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Thread: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

  1. #1
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    Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

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    Type of Undergrad: 10-25 in Econ, large state school
    Undergrad GPA: 3.25 Econ
    Type of Grad: 25-50 in US Econ, large state school
    Grad GPA: 3.1 MA Economics (school does not offer terminal masters)
    GRE: Q 162, VE 167
    Math Courses: Deriv. Calc. (C), Integral Calc. (A-), Multivar. Calc. (B), Linear Algebra (A-), Diff. Eqns. (A), Proofs (A)
    Econ Courses:
    Grad:
    1st year econ PhD in micro/macro/metrics, pretty much straight Bs
    UG (upper division): Micro seq. (C, B, A), Metrics seq. (B-, B, A), Macro seq. (B+, B+), Game Theory (A), Decisions Under Uncertainty (A), Marketing (A), Globalization (A), Advanced Topics Game Theory (A+), Experimental (A+), Operations Research (B+, B), Finance (B, B)
    Letters of Recommendation: Three econ professors (A, B, C) from UG institution, all active researchers, two with name recognition in subfield, all have worked with me on research within the last year. Said theyd be happy to write me letters, so I assume strong.
    Research Experience: Spent most of the last year working as an RA for Profs. A & B. Have begun working on own research project under supervision of Prof. C. Project is beyond proposal stage, but not yet to data collection/analysis stage.
    Teaching Experience: Have only tutored. Record of education-related volunteer work.
    Research Interests: Experimental/behavioral, labor (esp. technology and changing landscape of work, and educ/labor intersection), knowledge/information
    SOP: Dry and factual, includes what kind of research Qs Im interested in, and my research experience.
    Applying to (econ PhD unless noted): University of Zurich, Tinbergen (Mphil to PhD), University of Nottingham, University of Copenhagen, LMU Munich, Stockholm School of Economics, NHH Norwegian School of Economics
    Other:
    Was in econ PhD for 2018/2019 year, could not continue because did not PhD pass prelims.
    Reasons I failed: not in the right place mentally, could have been better prepared. More of the former than the latter. After requisite soul-searching, decided I still want to do a PhD in econ, as I really enjoy research/working on my own projects/tackling questions without clear answers. I spent most of the 2019-2020 school year working as an RA at my undergrad institution. Also took a math class (proofs), audited an econ grad course, and have been reviewing econ foundations. I have heard a lot of conflicting things about applying after failing out of another PhD, ranging from it hardly matters to it will be impossible to get into a decent school with funding. Here are my questions.


    1. How does failing out of PhD affect my chances at getting into another? I have heard it will be harder, although I am de facto better prepared this time.
    2. How do I explain this in applications, particularly ones where it does not ask? Should it go into SOP? I absolutely want to be upfront about it.
    3. Is it better to have at least one letter be from a prof. at my grad school? I could, I left on good terms, but I did not exactly impress anyone academically. At best, they could say that I am capable of learning the material. It would be a much weaker letter.
    4. I know very little about admissions process in Europe, how do I look as a candidate over there? Advice on particular schools (any to drop or add)?
    5. Will re-taking the GRE make much of a difference? Ive heard that below 165 does not get considered, but I am skeptical that it will make much of a difference. Im quite reluctant to re-take, as I would have to put a significant amount of time into studying, time that could be better spent doing research or learning math/econ that will actually help during first year, instead of just getting really fast at high school geometry.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    I think you know that your performance at a non-elite program is likely going to limit your next steps, at least in a regular Econ program.

    Given your interests, therefore, you might find greater success at econ-adjacent programs such as Public Policy, Public Affairs/Administration, Economics of Education (Delaware, MSU, Columbia, and Vanderbilt have such programs), and so on.

    If you aren't "dead set" on regular Econ, these programs will likely place less emphasis on math and give you the chance to do what you appear to enjoy.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    If you want to attend an Econ PhD program though, there are schools with low/no ranking that seemingly would love to accept motivated and research-oriented people who are dedicated to economics. The cutoff is much easier for some of these schools. If you are serious and have a 3.0+ gpa there must be something for you.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    I think you know that your performance at a non-elite program is likely going to limit your next steps, at least in a regular Econ program.

    Given your interests, therefore, you might find greater success at econ-adjacent programs such as Public Policy, Public Affairs/Administration, Economics of Education (Delaware, MSU, Columbia, and Vanderbilt have such programs), and so on.

    If you aren't "dead set" on regular Econ, these programs will likely place less emphasis on math and give you the chance to do what you appear to enjoy.
    Thank you, unfortunately I am dead-set on regular econ, I don't think I could be happy at a program with less math. Also rather set on leaving the United States.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    Might want to take a look at the entire spectrum of this list and do some online research on potential candidates in your shortlist: QS World University Rankings for Economics and Econometrics 2020 | Top Universities. I think some smaller European countries or maybe other places where English is used at least partially look fairly attractive (if I were in your shoes). Or maybe somewhere with a more relaxed culture like the Mediterranean, Iberia, etc.?

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbones View Post
    Might want to take a look at the entire spectrum of this list and do some online research on potential candidates in your shortlist: QS World University Rankings for Economics and Econometrics 2020 | Top Universities. I think some smaller European countries or maybe other places where English is used at least partially look fairly attractive (if I were in your shoes). Or maybe somewhere with a more relaxed culture like the Mediterranean, Iberia, etc.?
    Thank you, I have not seen those rankings. I do think for most programs, English is the default. Doing PhD level work in another language is not something I would attempt.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbones View Post
    Might want to take a look at the entire spectrum of this list and do some online research on potential candidates in your shortlist: QS World University Rankings for Economics and Econometrics 2020 | Top Universities. I think some smaller European countries or maybe other places where English is used at least partially look fairly attractive (if I were in your shoes). Or maybe somewhere with a more relaxed culture like the Mediterranean, Iberia, etc.?
    That's a good link!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    Quote Originally Posted by shakethebaby View Post
    Thank you, unfortunately I am dead-set on regular econ, I don't think I could be happy at a program with less math. Also rather set on leaving the United States.
    Fair enough. Best of luck!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    Quote Originally Posted by shakethebaby View Post
    Thank you, unfortunately I am dead-set on regular econ, I don't think I could be happy at a program with less math. Also rather set on leaving the United States.
    I on the other hand, am hoping to get into the US!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation 2021/Re-applying after failing prelims

    I would also recommend our program at Tilburg U: Research Master in Economics | Tilburg University

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