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Thread: Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

  1. #1
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    Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

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    Degree: B.S. Economics, B.S. Mathematics from large research university (in progress)
    GPA: 3.5 overall, 4.0econ, 3.9math
    GRE: 170Q/161V
    Math courses: Standard calc series (through multivariate), additional calculus course (ch 15/16 in early transcendentals), proofs class, linear algebra, ODE, into to real analysis 1 and 2, intro to modern algebra 1 2 3, linear optimization, nonlinear optimization, fundamentals of real analysis 1,2,3, topology I
    Econ courses: intermediate macro/micro, advanced macro/micro, international macroeconomics, econometrics theory I (basically learning lots of different regressions, both econometrics classes use R), econometrics theory II (structural modeling, regression trees, machine learning, more regressions), financial economics, labor market economics
    LOR: 2 economics professors, and my math professor for most of my analysis courses

    I'm interested in development economics (and want to do my research either in development, or microeconomic theory), however I want to get as broad of an education as possible - I don't want to leave the Phd program as an expert in one field but not prepared to engage with everything else. My long-term interests are in microeconomic/macroeconomic theory first (I think that they are the most important to change, and my theoretical interests in development are philosophical right now. But I agree with Sen that development is and always has been the goal of the economics enterprise, and so I see myself as helping to create the theoretic groundwork for better modeling schema, and then to accompany that with a more Baconian policymaking schema, and then coming back into development economics proper by assisting in the institutions thereof).

    I have a boring and average (other than being good at math) application, but any ideas on where I should apply to, given my interests and the constraints of my application? I won't apply till next year, so I don't actually have these LOR yet, but I don't see why i wouldn't be able to get them.

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    Re: Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

    I suggest you apply to a long-term RA position at J-PAL this year, or equivalent, if you don't have other plans. This is usually a huge boost for your application chances, and especially for public university students. Your research intuition also seems a bit raw (and idealistic).

    Without any additional RA experience, I think your best funded offer will end up in the range of #10-#35. This may or may not be consistent with your goals.

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    Re: Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    I suggest you apply to a long-term RA position at J-PAL this year, or equivalent, if you don't have other plans. This is usually a huge boost for your application chances, and especially for public university students. Your research intuition also seems a bit raw (and idealistic).

    Without any additional RA experience, I think your best funded offer will end up in the range of #10-#35. This may or may not be consistent with your goals.
    This is perfect advice. Your profile is actually sort of unique in that its weakness is directly identifiable and completely within your control at this point. With 1-2 years in a high-level full-time RA position (you should be a good candidate for these), you could likely crack the top 10.

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    Re: Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

    Thank you for the posts.. but I want to follow up because I've been reading this forum and I have not seen a single negative comment. I'm not sure how honest you guys are being with me, or if you just want me to feel good. I would rather know what you really think than feel good, so that I can plan for the future more effectively.

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    Re: Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

    Quote Originally Posted by watch View Post
    Thank you for the posts.. but I want to follow up because I've been reading this forum and I have not seen a single negative comment. I'm not sure how honest you guys are being with me, or if you just want me to feel good. I would rather know what you really think than feel good, so that I can plan for the future more effectively.
    Really? Then you ought to keep reading.

    But in addition, a lot of people who have thought deeply enough about a PhD in economics to make it to this forum already have pretty well calibrated their expectations. Most people are targeting a reasonable range of schools when they decide to post here for advice by selection. The ones that aren't get a little nudge in the right direction. Occasionally some posters have no idea what's going on, and they are set straight pretty quickly.

    In general, members on this forum with some experience are not trying to make people feel good. We've applied, we've spent loads of time and money, and we know what a trying and expensive endeavor this is. If you were overshooting, I'd tell you, and I'm pretty sure almost everyone else here would too. Within the last couple of weeks I recall specifically telling a prospective applicant they needed to add more schools further down their list or they were risking getting shut out. If I just wanted to make people feel good, I'd stand around campus with one of those "free hugs" signs.

    In your case, you've really got a pretty good looking profile with a couple of caveats--one big and one small. The small one is that your overall GPA is a bit low for a successful T20 applicant, but your stellar econ and math grades should really smooth that over quite nicely. The large one is that you seem to have little research experience to speak of (unless you do and just omitted it for some reason).

    The lack of research experience means that your range of outcomes is quite large right now. I could see you getting into a borderline T10 school if one of your letter writers pulled strings for you, and I could also see you not getting much outside of the 25-40 range. On the other hand, if you spent 1-2 years at a good full-time RA gig, I am highly confident you'd get a few T20 offers and feel there's a decent chance you'd get some T10 offers. My analyses are only ever objective--do with it what you will.

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    Re: Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

    Thank you for the updated response. What are the top RA "gigs"? I only know English.

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    Re: Profile evaluation: Econ Phd

    The top gig for you would be J-PAL (what chateauheart mentioned) since it ties in perfectly with your area of interests.

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