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Thread: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

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    Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

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    Hi all,

    Currently undergrad.

    Got into Brown and CMU. Interested in macro, development, monetary economics.

    Have an offer for RA position for top 3 business school, with new APs.

    Also in the process for a prestigious pre-doc fellowship.

    What are your thoughts on what to take?

    Thanks a ton!

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

    Quote Originally Posted by seaurchin123 View Post
    Hi all,

    Currently undergrad.

    Got into Brown and CMU. Interested in macro, development, monetary economics.

    Have an offer for RA position for top 3 business school, with new APs.

    Also in the process for a prestigious pre-doc fellowship.

    What are your thoughts on what to take?

    Thanks a ton!
    It depends. I am still on this application process, but if I had the chance to take an RA position as good as yours, I would do it. You are probably young, so you can take the risk. Going to a top 5/10 is life-changing. However, if you dont wanna spend two extra years of your life, choose one of the offers (i would take CMU, but you have to talk to professors and students to decide).

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

    I am nowhere near to be accepted into any of the things that you mentioned but if I were you, I would do the PhD and not be bothered with RA. Even after RA from those institutions you will not be 100% sure to be accepted into those schools. Also spending 2 years on top of 5 years in PhD, I am not sure whether the return on investment is worth it or not. But if you want to purely stay in the academia and never be bothered with private sector, your decision of doing a RAship may be worthwhile.
    I hope you success in your future endeavours!

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

    Is the faculty member that you'd work for an economist? Does she/he work in your areas of interest? What would you be doing as an RA and what skills would you develop?

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

    Quote Originally Posted by seaurchin123 View Post

    Have an offer for RA position for top 3 business school, with new APs.

    Also in the process for a prestigious pre-doc fellowship.
    The bolded part is the disconcerting bit, in my opinion. Yes, the school might be highly ranked, but the value of an RA is measured by your ability to get letters from renowned faculty members + actual experience doing academic research; disregarding any fringe benefits like the ability to take supplemental classes. If you're hired to support a group of new APs, it seems less likely that there'll be a lot of interaction with senior faculty on your part. Letters from APs carry less sway as compared to ones by senior faculty. Furthermore, assessments by senior faculty members are more believable since they would have seen a larger number of students, and can therefore state your relative ability/potential more precisely, as compared to junior faculty members who are usually not actively advising a ton of students each year.

    It would greatly help if you could post your complete profile. Depending on where current deficiencies exist, it might be prudent to accept the Top 20 offer this cycle, instead of delaying it to next year.

    In addition, given the way the virus situation is unfolding across the globe, it's plausible to expect some severely risk-averse applicants this cycle to re-apply next year, making next year's admission slightly tougher. Of course, this is just conjecture at this point, but it's something you ought to consider.

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

    Thanks for your kind responses!

    I am an international student. I have extensive math/CS/econ background. Have a few CS conference pubs in deep learning and have done research in political economy, applied micro theory, and monetary econ. The RA position allows me to be involved in all stages of research.

    My biggest worry would be the uncertainty COVID-19 brings to international students and the economy. I am not clear on what implications this has on future funding opportunities if university endowments get hit. I am also a bit concerned about my visa status for either OPT or F-1. Would love to hear more thoughts on that.

    I would also love to hear more thoughts re Brown vs. CMU.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

    Not necessarily true. Young AP's usually know how to write enthusiastic letters, are well connected and know what it takes to get into a top program. It is much better to have a letter from a young AP than having a boilerplate RA letter from top professors (and there are tons of these).

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    The bolded part is the disconcerting bit, in my opinion. Yes, the school might be highly ranked, but the value of an RA is measured by your ability to get letters from renowned faculty members + actual experience doing academic research; disregarding any fringe benefits like the ability to take supplemental classes. If you're hired to support a group of new APs, it seems less likely that there'll be a lot of interaction with senior faculty on your part. Letters from APs carry less sway as compared to ones by senior faculty. Furthermore, assessments by senior faculty members are more believable since they would have seen a larger number of students, and can therefore state your relative ability/potential more precisely, as compared to junior faculty members who are usually not actively advising a ton of students each year.

    It would greatly help if you could post your complete profile. Depending on where current deficiencies exist, it might be prudent to accept the Top 20 offer this cycle, instead of delaying it to next year.

    In addition, given the way the virus situation is unfolding across the globe, it's plausible to expect some severely risk-averse applicants this cycle to re-apply next year, making next year's admission slightly tougher. Of course, this is just conjecture at this point, but it's something you ought to consider.

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    Re: Brown vs. CMU Tepper vs. RA

    I don't mean to be dismissive but the obvious choice is to go to Brown.

    CMU is a great school, too, but Brown is better ranked and provides better connections and opportunities.

    Delaying admission by a year to do an RA position makes sense if you expect a big improvement in where you might get admitted. That's unlikely most years, but especially next year when grad school becomes very attractive because of the inevitable downturn in opportunities in the current climate. Just look at what happened from 2009 to 2012.

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