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Thread: Can doing well in a good master program cover up for poor math grades?

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    Can doing well in a good master program cover up for poor math grades?

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    Hi people. I知 new here and I知 hoping to seek some advice about my situation.

    I did my undergraduate from an Asian university majoring in economics and mathematics. My economics grades were pretty good. All in all, I did more than 20 econ courses that include the core micro, macro and metrics (3 sequences for each), IO, game theory, monetary econ, math econ, international econ, etc... and I had 2 B+ but the rest are all A or A+.

    However, my math grades are far from ideal: linear algebra I (B), linear algebra II(A-), calculus (B+), multivariate calculus(B+), real analysis I (A), real analysis II (A-), complex analysis (A-), probability (A), math stats (A), optimization (B-), ODE (B-), math modelling (B). So basically, i知 like a B student in math. (My grades in other non-related subjects are a combination of A's and B's.)

    I have recently obtained a master in economics from a top European school and was in the top 5 graduates of the cohort. I am hoping to enter a top US econ phd program but my feel is that people who get accepted into the top 10s, especially MIT and Harvard, practically have flawless profiles.

    So my question is how far can my good performance in my master degree go in covering up for the bad grades in my undergraduate math? Will I stand a chance for Harvard and MIT, or schools like Stanford, Yale or Northwestern, or the lower end schools in the top 20s, or do I have to look completely outside the top 20s?

    Probably just to add, my GRE score is 780Q, 600V and 5.0A. My research experience involves only an undergraduate thesis and a master thesis. As for LOR, I have 3 (one from my undergrad thesis supervisor, one from my master thesis supervisor and one from my advanced econometric lecturer whom i top his course) and all 3 seem quite enthusiastic about writing it for me and so, I suppose the letters are going to be quite decent (but we値l never know!)

    Would anyone mind telling me his or her views about my case? Thanks very much in advance!!

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    You won't benefit from an additional master's program. Just go for a PhD. You should be able to find some school in the top 20 that will accept you (and hopefully fund you).
    On the long road to dissertation

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    you got an A and A- in RA. if you had to pick only 2 classes to ace, those would be the classes you should pick. you might crack the top ten. but i agree with above poster; you definitely have a good shot at the top 20.

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    to emphasize, when i said might it don't think you have a great shot by any means. but it's not impossible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The MAN View Post
    You won't benefit from an additional master's program. Just go for a PhD. You should be able to find some school in the top 20 that will accept you (and hopefully fund you).
    Thanks for the comment!

    Actually, I have already completed my master in a top european program and was one of the top student of the cohort. My concern/ question is, will this good performance in the master program help cover up for my poor math grades?

    Essentially, I'm seeking advice to the tier of school that I should apply to. Anyone please???

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    Your grades in math are good enough that the marginal benefit you would gain from doing another masters would be outweighed by the marginal cost. Unless you are gunning for MIT or Harvard. In which case, the master's in math might help slightly. If you just want to go to a good school in the top 20, your profile (and math grades) are good enough.
    On the long road to dissertation

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    I think he's asking what schools he should apply to, given his grades were bad (although they aren't terrible!) but he did well in his masters

    I don't think he's asking whether or not he should do another masters to cover up for his past grades in math.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crabchef View Post
    I think he's asking what schools he should apply to, given his grades were bad (although they aren't terrible!) but he did well in his masters

    I don't think he's asking whether or not he should do another masters to cover up for his past grades in math.
    That's EXACTLY what I was asking for. (Thanks crabchef!)
    I'm thinking of applying to these schools: MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Stanford GBS, Yale, Chicago, Northwestern, Columbia, Berkeley, NYU, UPenn (I haven't added any safety at all). Am I aiming too high? Any comments??

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    Very, very few people ever have a "sure" shot at the top 10. If I were you I would definitely add some 10-30 schools into the mix. Given your profile they may not even really be "safeties"; rather, they might be your "reasonably likely but not 100% assured" schools. It's very risky only applying to schools where you have a marginal chance of being admitted - what will you do if none gives you an offer? Being at the top of your MA class is certainly a strong signal, and it might be enough to get you into the top 10, but nothing is sure. Also, keep in mind Stanford GSB is a micro theory powerhouse, which means they look for people with exceptional mathematical ability. But of course that shouldn't deter you from applying if it is your dream school.

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    I think most of the guys are giving good advice on this thread. Basically, apply to the top schools that you want but you should also apply to a few safeties. You have a shot at a top program like everyone else with a strong profile, but like everyone, you are not assured a spot. I'd apply to 3-4 top 30 and maybe even 1 or 2 top 50

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