudoan
03-07-2008, 05:36 PM
I second this! And I also thank Tatonnement to use some of his/her time to write on this forum: it is a great value added and he/she gives a lot of useful information.

I'm just wondering, do you guys really talk this way? I'm referring to how he used the term "value added." The next poster uses "signal." I've never heard the word "signal" used more than once as a verb by any person outside of Game Theory class and this forum. Do you guys really use "nontransitive preferences" in everyday conversation, too? I'm just going to go ahead and give you a list of ridiculous econ terms I've seen used here as normal:
value added
signal
reveal your preferences
nontransitive preferences
probably has an R^2 of .75
expenditure
maximize utility
optimize
incomplete information
imperfect information
That's all I can think of for now. I wonder if somebody will find a way to respond to me while using the term "duality approach."

jenizaro
03-07-2008, 05:39 PM
it is very hard to get into the best cliques unless you are from the best cliques. Just accept this unfair fact of life...

I totally understand it, though I must confess (silly me) I would accept it more easily coming from Penn, Bocconi or any other top school ;)

Seriously now, being in a similar position as macroec08, I totally empathize with him, but I try not to focus so much on the 'unfairness' of the situation. I just think there is ample opportunity to improve on the present system through means like the internet for instance (this forum is an example) and I hope adcoms will slowly realize this too. The other day I read in this very forum about Sloan faculty asking to the final list of candidates to write a commentary on recent research.

Also, what are we waiting to seriously raise the level of research centers throughout the developing world?!?!?!


...and optimize given the constraints.

Sometimes you need a more austrian, schumpeterian approach. I don't think 18th century slaves would be content with your advice for instance. Besides, if we were to always take this approach there would be no progress, improvement, innovation!

Antichron
03-07-2008, 05:42 PM
I'm just wondering, do you guys really talk this way? I'm referring to how he used the term "value added." The next poster uses "signal." I've never heard the word "signal" used more than once as a verb by any person outside of Game Theory class and this forum. Do you guys really use "nontransitive preferences" in everyday conversation, too?

Sadly, yes. Though here in Cambridge, we prefer the use of the word "endogenous" to most other economics terms. Also, theorists refer to everything as a "repeated game." We sure know how to party. :)

econphilomath
03-07-2008, 05:52 PM
I'm just wondering, do you guys really talk this way? I'm referring to how he used the term "value added." The next poster uses "signal." I've never heard the word "signal" used more than once as a verb by any person outside of Game Theory class and this forum. Do you guys really use "nontransitive preferences" in everyday conversation, too? I'm just going to go ahead and give you a list of ridiculous econ terms I've seen used here as normal:
value added
signal
reveal your preferences
nontransitive preferences
probably has an R^2 of .75
expenditure
maximize utility
optimize
incomplete information
imperfect information
That's all I can think of for now. I wonder if somebody will find a way to respond to me while using the term "duality approach."


I think you will find the response to your question here

PHD Comics: Definition of a geek (http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=400)

Golden Rule
03-07-2008, 06:05 PM
Ah, fun stuff, but let's get back on track with questions.

Here's one -- suppose you're deciding on a primary dissertation advisor. One is an-and-coming associate prof. who has built a pretty good name for herself and has been building some good connections and is just entering the prime of her career. The other is an established prof. who did great things 10 years ago, but hasn't produced a whole lot of quality research lately or maybe has been playing with policy work, but is still very well connected. All else equal, which one is going to help get you the better job??

reason
03-07-2008, 06:08 PM
I'm just wondering, do you guys really talk this way? [...]

Heheh, yeah i was just about to write that. It sounds forced and definitely not natural. But we better stay on topic, it would be a shame to waste this thread.

Behaviourist
03-07-2008, 06:15 PM
Words/phrases such as {optimize, value added, expenditure, incomplete/asymmetric information, signal} come up regularly in finance as practicioners are wont to jump on the latest academic jargon.

I agree people shouldn't sit idly by and accept injustices of the world. However, in this context I don't think there will ever be a lot of change. Especially in a GSB program, they may receive ~450 applications and only have 4-10 seats available. If the school does not interview it is even more difficult to find "top" candidates. Let's assume "incidence" of "top quality candidate" is fairly low among applicants (on the order of 1-5%). With small programs, the university can't afford to accidentally accept an less than top quality candidates; so they try to minimize their false positive rate. Thus they want a test of quality that has a very high specificity, but they don't care about sensitivity as much. Thus, they use harsh filtering criteria. They are maximizing utility given incomplete and imperfect information (they don't "know" everything about a candidate and even what they "know" could be wrong).

kuejai
03-07-2008, 06:23 PM
I have question also, does the school assign advisers to students? When will they do that?

AspiringEconomist
03-08-2008, 12:42 AM
Tatonnement,

What is your honest opinion of Cornell's graduate program?

ward
03-08-2008, 02:16 AM
I'm just wondering, do you guys really talk this way? I'm referring to how he used the term "value added." The next poster uses "signal." I've never heard the word "signal" used more than once as a verb by any person outside of Game Theory class and this forum. Do you guys really use "nontransitive preferences" in everyday conversation, too? I'm just going to go ahead and give you a list of ridiculous econ terms I've seen used here as normal:
value added
signal
reveal your preferences
nontransitive preferences
probably has an R^2 of .75
expenditure
maximize utility
optimize
incomplete information
imperfect information
That's all I can think of for now. I wonder if somebody will find a way to respond to me while using the term "duality approach."

hilarious

Olm
03-08-2008, 02:34 AM
I'm just wondering, do you guys really talk this way? I'm referring to how he used the term "value added." The next poster uses "signal." I've never heard the word "signal" used more than once as a verb by any person outside of Game Theory class and this forum. Do you guys really use "nontransitive preferences" in everyday conversation, too? I'm just going to go ahead and give you a list of ridiculous econ terms I've seen used here as normal:
value added
signal
reveal your preferences
nontransitive preferences
probably has an R^2 of .75
expenditure
maximize utility
optimize
incomplete information
imperfect information
That's all I can think of for now. I wonder if somebody will find a way to respond to me while using the term "duality approach."

Actually, where I went to school for my MA, we either used these terms jokingly ("going out with that girl would maximize my utility!") and sometimes seriously ("a good grade in this class is a strong signal to your competence on the job market"). If you decide to tredge down the path of the econ geek (i.e. the PhD), you had better get ready to make regular use of these words in your vocabulary!

Karina 07
03-08-2008, 04:19 AM
There's the old chestnut of "an economist is someone who invents a fancy word to describe things everyone already knows." There's also the "they like to make them extra-fancy sometimes because of their inferiority complex regarding physicists." But I digress....

AspiringEconomist
03-08-2008, 04:22 AM
You can't digress in this thread. It's pretty much impossible.

doubtful
03-08-2008, 04:25 AM
someone should make the synthesis of the most relevant 10-5 questions so that when tat. comes back, he/she can answer in a more efficient way.

Tatonnement
03-10-2008, 06:51 PM
Here's one -- suppose you're deciding on a primary dissertation advisor. One is an-and-coming associate prof. who has built a pretty good name for herself and has been building some good connections and is just entering the prime of her career. The other is an established prof. who did great things 10 years ago, but hasn't produced a whole lot of quality research lately or maybe has been playing with policy work, but is still very well connected. All else equal, which one is going to help get you the better job??

Tough tradeoff, but in terms of helping you get a job the older professor is likely better. This is especially the case if he/she has a track record of placing students well in the past, and so could potentially compare you to others in that league. Although there are exceptions, the students of the old guys often continue to do well, at least in the interview stage (which is really the prime input of the advisor in the job market). If Famous Professor X calls schools and says, "My student is great" that will tend to translate into a lot of interviews.

BUT...the younger professor may be better at advising your research given that she's better hooked into what's going on now. So you may do better work with her, which ultimately is what the market is trying to evaluate.

One strategy is to have co-advisors if that's possible (I've seen it...), or at the least get them both on your committee.

Tatonnement
03-10-2008, 06:54 PM
I have question also, does the school assign advisers to students? When will they do that?

For your dissertation, it's up to you to find somebody. Some schools do have assigned advisors prior to that stage, but these are less important. Typically by some point in your 3rd year (preferably sooner, say end of your 2nd year) you should approach a faculty member to discuss research ideas and see if they'd be willing to advise you.

Tatonnement
03-10-2008, 06:59 PM
Tatonnement,
What is your honest opinion of Cornell's graduate program?

Cornell is a decent program, about which frankly I don't know too much. I've heard grumblings that the department has had some problems, but don't know particulars. They have been reasonably good in theory (Blume & Easley), but Blume has been on leave and may be looking to move. Macro there has been very weak for some time as well. Their strengths have been more in applied fields, especially labor.