Type of Undergrad: State School, Ranked Top 50 on U.S. News, top 25 Math US News
Majors: BA Economics, BA Math, BA Computer Science
Undergrad GPA: Overall 3.98 | Economics: 4.00 | Math: 4.00
GRE: Haven't taken yet
Calc 1 - 4, Linear Algebra, Probability Theory, Statistical Theory, Stochastic Processes, Real Analysis, Advanced Real Analysis, Quantum Theory
Intermediate Micro/Macro/Metrics, Advanced Micro Theory, Banking Field course, Senior Thesis seminar, PhD Cross Sectional Metrics, PhD Times Series Metrics, PhD Labor Economics Field Course
1) Fed RA (intern) for one year, wasn't able to coauthor but was cited as an RA on a working paper
2) Spent a year on engineering research using stat/machine learning (May be not relevant)
3) Senior thesis
Letters of Rec:
1) Fed Economist who is very experienced and well regarded but PhD is in Finance (not sure if that matters)
2) Labor Economics PhD course instructor, very highly ranked economist but only took one course with this Economist
3) Thesis Adviser: From top 10 program
Research Interests: Labor Economics
SOP: Not written yet
Other: Internship at top US Wall Street Bank
1) Where would I get in now?
2) How is my profile for pre-doc fellowships?
3) What is the biggest thing I can improve on in my senior year?
You seem to have strengths in a field like Financial Economics with your experience. Do you have any secondary or complementary interests in Economics other than in just Labor Economics? Was field is your topic for your senior thesis? Maybe you can branch out into broader domains of Economics through your senior year opportunities? I think that might help to strengthen your application for a PhD in Economics. What are you looking to do after your PhD in Economics?
As always, the surest way to know for certain is to see what kind of schools students in the past got into. You should be able to confidently expect more or less the same range of schools, unless you're an exception (valedictorian) since everyone eyeing grad school has good grades.
Also, one possible problem with your profile is your second letter. It's a field course, so I highly doubt there was sufficient interaction over an extended period of time for you to make a solid impression on him. Therefore, your second letter might be a little problematic.
Lastly, you should always approach your letter writers to get their opinion on which schools they suggest you apply to (provided they are still in touch with the process through having sent others in the past). There are two benefits to doing this. First, you'll get a slightly more grounded suggestion of where to apply to. Secondly, and possibly more importantly, if your letter writers are connected, you'll know where you ought to target your applications to, to benefit the most from their connections.
To add, labour is a sufficiently broad field of interest, though micro and macro labour are, in my opinion, very different things, so you ought to see which one piques your interest and target schools accordingly. If your interests are in the latter, just note that some schools, on their faculty webpage, classify macro labour (search and matching) as macro, and less labour, which is usually subsumed under applied microeconomics.
Thank you dogbones and tutonic for the responses!
First, some responses to questions asked
- For secondary and complimentary interests, I also am interested in macro, consumer finance and more public policy related questions.
- My senior thesis topic isn't finalized but will be in an area related to labor, public policy and taxation
- After a PhD I am open to many things like staying in academia or returning to the Fed. I would most enjoy entering a think-tank at some point or working in a more policy oriented area of government at some point in my career.
- I am interested in both the micro and macro side of labor, but, I favor the micro side slightly
Now, some follow ups
- I know that some schools have different admissions processes for business economics or financial economics, do you think I would have an advantage in those admissions processes?
- Students in the past have gone on to many different schools in the past including some breaking into the top 5
- Thanks for the heads up with the second letter I'll try to do some work with this professor or find a new letter writer
- I will definitely ask my letter writers for their opinion of where I should target once the semester starts back up.
- Also, I have committed to working at a bank in an economic research role after graduation. I'll be working with PhD economists and doing research similar to academia but more brief. Will this have a positive impact on my profile or just be neutral for adcoms?
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