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Thread: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

  1. #1
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    Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

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    PROFILE:

    Type of Undergrad:
    Small, public liberal arts university
    Undergrad Major: Math/Economics double major
    Undergrad GPA: Cumulative: 2.88; Math Major GPA: 2.52; Econ Major GPA: 3.2

    Undergrad Math Courses: Calculus I,II,&III (all B's) • Introductory Proof-Writing Course (B) • Linear Algebra (C), Abstract Algebra (C) • Advanced Calculus/Analysis (C) • Intro to Numerical Analysis (B) • Discrete Math (C) • Mathematical Statistic I&II (B, D) • Game Theory (B)

    Undergrad Econ Courses: Intermediate Micro (B) • Intermediate Macro (C) • Introductory Research Course (A) • Mathematical Statistics (C) • Econometrics (B) • IO (B) • Political Economy (B) • Independent Studying/Research I&II (A, A) • Senior Seminar (A)


    Type of Grad: Private, research university (mid-sized to large)
    Degree: Master's in Financial Economics
    Grad GPA: 3.87
    GRE: 170 Quant / 156 Verbal / 4.0 AWA
    Gradute Econ Courses:
    Microeconomic Theory (A) • Econometrics I (A) • Econometrics II (B+) • Forecasting (A) • Optimization (A)
    Other Courses: Statistical Programming (A-) • Financial Theory (A)



    Letters of Recommendation: 2 Graduate Professors, 1 Undergraduate Professor

    1. Graduate Professor 1:
    • Department Chair and director of graduate program
    • Worked for him as RA
    • Got his Ph.D. from Top 30 school - recommended I apply to his alma mater
    • Had him for Econometrics I&II, and Capstone Seminar (A, B+, and A respectively)
    • I heard second-hand that he said I was the most talented student in my cohort

    2. Graduate Professor 2:
    • Co-authored papers with economists at a regional Federal Reserve Bank and WUSTL
    • Had him for two courses: Forecasting and Optimization (got A's in both)

    3. Undergraduate Professor:
    • Department Chair
    • Got his Ph.D. at Top 30 program
    • Had him for several courses including Intermediate Micro, IO, and Senior Seminar
    • He was my advisor for my undergraduate research which was published in an undergraduate journal
    • I heard second-hand that he said it was the best one he had ever had and was cutting-edge.


    Research and Work Experience:
    • Worked as Research Assistant for professor in graduate school
    • Worked as Economic Development Research Intern
    • Published undergraduate research (Undergraduate Economics Journal at Top 30 School)
    • Working as an Economist in private sector
    Last edited by jdl7851; 06-17-2019 at 11:30 PM.

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    Re: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

    Posting using the standard format will help covey important information to the other users on here, and also reduce the senseless back and forth. You're missing a lot of detail on the courses you've taken, as well as information on your letter writers.

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    Re: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

    How is this version?

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    Re: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

    It's a lot better in terms of the information it provides.

    I only have a few questions and comments.

    Does the letter writer who is recommending you to apply to his alma mater know of your poor math grades?

    What range of schools are you planning on applying to? As it stands, your undergraduate math grades, as well as your overall GPA, are terrible, and you'll get screened out in the first few stages of the application process. Your masters grades do little in covering up the bad grades in your undergrad since most courses in financial economics/applied economics masters appear to be applied in nature (i.e. on the same level as most intermediate/advanced undergraduate courses, in terms of content, but with a more applied flavour). Furthermore, they do nothing to allay any concerns adcoms might have about your mathematical ability to even complete the first year coursework.

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    Re: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

    I told him I did significantly worse in undergrad, but I’m not sure how much he knows. I spoke with another professor at my graduate school who went to the same Top 30 school and I told her essentially everything. She also suggested aiming for schools ranked between 27 and 50. My undergraduate professors suggest 50 to 70.

    How much does the published research help?

    Also, I took the Math Major Field Test from ETS and scored 85th percentile. Does that help at all? Do you think taking the Math Subject GRE would help? (This is taken by applicants for Math PhD programs)

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    Re: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

    For someone seriously considering a PhD, a couple of Cs constitute a bad undergrad, not a string of Cs. Unless your letter writers are heavily connected and are willing to sell you really hard, I don't think it is possible to realistically expect a top 50 admit. Outside of top 50, I can't say much as I am not as knowledgeable. The reason for this is that most schools employ a few cut-offs before actually looking at the application packages; namely using GRE scores and GPA.

    The published research does little in the way of allaying concerns of your ability to make it past the first year coursework, but it does demonstrate some aptitude for research, I suppose. Just don't expect much mileage out from it as research experience isn't the thing that is particularly lacking in your current profile.

    Others in the forum might want to chime in.

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    Re: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

    Do you think applying to a highly ranked Master’s program is more realistic and strategic?

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    Re: Economics Ph.D. Profile Evaluation

    As it stands, I think it's quite unlikely that you'll gain admission into a decent masters programme. Your best bet is to try to work your connections at where you did your masters, to try and get a full-time RA position. You can also apply to the ones on NBER, but again, realistically speaking, it's unlikely that you'll get in given your GPA. Once you've managed to secure a full-time RA position, you should take math classes on the side, as well as maybe even PhD Micro I, and get a good grade for that, to show that you're capable of handling the material.

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