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Thread: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

  1. #11
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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Sponsored Ad:
    To add a datum that might be of interest to dogbones and others. SIEPR gets ballpark 200 applications to hire 25 pre-docs.

  2. #12
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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Prof Startz, do you know which perimeters these applications use for the basic screening process? I would guess prior research experience and LORs would overrun GPA and GRE scores? I also heard (although Im not entirely sure) they highly prefer those who had some exposure to grad level economics courses (whether be it standard PhD courses or a masters in econ).

  3. #13
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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    At SIEPR individual PIs make the choice, so there isn't any uniform criteria. Nor is there a pre-screen.

    For pre-docs in general I can tell you that recommendations matter, programming experience often matters--and sometimes that is specifically Stata experience. GPA matters. Past research experience matters.

  4. #14
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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayes View Post
    Dogbones, I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm and will to become an Economist; that is a good thing! But let me be a bit more frank, life does not plan out like that and Im afraid your plan is just delusional. Make no mistake, becoming an Economist is certainly not delusional and with such a desire you can certainly become one. But realize that top 10 program admissions (even top 20-30 for that matter) are just a whole another animal. You are young (I am young), I get it, we want to go to the best program as possible but that should NOT be at the cost of what you are referring to with such minimal returns. Life is full of chaos and surprises. In a given year one might be healthy but then another year one might experience a misfortune whether health, family or other problems which requires the use of collected such funds. Dismissing such random noise and planning out how you will pay 40k+ whilst 'maybe' making connections is just not a healthy mindset; you should not be so obsessed. Your obsession (if it is for the love of economics and not prestige) should be saved for research or you will certainly go downhill with this mindset.
    Oh yes I totally understand that expecting to get into a top 20 or even 30 program with my background is not grounded in data or history, or even a realistic expectation at all! I'm only going to do the HES extra degree if I can really truly afford it (time & money) and be confident that I would be successful by being prepared well in advance... I may come off as obsessive, but what drives me more is actually my tendency toward wanting to know my future combined with self-optimization (like Einstein has said, the best way to predict the future is to invent it!), I guess that's called making the most out of life?!

  5. #15
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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    Why would you spend 3 years at a masters? Even if you were to take PhD course as part of your masters programme, it should only take 2 years max. It literally says that in your programme webpage. That 3rd year is better spent being a full-time RA.


    From simply glancing through the programme webpage, it appears that you are able to take core courses as part of your masters. I can assure you that you will most definitely won't have any spare time to do anything else, if you're doing the core courses (which you should), especially since this will be the first time you're seeing the material.

    Non-econ graduate qualifications are useless for admissions, unless if they're in math and you have a deficiency in math prep; even then, you only need a couple classes, and not the full qualification.

    The top pre-docs have hundreds of applicants each year. Your experience being a full-time RA (in your hypothetical 3rd year) will benefit you more than all the other options listed above.

    Lastly, there is a difference between a work-in-progress and a working paper. The former refers to a somewhat fleshed-out idea while the latter refers to an idea that has been penned into an actual paper, albeit one that still requires polishing.

    Edit: Echoing what Bayes mentioned above, you need to be cognizant of how competitive top 20 admissions really is. Look through the past Profile and Results pages of the past few years and you'll see that even some stellar students can't break into Top 20.
    One of the reasons I'm only applying to the hawaii master's is because of the flexibility that it offers... I can take 3 years if I choose to, and have already communicated to them that I would like to take the 7-course PhD core, micro 3, experimental econ, health econ, 3 years of the micro workshop, a master's thesis over one of the summers, and a host of advanced math courses to put me on track for a good PhD program. I figure all of the extra coursework will give me a better foundation and more time to prove myself academically after my so-so undergrad record (particularly dabbling in grad courses back then)...

    I am hoping to be an RA from my 2nd semester in the master's program so more time in the program is good for this as well... UHERO (also on the dept. website) also takes RAs so more opportunities there too. My dream would be to break the mold of the past PhD admits from there, but I'm not going to burn myself down to nothing over it either. Shoot for the moon and land among the stars if not another moon!

  6. #16
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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Quote Originally Posted by laborsabre View Post
    Oh okay. I misinterpreted. I thought your desire to do these additional degrees was because you had non-academic policy jobs in mind that might not involve a PhD. In that case, I would make my main point even stronger: there really is no value in getting either degree you mentioned. The econ MA is the one that will be your best bet. Anything else is just noise as someone else said. Data science courses can sometimes be helpful to audit to learn techniques but I do not see them as providing much signaling value, especially since most data science programs are very new and expensive. They also tend to focus on prediction, which while important is of second order importance in a lot of academic work. I double majored in political science in undergrad, and have a close friend who is a professor in political science. From my discussions with him and past experience, IR will not be helpful at all. The overlap will probably mostly involve some game theoretic models, but they probably would not be covered at the level of an econ PhD first year course. Even if they were, there is pretty much 0 signaling value to the IR masters.

    My comment about the math/engineering MAs was more to say that people with those degrees get into econ PhD programs (I know several in my program). So the skills you learn in those programs help. But I would almost never recommend someone go out of there way to get those degrees when you can just go get an econ MA (like you are doing). A good analogy is this: imagine you want to learn Chinese. People find it easier to learn Chinese after first learning another East Asian language (like Japanese). This does not mean that one should go learn Japanese first when an introductory Chinese course is available.
    No doubt I agree that economics is the best way to get good at economics, but for supplemental knowledge I was torn between my two most viable options offered by HES which were from one of my filters, either unpredictably challenging (data science) or more manageable (IR), so I was leaning more towards IR, but I really do appreciate the insight you offered from your experiences. I would only add more to my plate if my plate were close to empty, because if my plate has too much on it then it could tip over or get contaminated before I eat a full dinner (to use another analogy!)... Ah ok and thank you for clarifying the applied engineering math degree thought I had, now I'm convinced all the way that it would be useless and an incorrect use of my time (and money). By the way, I am fluent in Japanese and Chinese is currently one of the languages I'm learning! What a coincidence!

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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbones View Post
    One of the reasons I'm only applying to the hawaii master's is because of the flexibility that it offers... I can take 3 years if I choose to, and have already communicated to them that I would like to take the 7-course PhD core, micro 3, experimental econ, health econ, 3 years of the micro workshop, a master's thesis over one of the summers, and a host of advanced math courses to put me on track for a good PhD program.
    This is all well and good. However, it doesn't make sense to stretch things out an extra year. Assuming you can complete the requirements of your Masters programme in two years, the third year is better spent working full-time as an RA, and taking 1-2 math classes on the side (since I presume the math courses are an additional feature that isn't required for the Masters). However, ideally, you'd want to take these requisite math classes before taking the core courses as it will make your life so much easier that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbones View Post
    My dream would be to break the mold of the past PhD admits from there
    Firstly, this is the wrong mentality to have when it comes to PhD admissions. Past admits are very predictive of how well you can place out of the programme. Nobody is special and unique when it comes to PhD admissions. There will always be someone with better grades and more research experience, especially given that even a rank 50 programme admits less than 20% of its applicants. That indisputable fact underpins the general advice to apply broadly around the range of schools that past students from your programme managed to get into.

    Second, and more importantly, you will not have the time to do anything else if you're going to be taking the core courses + some math courses on the side. There's a reason why most schools provides a no-strings-attached stipend to first year students. They are only required to TA/RA from the 2nd year onwards to 'earn' their stipend. If you have not had any experience with the material, coupled with your mathematical deficiencies, you will spend hours daily just trying to solve the problem sets; and they keep on coming, week after week.

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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Hi startz: yes I have gone through the placements list for hawaii many times before actually... some really good ones in there too! That datum about the 12.5% admit rate is quite helpful I think, and that the most important is prior research experience and letters I've known from virtually any other RA recruitment process, the idea is obviously for the RA to hit the ground running and be a good fit. I have a question about Stata... I purchased Stata 15 earlier this year and they've already upgraded to Stata 16 before I could start using it... do I pay for a brand new Stata 16 or is there an "upgrade price"?

    Aloha ~

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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    If you have not had any experience with the material, coupled with your mathematical deficiencies, you will spend hours daily just trying to solve the problem sets; and they keep on coming, week after week.
    Hi, so I have taken grad level micro 1, math econ, and econometrics 1 in my final undergrad year so I have a good understanding of what to expect in the first year, and have syllabi for the remaining courses so have been buying books to self study actually. And my former math deficiencies with time spent correcting will turn into my strengths for the future. Luckily I've been telling myself that I need to find some study buddies in the first week of classes so at least I may have alternative perspectives for the assignments... thanks for reminding me!

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    Re: 2nd graduate degree from Harvard Extension School

    Okay, so you took the graduate-level econ classes apparently (three of them?) How did you do in them? And I'm not too sure how programs handle you re-taking these courses, if you have already done so at the same institution, and passed.

    Re: placements - Where has Hawaii placed its graduates?

    And I second tutonic's comments - from my experience, the problem sets are very long, the material difficult. There is a lot of content to study. It seems very unrealistic to take on a second degree in addition to advanced math courses + PhD core + TA/RA responsibilities. That's setting yourself up to earn mediocre grades somewhere down the line in a class you cannot afford to, given your school.

    I know you mention you are buying books to study. But ultimately, it comes down to you being able to actually commit and do the work. Reading math everyday should help your preparation. You don't need to spend a lot of money on analysis texts like Rudin or Rosenlicht. You need to develop your intuition, and that takes time.

    You have gotten mediocre grades in some of your math classes. You do not need to respond to this, but you should think carefully about why that happened. Is it just a knowledge gap, or is it something else? Failing to consider this will ultimately result in the same outcome as your undergraduate math classes.

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