Type of Undergrad: Top 5 US undergrad
Undergrad GPA: 3.64 (economics), 3.4 (cumulative)
GRE: Taking very soon, with some more work should be able to get Q167+ and V162+. Aiming for perfect quant score of course.

Post-bacc @ Stanford: Real Analysis (A), Differential Equations for Engineers (B+)
Senior thesis: (A) in both semesters
Junior research: (A) in both semesters
Undergrad math: Probability & Stochastic Systems (P), Linear Algebra (B+), Calc 3 (B-)
Other undergrad economics: Analysis of Big Data (A), Political Economy (A-), Market Design and Auction Theory (A), Internet Economics (B), The 2008 Recession (B+), Public Finance (B), Mathematical Econometrics (B), Health Economics (B+), Macroeconomics (B), Mathematical Microeconomics (B), Statistics for Economics (B)

Research Experience:
- Junior paper under macroeconomist applied quant financial econometric models in a novel domain. (very applied quant)
- Senior thesis under top game theorist analyzed biases in an auction market (empirical, not so quant).
- Worked as a research assistant under a top political scientist - contributed exercises to statistics textbook.
- Current job (2-3 years) out of undergrad is all quant econometric research, but private sector and no public-facing work. I will write about this in my statement of purpose but it doesn't seem SOP is so influential.

1. My junior paper professor told me earlier this year he would write me his best LORs. He's sent people to top 5 programs. However, he said he usually only has time to write LORs for ~10 schools so I have to pick carefully.
2. Asked my senior thesis professor if he'd write me a strong rec. He said he would, but I'm not as sure it'll be as strong.
3. For my third, I'm thinking about asking my current manager who leads our team of statisticians / computer scientists / economists at a private firm. But my manager is from computer science so I'm not sure that would be well regarded for economics programs. I could ask some of the economists on my team for a rec / contribute to the letter, but they're new PhDs so not sure if that's even helpful. The other alternative is to ask my political scientist professor (very famous in the field) but it's been a while and my work was more textbook/teaching oriented than breaking novel research ground.

I had a rough undergrad until junior/senior year, then realized too late I wanted to go for academic economics and post-grad managed to get the critical A in real analysis from a good school. Grades have trended up. However, my math coursework is still very patchy, and I've been out of school for 2-3 years (albeit in a research position), so I'm thinking it may be best to cast a wide net in terms of schools this cycle. Do you think I have any chance at breaking a top 20, 30, even 50 program? I'm open to doing a master's first and plan to apply to a mix of PhD & master's programs.

Potential schools (mix of PhD and Master's programs):
PhD: MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, U Mich, USCD
Europe - LSE (both EME and 2-yr econ), BGSE, CEMFI, UCL
Canada - UBC