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Thread: RA jobs

  1. #1
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    RA jobs

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    Hey everyone! I was wondering about how competitive RA jobs not at the NBER and the Fed branches are; does anyone have some information on things like GPA cutoffs or how many people are applying for these jobs? Thanks.

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    Re: RA jobs

    You can search a bit on this forum but generally, from what I recall, GPA cutoff tend to be around 3.5 or thereabout, to help sieve through the number of applicants. Once you've survived the first cut, per se, it's all about your communication skills, and more importantly, your stata and coding skills.

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    Re: RA jobs

    I've worked at both Fed and NBER, and was involved in our recruiting of new RAs. I'll second tutonic that 3.5 tends to be a rough cutoff, but we certainly looked at applications from folks with slightly lower (3.4, maybe 3.3) GPAs, especially if there seemed to be solid research experience and the transcript wasn't awful in especially relevant courses.

    Fed is less competitive than NBER generally, which I think matches with NBER being a stronger value if you want to continue on to grad school. Our group at NBER was hiring 2 people and received something like 120+ applications. We screened to about 30 to receive a coding task evaluation. From there, maybe 5 got interviews. (Bear in mind these numbers may seem a bit less strict if you consider that a few groups at NBER hired at the same time, and there was likely a lot of application overlap.) I have less of a sense of the numbers at Fed, but am quite confident it's an easier gig to land.

    Also as tutonic says, once you pass the first screen, you want to showcase your coding especially, as well as your general aptitude for research and critical thinking. If you get a coding task, do not take it lightly; it will likely be the deciding factor from that point on. If you get an interview, be sure interviewers know of any research assistance work you've done or your own research projects for classes etc. Show them you can work with data and you can think about research intelligently and explain yourself coherently.

    I will say, while there were tons of applicants to NBER from highly-regarded undergrad schools with GPA's of 3.6+ or 3.7+, the coding tasks were generally somewhat underwhelming. I point this out to emphasize again that you want to try to stand out at this point. If you are worried about your GPA (I'm inferring from the original question), rest assured that it will be largely forgotten if you can write immaculate code and present thoughtful results in later stages of the process, and those with impressive GPAs are not always submitting the quality you might expect.

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