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Thread: Profile evaluation (Fall 2019) - Top school from an unknown one?

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    Profile evaluation (Fall 2019) - Top school from an unknown one?

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    Hello everybody! I've just found this forum and I'd love to share my profiles and hear comments on it to alleviate the mounting stress before the application. I'm coming from an unknown school, aiming for the top 20, hoping to get admitted since I am afraid that despite the high satisfaction I felt with our undergrad and master courses, I do not find the PhD program to be fulfilling. Here's my info:

    Undergrad: Economics, statistics and quantitative finance. Unknown school, but by far best in my country and probably in the region.
    GPA: 10/10 - best student in generation

    Two masters right after undergrad in parallel:
    1st master: Econometrics
    GPA: 10/10 - best in generation
    2nd master: Quantitative finance - in progress
    GPA: 9.66/10 - best in generation

    Standardized tests:
    TOEFL: 116
    GRE: 168Q/161V/4.5W (retaking in 10 days - hoping for 170Q, this was without serious preparation)

    Teaching experience: 3.5 years as TA (Introduction to Econometrics, Econometrics, Time series analysis and an LSE course - Elements of Econometrics E2020) (we have a cooperation with LSE)

    Research: One year RA on two research projects in applied micro. Two papers on conferences, one received an award for the best paper done by students (coauthor). Done one master thesis - developed a new test of specification for MIDAS, corrected some specifications and did extensive Monte Carlo to bolster my results. Hoped to apply this in my PhD research. Doing the second thesis at the moment.

    Letters of recommendation: Two from the best professors at my faculty (not that known outside of my country) and one from a famous professor. The first two should be really strong, and one of them is from my current PhD advisor.
    SoP: Detailed and focused on my research in my first master thesis. Explaining the delay in finishing the second master, since it was done in parallel and I had a huge teaching load - 285 hours taught per year, not counting in the 100 exams I have to proctor and 164 office hours (3 years for master's instead of normal 2)

    Some undergrad courses: Real analysis, Calculus, Multivariable calculus, Intro to Statistics, Theoretical Statistics, Econometrics, Time series analysis, Multivariate analysis, Financial economics, Operations research. A lot of them proof based. Apart from that standard Micro and Macro undergrad courses.

    Graduate courses: Panel data analysis, Cross section Econometrics, Applied Time series analysis, Time series analysis, Statistics, Mathematics, Stochastic calculus, Research methods in Economics

    Others courses: One summer school in econometrics and time series analysis, one in machine learning.

    Others info: A lot of programing practice on my finance courses in undergrad and masters in Wolfram Mathematica. Awards on the national level for talented students on several occasions. Chosen for the best economics student by the University.

    Interests: Theoretical econometrics and mixed frequency modelling, specifically. Willing to do anything that is related to econometrics.

    Planning to apply to:

    Harvard
    Berkley
    San Diego
    Wisconsin Madison
    Columbia
    Yale University
    Princeton University
    University of Chicago
    MIT
    Northwestern
    NYU
    Duke
    University of Pennsylvania
    Boston University
    Washington University of St Louis
    UCL
    LSE
    Oxford
    Cambridge
    Brown
    Stanford


    Comments: Afraid that being from an unknown school, my application will be simply overlooked by the admissions committees. Any suggestions are welcome! Thank you!
    Last edited by sargeras23; 11-14-2018 at 10:39 AM.

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    Re: Profile evaluation (Fall 2019) - Top school from an unknown one?

    An easy way to allay some of your concerns about your programme's reputation is to reach out to your school, and see what kind of PhD programmes top students from previous batches have gone on to. That'll provide you with at least some kind of benchmark to anchor your expectations.

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    Re: Profile evaluation (Fall 2019) - Top school from an unknown one?

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    An easy way to allay some of your concerns about your programme's reputation is to reach out to your school, and see what kind of PhD programmes top students from previous batches have gone on to. That'll provide you with at least some kind of benchmark to anchor your expectations.
    Agreed. My guess would be that surely the best students from the best school in an entire region (I’m assuming multiple countries?) have placed into top 5/10 programs in the past? (I’m also an applicant this year, so this is purely speculative)

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    Re: Profile evaluation (Fall 2019) - Top school from an unknown one?

    Thank you for the tip. Usually the best students go for our PhD program, which honestly has it's downsides. Some tend to go to the UK to LSE and Oxbridge, but we did have cases of students going to Columbia. Although, I must add, that was after a master's abroad, but still in Europe.
    The main issue is that nobody cares to try to apply to top schools without some influence from professors outside our institution, we tend to have a real inferiority problem sometimes. The same problem was bothering me.

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