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Thread: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak coursework

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    [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak coursework

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    UG Top20 Math (3.9)+Science (3.6), overall 3.7 due to not studying -- partying too much during UG. No econ courses. I did well in UG real analysis and stochastic process, but I did not take any graduate level Math courses.

    Master Top 20 management, 3.7 due to not studying -- I am working and doing research at the same time. Some Econ courses but at the B-school level only. My work is policy related; not a top place/big brand.

    GRE: 160/167/4.5. I did not study for it because I got research to do. I can try to invest several weeks to score a 169 on V/Q but I guess it is unnecessary.

    Math Course: about 20 undergraduate level math courses, including calculus series, analysis series, linear algebra, algebra series, ODE, PDE, geometry, probability, statistics, stochastic process, math-fin. Mostly A with few A- and one B, 3.9 subject GPA

    Econ Courses: Business school econ courses, not PhD level, mostly A, one B.

    Research: One top field with revision requested. Two top fields submitted with AE/Editor coauthoring. One other working paper that could be tried to submitted to top 5. My research is between consumer theory, IO, policy, and a bit finance-related.
    Presented in top Economics/Business conferences (like AEA AFA) for five times.

    Letter writers:
    Currently one strong econ letter from a senior in top 5 (coauthor, regular meeting);
    one b-school letter from a senior top 5 (coauthor, met for several times);
    one strong stats/math letter from a senior in top 5 (coauthor, regular meeting last year);
    one letter from an econ AP (non star) from top 20 (taking courses only);
    one letter from an econ AP (non star) from top 20 (coauthor).
    May invest more time to find better letter writers.

    # of school to be applied: Honestly I don't know. If the number would not cause a problem for letter writers, then I would try to apply to as many schools as I can.

    Dream Schools: US top 5 or UK top 2

    As a nontraditional applicant, I know that in top places UGs with perfect grade and a good thesis are preferred. So what shall I prioritize? Here is my list:

    1. Revising papers
    2. Submit to Top 5
    3. Get another stronger letter in Econ/B-school
    4. Write an impressive SOP to explain my experience, non-traditional background, and my poor grades
    5. Improve GRE

    Does it sound reasonable? Thank you in advance for your advices!
    Last edited by happyecon; 10-06-2019 at 12:13 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    You may want to post using the standard template for profile evaluations, with relevant Math and Econ courses and their respective grades.

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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    This doesn't make any sense.

    If you have an R&R at a top field journal and more papers submitted and have co-authored with a couple of different senior faculty at top 5 departments who are going to write you strong letters, then you're a shoo-in at top five schools. Just ask your senior econ/b-school coauthors where you're going to go.

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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    Of course I asked they basically says something generic that I got chances and I need to apply to any programs that interests me. They got very tight schedule such that I don't think scheduling a 30-60 min meeting only for discussing my application is a good idea, provided that we need more time for finishing up the papers. They are happy to talk about research but I am not sure if they are willing to talk about application stuffs as when we started our research, I demonstrated a genuine research interests without mentioning that I want to do a PhD afterward. I am kind of afraid of that if I talk about the application too much, they might think that the only reason that I am doing research is to get a position.

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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    Math Course: about 20 undergraduate level math courses, including calculus series, analysis series, linear algebra, algebra series, ODE, PDE, geometry, probability, statistics, stochastic process, math-fin. Mostly A with few A- and one B, 3.9 subject GPA

    Econ Courses: Business school econ courses, not PhD level, mostly A, A-, one B. One micro-theory (business school level), five applied economics courses, and about 10 finance and management courses with application focus.

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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    None of this makes sense. You say you have a senior faculty member at a top 5 who is a coauthor who is writing you a strong letter, and they just say something generic. Either they're telling you they aren't writing you a strong letter or something else is screwy with the entire story.

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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    Thanks for you comments. I guess that you are either a faculty member or an advanced PhD researcher. Last year, one top 20 tenured faculty member told me almost the same thing you told me: if I got a top-field in early 20s, then it is almost guaranteed that I would get in 02138/9. Some other professors and advanced students also told me the same thing. However, his department rejected my application last year...

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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    At the top departments, admission rates are something like five percent. So no one is guaranteed admission at any one program. But if you applied to a reasonable number of top programs and didn't get in, then your letters don't say what you think they say.

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    Re: [Profile Evaluation] Help needed for a non-traditional applicant with weak course

    Like I said in the business school thread you opened, I insist you just pose this question to your letter-writers:

    "Would you be comfortable if I only applied to top 10 programs in economics and/or [business school discipline]"?

    This is a highly unusual profile and I don't know what to believe yet. But if everything posted is accurate, then the answer from the faculty should be a "yes" and that'll answer all your questions about your range.

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