Hello Urch,
I want to apply for a Ph.D. program this year, but I have a lot of concerns regarding my chances due to my low profile. At the beginning of this year, I finished my master degree, and I was very excited to get a Ph.D. But after I read several profiles evaluation topics on this forum, I'm concluding that it would be almost impossible to get into any Ph.D. in the US or Europe. But I really want to get some opinions to move forward (to apply or to give up).

My Profile:
Type of Undergrad: Public Federal University in South America in Business Administration. But, unfortunately, my university is almost unknown outside my country. In the positive side, the public federal universities are the best Unis in my country.
Test Scores (GMAT/GRE): Planning to take the GRE in July 2019.
Undergrad GPA: 3,12 (7,8/10 in my country).
Type of Grad: Master at the same university in Business Administration (Corporate Finance Track).
Graduate GPA: 3,4 (8,5/10 in my country).
Research Experience: My MSc in Business was research oriented. So I have almost seven research papers/working papers: A paper published in a peer review national accounting journal; A paper published in the most recognized national business congress. Two papers in the most recognized national accounting congress. Two papers in the best finance congress and one working papers that I have to finish. They are all in my SSRN.com.
I think I can submit two of them to an international journal at the end of this semester.
Teaching Experience: A semester as a teacher assistant (Corporate Finance class).
Work Experience: Internship in a public audit office.
Finance courses (Undergrad-level): Financial Management I and II, Financial Mathematics;
Finance courses (Grad-level): Strategic Planning and Control, Asset Valuation and Corporate Finance.
Econ Courses (Undergrad-level): Business Economics.
Math/Statistics (Undergrad-level): Introduction to calculus; Applied Quantitative and Qualitative Methods; Statistics for Business Research;
Math/ Statistics (Grad-level): Quantitative Research I and II (Those classes covered subjects such as exploratory analysis, univariate and multivariate hypothesis, cross-sections and panel data analysis).
I did a lot of accounting classes, but I donít see how these classes will help me in FinanceÖ
LOR: I have 3 letters of recommendation, but all of these letters are from professors in my country: A LOR from my master supervisor (he is a decent researcher in my country), other LOR from the professor who accepted me as a teacher assistant and another LOR from a professor who is the chief of my university applied social science department.

My question is: Since the GRE and the research papers are the only variables that I can improve right now, letís suppose I can get a good GRE (>90% for Q and V), what do you recommend?

  1. Should I apply for a Ph.D. or a MPhil? I know that I have a bad GPA, a poor econ-related number of classes, a bad work experience, and that Iím from an unknown university/ country. But I have a decent research background and my plan is to work with empirical corporate finance research Also, due to the exchange rate conversion, I canít apply for dozens of programs, so I have to choose carefully (10 or 12 programs) and I have to get financial aid too, since Iím not rich (all my savings are divided by 5 due to exchange rate conversion). I was thinking about the programs in Europe, because the majority of them offer financial aid: UC3M, HDHEC, ESSEC, IESE, ESSAD, HEC Lausanne (Lťman, Lugano or Zurich), St. Gallen, CBS, Mannheim, and Frankfurt, or in Canada: Alberta, Queens, Toronto or McGill. Iím accepting more suggestions since some of those universities are the ones that I find because they have professors who publish papers that I used to read.
  2. Should I give up? I really have good chances to enter in the best Ph.D. programs in my country, where I can get financial aid, an incentive to do a fellowship in some USA or UK university and apply for good job market positions here. I do not need to do the GRE/GMAT here since our universities usually put more weight in research experience and interviews.

So, I really need some advice to move forward. Because, if I donít have any chances to get a Ph.D. or MPhil, I will not expend my time (Iím studying 4-5 hours to take the GRE every day) and savings trying to do something impossible or something that I canít pay for.
Any help will be appreciated!