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Re: Indian undergraduate student aspiring for T20 PhD
Take as much mathematics courses as possible during your undergraduate. You need to be comfortable with mathematical arguments and logic. The best way to ascertain this is through an Intro to Proofs course, or a Real Analysis course. If you dislike the course after having taken it, or cannot imagine doing these kinds of things ever again, then graduate economics might not be for you.
Originally Posted by bumbisoft
A non-research position is a non-positive signal, regardless of whether you do a Master's or not. Virtually all good masters programmes, be it in Europe, UK or US, don't fund their students; there are very few programmes who even offer tuition waivers, let alone a stipend. This is because a masters programme is the school's way of raking in money; Business schools make their money through their MBA programme.
These are 4 different threads from the past couple years, after 2 minutes on Google. Once you've formed a list of masters programme you're considering, look solely at their placement into PhD programmes. If that information is not readily available, email the programme coordinator. Placement is arguably the only thing you need to look at, when deciding between programmes (barring any financial constraints, of course).
In addition, whether or not the programme adequately prepares you for a PhD will be reflected by the placement history of past students who went on to do a PhD straight from undergrad. If they consistently make it into the Top 30s or Top 40s, then the consensus, at least, will be that the preparation during your undergraduate is seen as sufficient. If nobody broke Top 50 in the past, then it would mean it's seen as insufficient or deficient in some regard (which can be remedied by a rigorous masters programme).