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Thread: Int'l student, where to take masters?

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahududu View Post
    I have a friend who was top of his class with 3.71 GPA in Economics from Istanbul University which is basically no name school in US and also none of his professor did even do their PhD in USA however, he got accepted from BGSE. If you specifically want to do macro, I think BGSE is one of the best choice. Sadly it is a bit expensive than the ones that you talked about only marginally. Also you get to meet the 'M' in MWG in Macro they have Jordi Gali, coming from MIT and almost all of his professors are coming from top 10 institutions. I am pretty sure though with your current GPA and LOR, you should be able to get an acceptance from BGSE, without funding. I have no knowledge about other schools so I cannot make any comments. I hope I was helpful!
    I just realized what "MWG" stood for lol. I didn't know getting acceptance wasn't that much of a deal. My research interest isn't specific enough yet, but I'm interested in international macro and macro development for now. It sounds like an overwhelming experience to be part of the program; being taught by renowned faculty would be an wonderful experience per se.

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    The general consensus is that you go to Europe to get a rigorous masters programme, since (as Bayes mentioned above) there is the option of taking the PhD-level sequences to fulfill your masters course requirement. Doing well in them will send a credible signal of ability (but only if you attend the reputable programmes like BGSE, CEMFI and Bocconi).

    With regards to BGSE, there are a couple things to note. By default, you'll have access to the normal track which allows you to take MSc-level coursework. You'll need to apply for special permission to take the Advanced Track at BGSE. This is because the Advanced Track is essentially the first-year PhD sequence. If you Google a little bit, you'll learn that the Advanced track at BGSE is rightfully demanding, based on past experience from students. Secondly, BGSE does offer merit-based tuition waivers (both partial and full ones) to all students, regardless of nationality. The "easiest" way to boost your chances of getting a waiver is to get 170 Q for your GRE, based on past results.

    CEMFI used to offer full-funding to all students but now reserve funding only to those in the PhD programme. For CEMFI, you're essentially doing the first 2 years worth of coursework, alongside the PhD students, so it is similarly rigorous as the one at BGSE.

    If you are financially constrained, PSE is worth considering, since there's essentially no school fees, except for an administrative fee of a couple hundred euros, per academic year, so you'll only need to cover living expenses.

    Echoing what Bayes said above, you should never assume that you'll be the top student enrolled in any of the good masters programmes listed above here. This is because virtually everyone who enters have the same intention as you; i.e. to perform well in the programme and use it to springboard into a better PhD programme.
    It seems like the programs that I've found were indeed the rigorous ones. I'd better get myself well-prepared for them if I end up in those programs. Your reply is very specific and informative. I appreciate that. I'll take your advice and try to get 170 Q for GRE, and definitely apply to PSE because I'd like to minimize the financial burden. But it leaves me a question: do only the top students there make themselves into top 20 US? I'm not really obsessed with the ranking as long as I could expect better chances there than here in Korean grad school (top 25) I mean, the connection is apparently better there, but do I have to be the top student in order to take advantage of the connection? I would work my butt of to show good performance, but I can't expect myself to be the top as you said.

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayes View Post
    What Kexin says is nonsense. Kexin's unsupported assumptions and personal anecdotes cannot replace empirical placement data. First of all, "suitability" should never be a concern in a masters program. You attend a masters to send a positive signal. Secondly, all of those European MA's listed use MWG tier instruction in their MA core courses. Even Duke's program is not as rigorous.. Plus, one cannot make the assumption that they will be the top student; with this fact in mind, and the fact that one is going to pay at least 45-60k in the USA, attending a US masters would be a very bad decision. Kexin, you frankly do not know what you are talking about and this is just misinformation.
    The pooled placement data of European programs are not that informative to Asian students. Most of sparkly placement records are from Europeans rather than Asians. Asians are not in the sample pool with others when adcom in the US review applications. There are so many Asian applicants! That's why I have to rely on anecdotal evidence. I do agree that getting good grades in a rigorous European program is super helpful signal, as the GPA inflation is so severe in the US such that many applicants have a near 4.0 grade, then only letters tell apart applicants. But conditional on one may not be the best student, it is more likely to get a near-perfect transcript in a US program. If one get an awful transcript in a rigorous European program, that would hurt unless he/she has super strong recommendations.

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    Quote Originally Posted by kexin View Post
    The pooled placement data of European programs are not that informative to Asian students. Most of sparkly placement records are from Europeans rather than Asians. Asians are not in the sample pool with others when adcom in the US review applications. There are so many Asian applicants! That's why I have to rely on anecdotal evidence. I do agree that getting good grades in a rigorous European program is super helpful signal, as the GPA inflation is so severe in the US such that many applicants have a near 4.0 grade, then only letters tell apart applicants. But conditional on one may not be the best student, it is more likely to get a near-perfect transcript in a US program. If one get an awful transcript in a rigorous European program, that would hurt unless he/she has super strong recommendations.
    I know what you are saying Kexin. It makes perfect sense to me. It's just that they are not affordable to me very sadly. On the other hand, it does sound very scary to get an awful transcript in European programs. Would it be that difficult to get good grades in European programs? I know they are rigorous, but would they just throw out terrible grades to anyone who fails to meet their high standards?..

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    I am not able to answer that unfortunately... just a kind reminder I sent you a private message also

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    Kexin, regardless of the validity of whatever you brought up above, masters programme in the US are simply not a good choice if your end goal is a PhD programme, since they aren't sufficiently rigorous; i.e. most programmes don't allow you to take the full breath of the first year PhD courses.


    Quote Originally Posted by jongrud View Post
    It seems like the programs that I've found were indeed the rigorous ones. I'd better get myself well-prepared for them if I end up in those programs. Your reply is very specific and informative. I appreciate that. I'll take your advice and try to get 170 Q for GRE, and definitely apply to PSE because I'd like to minimize the financial burden. But it leaves me a question: do only the top students there make themselves into top 20 US? I'm not really obsessed with the ranking as long as I could expect better chances there than here in Korean grad school (top 25) I mean, the connection is apparently better there, but do I have to be the top student in order to take advantage of the connection? I would work my butt of to show good performance, but I can't expect myself to be the top as you said.
    Honestly, if you can realistically get into a Top 25 programme from the masters at where you are currently at, there isn't a whole lot of merit in spending (a lot of) money to do a masters abroad instead, as the admission into Top 10, or even Top 20 is very noisy. You're better off completing the masters in Korea, and spend maybe a year or two as a full-time RA in a pre-doc position in the US, to get better letters. That's also an alternative path to consider.

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    [QUOTE=tutonic;1024258]Kexin, regardless of the validity of whatever you brought up above, masters programme in the US are simply not a good choice if your end goal is a PhD programme, since they aren't sufficiently rigorous; i.e. most programmes don't allow you to take the full breath of the first year PhD courses.

    But a successful applicant don't need to take the full breath of PhD sequences, right? The chair and other members of adcom in my department told us that take micro and got A is basically enough; if two, marginally better. All three? May not worth it for most students. That's what I heard.

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    Quoting Kexin: “The pooled placement data of European programs are not that informative to Asian students. Most of sparkly placement records are from Europeans rather than Asians. Asians are not in the sample pool with others when adcom in the US review applications”.

    Your assumption is that race matters when applying from an European program. Your next assumption is that placements records are from Europeans rather than Asians. I am not sure if you are actually in a PhD program because you have some pretty obvious flaws in your Econometrics reasoning. Race does not matter. It does not matter whether the student is black, asian or whatever when attending the masters. Since the course structure is the same for everyone, the signal sent is also the same be it asian or european.

    Secondly, did you entertain the fact that maybe asians are not represented in CEMFI or whatever is because they aren’t that many applying to these places? And if I may ask, how do you know the race of each master attendee that has been places from these unis?. From what I know, they do not hold demographic data when discussing placements. If you have passed MWG you have passed it; the signal is the same for everyone.

    You need to also define what a sucessful applicant is. Prof. Startz had awesome data on the differences between US vs Foreign students entering into US PhDs. US applicants typically possess almost always research experience when entering top 10-20. Foreign students on the other hand were always entering PhDs with a masters. So to close the gap of research experience, yes they would benefit from taking the full sequence at their masters in Europe. As this also gives positive signal for research ability (indirectly signaling intuition).

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    Kexin, regardless of the validity of whatever you brought up above, masters programme in the US are simply not a good choice if your end goal is a PhD programme, since they aren't sufficiently rigorous; i.e. most programmes don't allow you to take the full breath of the first year PhD courses.




    Honestly, if you can realistically get into a Top 25 programme from the masters at where you are currently at, there isn't a whole lot of merit in spending (a lot of) money to do a masters abroad instead, as the admission into Top 10, or even Top 20 is very noisy. You're better off completing the masters in Korea, and spend maybe a year or two as a full-time RA in a pre-doc position in the US, to get better letters. That's also an alternative path to consider.
    Oh I think you got me wrong. What I intended was that I could expect top 25 school "at maximum" even if I work super hard. In other words, Maryland and Rochester are out of my reach here in Korean grad, no matter how hard I try from now. I'm not particularly obsessed with those schools, but I want to be able to have some chances on top15~25 programs.

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    Re: Int'l student, where to take masters?

    Quote Originally Posted by kexin View Post
    But a successful applicant don't need to take the full breath of PhD sequences, right? The chair and other members of adcom in my department told us that take micro and got A is basically enough; if two, marginally better. All three? May not worth it for most students. That's what I heard.
    That might be true. However, the reason those few European programmes can place their students into good PhD programmes is because the grades obtained there serve as a credible signal. Doing well in PhD Micro I at BGSE or CEMFI, for example, will serve as a better signal than doing well in one at an unknown university, even if hypothetically, the content are identical (as most PhD courses rightfully are) and of the same level of rigour. That's because an A in the former is more credible of a signal than one from the latter since adcoms will have some frame of reference. They would be more familiar with how one candidate measure up against past candidates from a programme that has consistently placed students into Top 20/30 programmes, for example. It is all about overcoming any information asymmetry. That's why, if you look at the Past Profiles & Results thread, you'll notice some fantastic candidates with perfect or near-perfect GPAs and graduate courses but still are unable to break into Top 20, for example. Information asymmetry has a role to play there.

    Quote Originally Posted by jongrud View Post
    Oh I think you got me wrong. What I intended was that I could expect top 25 school "at maximum" even if I work super hard. In other words, Maryland and Rochester are out of my reach here in Korean grad, no matter how hard I try from now. I'm not particularly obsessed with those schools, but I want to be able to have some chances on top15~25 programs.
    Got it. Regardless, if the masters programme can place students consistently in the 25-40 range, in my opinion, it is sufficiently rigorous, and by extension, the grades obtained in the programme is at least, a credible signal of ability when applying. I think staying in Korea and then doing a pre-doc/full-time RA-ship is a better path forward, especially if you currently lack in research experience.

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