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Thread: Fall 2023 Profile Evaluation

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Fall 2023 Profile Evaluation

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    Hello everyone,

    My situation is a little bit different from other common applicants:

    My Profile:
    Bachler's GPA: 3.0, Major: Computer Science
    Master's GPA: 3.6, Major: Computer Science
    Current PhD's GPA: 3.8, Major: Computer Science, Area: Theory (mainly Combinatorics)
    Current PhD program (around 50-70 in the U.S., also has a 50-ish Eco PhD Program)

    GRE: Q-170

    Econ course: I'm going to take PhD level micro-econ theory next semester and looking forward to getting an A.
    Math course: calculus/linear algebra from my undergrad (but have a good knowledge of math tools, I did my phd research mainly on stochastic optimization problems)

    Research Experience:
    3 papers in theoretical computer science, 2 papers in application area (data mining).

    Research Interests:
    micro-econ theory: matching, allocation and mechanism design

    Applying to:
    not sure yet, but say T30-100 world wide.
    e.g. U Zurich, Bonn, Aalto, U Geneva, etc.

    Teaching experience:
    1 course in CS, 1 TA in CS

    Recommendation letters:
    2-3 from CS/Math (strong, coauthors and advisor), 1 from Econ (not sure yet)

    Concerns:
    I started to get interested in micro-econ theory during my current study, and I'm planning to continue my study on econ problems after obtaining my PhD in CS. I have read several papers in micro-econ field and know exactly what kinds of problems that I'm interested in. My main concern is that my background in economics is weak. I have several Profs in my mind since I'm quite interested in their research, but I'm not sure if they would consider me as a strong/weak candidate. I would love to hear any comments and suggestions. Your help would be much appreciated!
    Last edited by lnfurch; 08-08-2021 at 09:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Fall 2023 Profile Evaluation

    Not being offensive, if you still plan to obtain the cs phd, why don't you consider doing post-doc in cs program under a supervisor who specializes in information economics? As far as I know, there are are some good cs faculty who work in the intersection of cs and economics (e.g matching). Getting a 2nd phd is not that worthy in long term.

  3. #3
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    Re: Fall 2023 Profile Evaluation

    Thank you for your comments! Yes, this is a very common question I got from my friends in CS.

    Generally speaking, theoretical computer scientists and microeconomists work on similar problems, but with different interests. For problems like matching, theoretical computer scientists usually care about what is the algorithm and what's the worst case bound provided by the algorithm, while microeconomists may care about complementarities and externalities. The mathematical tools they used are different as well.

    The reason I'm applying for an Econ PhD instead of a CS postdoc is that, I would like to study and conduct research on problems from economists' perspective rather than from computer scientists' perspective. In the long run, I would like to pursue an academic position in Economics and dig more into the micro-econ field instead of the tcs field. Hence, I think a PhD is necessary in this case.

    Anyways, I appreciate your concern! If I would really go for a second PhD, this should be one of the core statements I need to put in my SoP.
    Last edited by lnfurch; 08-09-2021 at 06:55 PM.

  4. #4
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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Fall 2023 Profile Evaluation

    A lot of departments are reluctant to take on students for a second PhD. I have heard of a few, but it is not common. You might find some econ postdoc positions that would be interested in you. Look around and see what you can find.

    I have come across a few people with STEM PhD's who did a second PhD in a business field at a B-school, but all were people whose first PhD was in a field with little to no overlap with business like Chemistry or Physics or Biology, never someone from CS/Math/Stat. However, it might be a good idea to look at postdocs in B-schools in departments that have overlap with your interests. B-school departments are generally a little more interdisciplinary than econ departments, and I have come across a few B-school postdocs with PhD's in other fields doing research in stuff that overlapped with relevant B-school fields. For example in your case you might find overlapping interests in Management/Strategy, Operations Management, Managerial Economics, Decision Sciences, MIS, etc. The AACSB started a program a few years back called "Post-Doctoral Bridge to Business" to allow people with PhD's in non business fields who want to do research in business related fields to move into business school jobs, but the only participating school (AFAIK) is U Florida and I suspect it is more oriented toward people who want to do empirical work.

    There are also at least two universities I know of that allow PhD students in almost any related non-business field to do a joint/dual PhD with a related business school field - CMU and Rutgers - and I have heard of a few more allowing this on a case by case basis. If you are at such a school, that might also be an option for you (again, this relates to the somewhat more interdisciplinary nature of business schools).

    Also, if you are interested in micro theory and getting a good academic job afterward, you will probably have to aim higher than 30-100. I can think of very few theorists in econ who did not graduate from top 30 programs. In fact I know of quite a few people who graduated from top 10 programs as theorists but have spent their entire careers doing empirical work.

    I still think you should take your school's micro theory course which may help getting an econ or business post doc, even if you don't go for a second PhD.

    And don't worry about a lack of formal math classes, since you are doing a CS Theory PhD and therefore obviously have a solid math background.

  5. #5
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    Re: Fall 2023 Profile Evaluation

    That makes sense then. Yet to be honest, you should aim a higher ranking if you'd like to stay in U.S, at least top 20 (US ranking). As zshfryoh1 mentioned, it's extremely hard, in fact nearly impossible, to get an academic job as micro-theorist if you graduate from T30-T100 (perhaps only except Caltech). Couldn't comment much for schools in Europe though. Good luck!!

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