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Thread: How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

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    Hi everyone. I'l try to keep things as short as possisble.

    Undergrad: Top 50 USNEWS with a 3.7 in economics. The problem is my transcript looks terrible (semesters with low courseload, only math taken was calculus 2, B in intermediate micro). I was dealing with medical problems throughout undergrad so I didn't really focus on my courses too much.

    But I aniticpate completing 2 masters programs at LSE. One in applied mathematics which would cover graduate level math courses and the EME.

    Assuming I were to get top marks and rank highly in both of them, would that be enough (along with RA experience, good recomendations etc) to get into the top 5 or at least make my poor undergrad performance not such a big deal?


    Thanks in advance!

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    Eager!
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    Re: How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

    Why is everyone trying so hard to get into top 5? Anyway, I think two masters would be overkill. Assuming that you could get accepted to LSE EME, and assuming that you could get top marks, there is nothing else you can do to improve your profile but RAing. Hence, I would suggest you to do LSE EME and get top marks, afterwards if you still think your profile is lacking, apply for RAships or Predocs. You should be able to get into top 5 then but still no one can give you guarantee when it comes to top 5.

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    Re: How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

    I don’t see why you need to complete two master’s programs. Doing well (near the top of your class) in the EME should be sufficient to get admitted at least to LSE with funding, which is a top 10 school if you go by placements. I agree with ahududu that fretting about top 5 is pointless, and I have gotten the sense that seats in top 5 programs can be filled almost exclusively by people connected to “top 5 mills” like Opportunity Insights, Gentskow-Shapiro, or NBER (Harvard/MIT predocs). If you do a predoc at a top 10 school, your expected outcomes should be somewhere in the top 30; however, if I really did well in LSE EME I would simply take the LSE offer and roll with it! It’s about as good as it can get in that scenario.

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    Re: How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

    Note that the acceptance rate into EME is about 10 percent.

    As you understand, you are short on math. Another path to consider is doing a pre-doc which will allow you to take more math courses while working as an RA.

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    Re: How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

    Thanks to everyone that replied!

    So I should clarify, I somehow got an offer for both EME and applied mathematics at LSE. My thought process was to do them both that way I could get to know the professors better. I'm not sure if I would be able to RA during my time there during the year or summers.

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    Re: How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

    Congrats!

    If you're going to be doing both at the same time, that's going to be a lot of work. Probably best to concentrate on getting excellent grades.

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    Re: How much will my undergrad affect my chances at top 10?

    I would echo startz's concern about doing them both at the same time. If you are simply trying to optimize your chances of getting into a top Econ PhD, you should do the EME and try to do really well in it. Bear in my mind, the EME is really hard! I am not sure why you have such a precise prior on your abilities, so much so that you believe you will be near the top of your class (unless you have some really high quality signal on your quantitative exam-taking ability, such as a Putnam fellowship). But even if your true type is such that you will land near the top of your class, I find it hard to believe that you could do so while simultaneously undertaking a rigorous degree program in Math!

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