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Thread: Business economics or economics for theory interests

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

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    Quote Originally Posted by FMiller View Post
    Congrats on your amazing admission results!

    For Harvard, Biz Ec at HBS usually wins all cross-admits. Here are some reasons:

    • For advising and the completion of the PhD, there is essentially no difference. You can have advisers exclusively from the Economics department. Regarding the prestige aspect on the job market, there has historically been no difference: What matters is your JMP and your advisors' letters (which can be Economics department only).
    • The HBS stipend is substantially higher and does not require any teaching. So you can spend all your time on coursework and research.
    • The HBS facilities are much nicer, especially the office you get in comparison with Littauer basement.


    So if the decision you have to make is between HBS Biz Ec and Harvard Econ, every insider will tell you to take Biz Ec. I hope this helps!
    Thank you for information. I have another related question as a next cycle applicant.
    Then, do you have any sense of how about other econ groups in Business school such as Northwestern (Kellogg Managerial Economics & Strategy), Michigan (Ross Business and Economics), UCLA (Anderson Global Economics and Management), etc?
    Similar comparison is applied to them as in Harvard?

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    For theory I believe that Stanford GSB>Stanford, and Northwestern MEDS>NW, mainly because of smaller cohort size (closer faculty supervision) + no macro requirement+ the bus econ group's exclusive focus on theory. No theory group can beat GSB's Nobel laureates IMO.

    Columbia and Harvard are more business/finance oriented than their econ counterparts I believe, but not true for Stanford/NW which is pure theory.

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by econapp2021 View Post
    Thank you for information. I have another related question as a next cycle applicant.
    Then, do you have any sense of how about other econ groups in Business school such as Northwestern (Kellogg Managerial Economics & Strategy), Michigan (Ross Business and Economics), UCLA (Anderson Global Economics and Management), etc?
    Similar comparison is applied to them as in Harvard?
    My understanding is that, aside from Harvard, if you want to study economics (as opposed to finance) and you don't want to study a field the business school is clearly stronger in (e.g. micro theory at Stanford GSB), then you should go with the economics school, not the business school. Based on a discussion my predoc cohort had with a tenured professor at a T10 university, job market candidates from business schools interviewing for economics positions are penalized relative to candidates from economics schools. Why this is the case was not entirely clear to me though.

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by hallowedelegy View Post
    My understanding is that, aside from Harvard, if you want to study economics (as opposed to finance) and you don't want to study a field the business school is clearly stronger in (e.g. micro theory at Stanford GSB), then you should go with the economics school, not the business school. Based on a discussion my predoc cohort had with a tenured professor at a T10 university, job market candidates from business schools interviewing for economics positions are penalized relative to candidates from economics schools. Why this is the case was not entirely clear to me though.
    Graduates from Business Econ also have access to Business school jobs which almost always pays better (even lower ranked schools), since business schools are usually the institution's money maker.

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by hallowedelegy View Post
    My understanding is that, aside from Harvard, if you want to study economics (as opposed to finance) and you don't want to study a field the business school is clearly stronger in (e.g. micro theory at Stanford GSB), then you should go with the economics school, not the business school. Based on a discussion my predoc cohort had with a tenured professor at a T10 university, job market candidates from business schools interviewing for economics positions are penalized relative to candidates from economics schools. Why this is the case was not entirely clear to me though.
    You don't have to solely rely on one professor's opinion. Just check the placement of each program and its specialization area. Because econ areas in b-school have usually a small group, they each have some focusing fields. So students should jointly consider each program's specialized field and its placement history when comparing econ dep and buz econ program. It's not easy to just say one is superior than the other. And I've seen a lot of job market candidates who did great (better compared to econ candidates of the same univ.) from b-school econ group. Of course, the other direction is also frequently observed.

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    Graduates from Business Econ also have access to Business school jobs which almost always pays better (even lower ranked schools), since business schools are usually the institution's money maker.
    On the other hand, graduates from economics schools also frequently place at business schools (e.g. Chicago Booth hires many people from Economics programs). However, I don't know to what extent business schools prefer people from business economics programs.

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by hallowedelegy View Post
    My understanding is that, aside from Harvard, if you want to study economics (as opposed to finance) and you don't want to study a field the business school is clearly stronger in (e.g. micro theory at Stanford GSB), then you should go with the economics school, not the business school. Based on a discussion my predoc cohort had with a tenured professor at a T10 university, job market candidates from business schools interviewing for economics positions are penalized relative to candidates from economics schools. Why this is the case was not entirely clear to me though.
    You said "aside from Harvard," so does that mean you think in Harvard's case the Business Economics strictly dominates the economics program?
    Why do you think this is for Harvard specifically?

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by eggnogone View Post
    You said "aside from Harvard," so does that mean you think in Harvard's case the Business Economics strictly dominates the economics program?
    Why do you think this is for Harvard specifically?
    Yes, for Harvard, this is absolutely the case. I listed some of the reasons in my previous answer -- in Harvard's case, Business Economics strictly dominates the economics program, which is why all cross-admits do Business Economics. You can ask faculty from the Economics department during visit day, which will all tell you to do Business Economics (my older sibling was in the same position as you).

    As for why this might be specific to Harvard, it is because Business Economics and Economics are exactly the same program, but one pays you a bigger stipend, you have no teaching duties and you get to use HBS facilities on top of the ones from GSAS. For other schools, the programs might differ, but this is definitely not the case for Harvard.

    Every faculty from the Economics department and grad student will tell you Business Economics > Economics at Harvard. (Business Economics is also more selective in admissions.)

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by FMiller View Post
    Yes, for Harvard, this is absolutely the case. I listed some of the reasons in my previous answer -- in Harvard's case, Business Economics strictly dominates the economics program, which is why all cross-admits do Business Economics. You can ask faculty from the Economics department during visit day, which will all tell you to do Business Economics (my older sibling was in the same position as you).

    As for why this might be specific to Harvard, it is because Business Economics and Economics are exactly the same program, but one pays you a bigger stipend, you have no teaching duties and you get to use HBS facilities on top of the ones from GSAS. For other schools, the programs might differ, but this is definitely not the case for Harvard.

    Every faculty from the Economics department and grad student will tell you Business Economics > Economics at Harvard. (Business Economics is also more selective in admissions.)
    Upvoted for your explanations, thank you! I am curious to hear others' thoughts as well, especially @hallowedelegy because they also mentioned this idea.

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    Re: Business economics or economics for theory interests

    Quote Originally Posted by eggnogone View Post
    Upvoted for your explanations, thank you! I am curious to hear others' thoughts as well, especially @hallowedelegy because they also mentioned this idea.
    I was essentially trying to make the same point as FMiller, but they were much clearer about it.

    Presumably, Columbia Business Economics is trying to replicate HBS b/c, like HBS, Columbia Bus Ec wants to "house" its students within the Economics department but merely give these students greater access to faculty in the business school. Regardless, I don't think Columbia is seriously in your choice set unless there are reasons you haven't given that lead you to consider Columbia over Harvard. Other business schools typically do not operate completely integrated programs like HBS, aside from taking some of the same core courses as the Economics students.

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