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Thread: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potential

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    Last edited by Hamlet; 08-29-2019 at 09:18 AM.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potenti

    The GRE Math test will be a complete waste of time. It's something you actually need to prepare for, if you want to get a good grade, unlike the quant section of the GRE; time that's better spent retaking important math courses at wherever you'll be doing your RA work.

    Realistically, your GPA will get you screened out at all the places you've mentioned. The only way to avoid this is to get solid letters from well-connected faculty members who will be willing to reach out to the right people during your application cycle. This means you'll need to really excel and make an impression during your RA stint this coming year, since these people are privy to a wider information set on your abilities as a potential grad student than what your current application package conveys.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potenti

    Following on to tutonic's comments, the letter from your pre-doc will be very important. And it is unlikely that much can be said only a few months into the pre-doc. Consider whether you should put off applications for a year.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potenti

    What's the general cutoff GPA for screening?

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potenti

    Your school list is too top heavy and too econ heavy. Your entire list is composed of schools that are (arguably) top 10's, and even someone with a near perfect profile should apply to at least a few safeties in the top 20, and your profile is far from perfect. Your first interest, asset pricing is a better fit for a finance department and outside of a few econ departments in the top 10 with strong finance groups, someone interested in asset pricing is generally better off at a "lower ranked" finance PhD program than a "higher ranked" econ PhD program. Your next three areas of interest could be explored via either an econ PhD or a finance PhD program and for econometrics is somewhat dependent on which sub fields you are interested in.

    Also, is your pre doc at a B-school or an econ department? If it is at a B-school, you will have a better chance with finance applications.
    Last edited by zshfryoh1; 08-27-2019 at 03:13 AM.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potenti

    Quote Originally Posted by nonmarketvalue View Post
    What's the general cutoff GPA for screening?
    I believe 3.0 is probably the lowest you can have, barring extreme circumstances. A 3.5 seems to be fairly expected, with most successful applicants in 3.7+ for the top programs. Most of the schools will still look at your application if you're under though, just when they compare the candidate pool I'd imagine the low GPA is a bit of an asterisk next to your name. That's why I'm going the extra mile to make up those math grades and try to do well on the GRE Math Subject Test. Even if they don't consider the subject test much for admissions, it'll still be helpful preparation for graduate school, research, and beyond.

    Thanks for the responses so far everyone. The school list is still very preliminary, and I'll adjust as the process continues.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potenti

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamlet View Post
    I believe 3.0 is probably the lowest you can have, barring extreme circumstances. A 3.5 seems to be fairly expected, with most successful applicants in 3.7+ for the top programs. Most of the schools will still look at your application if you're under though, just when they compare the candidate pool I'd imagine the low GPA is a bit of an asterisk next to your name. That's why I'm going the extra mile to make up those math grades and try to do well on the GRE Math Subject Test. Even if they don't consider the subject test much for admissions, it'll still be helpful preparation for graduate school, research, and beyond.

    Thanks for the responses so far everyone. The school list is still very preliminary, and I'll adjust as the process continues.
    To the best of my knowledge, the GPA requirement - and GRE scores - serves as a mechanism to thin the pile of feasible applicants, before adcoms even begin to look at packages. Thus, if your GPA falls below the threshold set internally by the department, your application package will not even be looked at, barring special circumstance (your letter writer personally calls up people on the adcom). This similar vein of reasoning underscores why the general advice is to get as high a score in the quant section of the GRE as possible; it's not an indicator of how smart you are, but a higher GRE quant score increases the probability that your full package will at least get looked at.

    Furthermore, I don't recommend taking Graduate Real Analysis, when your math GPA leaves much to be desired. A bad or mediocre grade in the course will further perpetuate the notion that you can't do math. You might find it more beneficial to re-take the key math classes, and get As in them, to demonstrate that you've remedied any deficiencies that you previously had. Key courses refer to things like Calc 4, Real Analysis, Linear Alegbra and Probability Theory.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD Econ/Finance with weaker grades but high research potenti

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    Last edited by Hamlet; 08-29-2019 at 08:49 PM.

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