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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.