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breakz
02-20-2008, 04:16 AM
Hey all, new poster here. Wanted to discuss my situation a bit, then see what everyone thinks. I looked over the applicants' profiles, and wanted to get an idea of where I COULD stand.

I attended a "top public research university." Graduated about a year ago...and I've been stuck since. Here are my numbers.

Numbers: 3.5 overall GPA, 3.9 Econ, 3.0 Math
Courses: Intro Macro and Micro, Public Economics, Public Choice, Calc up to III, Diff EQ, Linear Algebra, Public Utilities Econ, Intro to Stat; took Game Theory, Econometrics over summer
Research: almost none, aside from some UG class papers and one co-authored paper during the summer
GRE: 770/570, no analytical, taken on about 2 weeks' practice
Interests: macro, including financial mkts; labor, behavioral

GOALS: PhD at best possible school, tenure, more focus on teaching, maybe a policy job with the gov't

So right, I'm stuck in a poisition where I can't really develop my research experience further. An econ program this summer might help my resume overall, but I'm unsure as to where I should turn for the next year or two. Located near a private university with an unremarkable dept.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

sonicskat
02-20-2008, 04:22 AM
The federal reserve system hires "research associates" which sounds perfect for your situation. In most cases, you get some research experience, they will pay for you to buff up on classes, and are designed for you to apply to a grad school after 1 or two years.

I also know that government agencies would be good as well. Of course BEA would be great, but I also know that the census bureau could be a good option. I have a friend that got hired by them (decent wage) as a statistician even though he never had a calc based stats course. They will also pay for you to further your education.

Lots of these research institutions have these opportunities, its just a matter of being able to get one of them.

zappa24
02-20-2008, 04:45 AM
First thing, is that you haven't received the Analytical score yet? I am assuming the answer is yes, but I'm doing enough assuming in economics. Also, have you had the intermediate levels of Macro and Micro, yet?

The big thing that stands out to me is the Math GPA. I think a high grade in Real Analysis/Advanced Calculus would help quite a bit to counteract the 3.0. A mathematical statistics course could also be a plus if you're going to spend some time improving the application. Don't consider retaking the GRE unless you are sure with practice that you can get at least 790.

As for research, few students coming directly from their undergraduate institution are going to have any significant research experience. Sure, you are not going to have the most research of the applicants in your application pool, but you also won't have the least (not by a long shot.) I've heard several theories on the positives of research when it comes to applications (huge plus if you have it), along with the neutrals (no big deal if you don't have it), and even a few negatives (don't want to retrain you if you are heavy into undergrad research.)

breakz
02-20-2008, 08:18 AM
Whoops. Everyone, read "Intro" as "Intermediate."

Thanks for the advice so far, guys. I applied to RA positions, but those are competitive (and not looking good for me). I'll be looking at CBO and BEA as well.

zappa24: the math GPA stems from UG stupidity, not lack of skill. I'm great with math (according to more than a few professors), but I was a bored engineer when I took those courses. If I go with a GRE retake, it would be more for a higher V than higher M.

Any other suggestions?

Valhalla
02-20-2008, 11:26 AM
Hi,

Well I am actually not sure what kind of suggestions you are looking for. Are you looking for "advice" in the area: "Where should I apply and where do I have a chance?".

I assume this is the case. So my suggestion is the following (although I guess this attitude is not very popular in this forum): Don't expect too much from suggestions given by grad students or even by applicants. This forum seems to be somehow a place where nervous applicants meet and provide some "free of charge - waiting period therapy" for each other these days and where people gather "beyond the gradcafe information" concerning profiles of admitted students.

Go and talk to your professors who know you well and also have experience about your chances and where you might have a good shot. As you've mentioned that you attended top university they can give you probably valuable advice and their hopefully strong LOR's mixed with some pedigree and your decent GRE scores will make up your poor UG math GPA and also not extremely amazing cumulative UG GPA.

breakz
02-20-2008, 04:05 PM
Thanks, Valhalla. I'm considering a 2-year RA-like position with the gov't to beef up my research experience, and take some additional math courses/grad-level econ courses in the meantime (hooray tuition reimbursement).

Knowing this, what range of schools should I be considering? 20-60? Top 30?

zappa24
02-20-2008, 04:11 PM
Whoops. Everyone, read "Intro" as "Intermediate."

Thanks for the advice so far, guys. I applied to RA positions, but those are competitive (and not looking good for me). I'll be looking at CBO and BEA as well.

zappa24: the math GPA stems from UG stupidity, not lack of skill. I'm great with math (according to more than a few professors), but I was a bored engineer when I took those courses. If I go with a GRE retake, it would be more for a higher V than higher M.

Even more of a reason to take Real Analysis, then. Signal to admins that that Math GPA is indeed a fluke with an easy A.

wcd123
02-20-2008, 04:19 PM
Perhaps try to contact one of your old professors who is active in research in one of your fields of interest. I'd imagine that he/she might be able to provide some guidance to a potential full time RA position at a university. The advantage to this is that you can simulataneously take classes (aka real analysis) to alleviate any lingering questions about your math background.

breakz
02-20-2008, 09:28 PM
Thanks, wcd123 and zappa.

How much of a difference does one of these 2-year analyst/RA jobs make in my application's appeal?