Hi there,

Profile: International student
Undergraduate: Commerce - Not well known outside home country
Percentage - 75% - this is a decent score.
Cleared a very difficult famous accounting charter exam in India alongside my bachelors- only 11% of test takers clear in the 1st attempt - will this help prove academic ability in any way?
Masters - Economics - Top 5 Economics depts UK
Percentage - Distinction - Top 5% of the class.
Diploma in maths - Distinction - Top 5% of class
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Courses from MSc in economics and diploma in maths - courses from undergrad not very relevant to economics.

Economics topics - Intermediate micro (82), Intermediate Macro (72), Econometrics (65), Money and banking (64), MSc Macro (78), MSc Micro (82), MSc Metrics (78), Game Theory (79), Public Finance (78), Asset pricing (80). The MSc modules are somewhere between intermediate courses and graduates courses in terms of rigorousness.

Math topics covered - Partial Differential Equations (75), Real analysis I (74),
Real analysis II (72), Complex Analysis (75), Ordinary Differential Equations (78), Stochastic Processes (70), Linear Algebra (80), Optimisation (73).
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Research Experience - none

Potential References - One from the head of the department who taught me undergrad level metrics - he knows me well, did his PhD from top in Australia. Another from math professor where I did my Math diploma - knows me very well and have discussed a lot of stuff with him with regard to mathematical applications in economics. Another from my dissertation supervisor, an associate professor who did his phd from an ok uni in the UK but I managed to really impress him with my MSc dissertation. He gave me very good marks on my dissertation.

GRE - Q/V/AWA - 166/154/4.5
Research Interests: Macroeconomics, Time series

My goal is to apply to the top 20 Economics PhD programmes. I fee like I should either do a course that strengthens my math profile or my economics profile. Its really hard to get a full time RA opportunity in the UK so i thought i should decide to focus on coursework and grades. i am hoping that my dissertation supervisor's reference would be sufficient proof of research potential.

In the same university where i did my MSc in economics there is a course
MSc in applied math that students in that past have taken and were placed in top 20 phd in economics in the US. This course allows you to take advanced math courses and phd level economics modules from the econ department. This will also help me build better relations with some of my potential referees and perhaps obtain a stronger reference from one of the profs teaching phd students. As part of a dissertation i will again get to reach out to some profs who are well known and write a dissertation under them.

I could choose modules such as:
Measure Theory
Stochastic Analysis
Advanced Macroeconomic Analysis
Functional Analysis I
Advanced Econometric Theory
Introduction to Topology
Advanced Real Analysis

Another choice I have is to go for the LSE EME course where the coursework is perfect preparation for phd in the US but may not help me get a good reference as it is a short 9 month course without any dissertation element.

I am worried if my lack of RA experience is going to count against me.
Students from my program (Msc in economics) before me have gotten into Stanford, NYU, UofT, UBC, UCLA, Minnesota.

Which course should i choose to maximise my chances of top 20 phd? Is there something else i can do to improve my chances of getting into the top 20 US Econ programmes?

Please guide me....

Thanks a lot in advance.....