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Everything posted by jerseyGuy

  1. I am considering whether to spend my three week winter break studying to retake the GRE. The thing is that my GRE is 800Q, 690V and 6.0AWA but it becomes five years old this month. I have applied to some economics and finance MSc programs that I know don't care about the date but I was thinking of applying to a good one that does. So I would retake the GRE for just ONE program that I have only an off chance of being admitted to. That sounds like an excessive cost. The other consideration is that after my one-year MSc I *might* want to apply to PhD programs and then I would need a new GRE anyway. But since I don't know if I will apply to PhDs then I thought maybe I should wait until I do know since otherwise it's just a waste. And also, my grades from a one-year MSc would not be ready until afterwards when there would probably be lots of time--in between the MSc and taking up a one-year job somewhere--to retake the GRE. So on balance I am now leaning toward forgetting the GRE and just catching some z's or something during winter break. But any thoughts would be nice :)
  2. A dose of sanity! Yes, sometimes you need someone to throw cold water on your face. Thank you. I will indeed pursue new letters.
  3. Confession of a serial grad school applicant: I asked my referees from undergrad a total of four years in a row to write me letters. Two of those years, I didn't go to grad school but just wanted the option. Two years ago I started a computer science PhD and soon left after deciding to change fields. In 2012 I started an economics MSc but due to a disastrous financial snafu believe I will have to start over. Here is the question. Can I possibly ask these bedraggled souls for a fifth round of letters? Or even one more letter, to a program they already recommended me to? My current plan: get each of the two possible victims an expensive bottle of wine posthaste. Then, follow up with the letter request in a few months. (At least one letter of three I will secure from my current MSc.) Foolishly though, I even mentioned to my best guy this would be the last time I asked him for letters. So I now feel so pressed to find new people that I am probably going to embark on a $3000 mission over the next few months to take a few more exams at my current program in hopes of scoring high enough to secure decent "this person got A+" letters. This is despite that the MSc venture as a whole is sunk because I can't possibly pay expenses next year. Ah, expensive letters. Another option would be to seek letters from other professors at my old undergraduate program. But this I imagine may not produce good letters because these people probably will barely remember me after such a long time period, and anyway they would just be "this person got A" letters at best. Plus there is a chance they might know my old referees wrote me all the letters already--it's the same department. I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this quandary.
  4. Hey folks. I am looking for a little feedback on my current direction. I applied very late for MSc Finance and only got into University of Nottingham. You can see my undergraduate profile information here. My goal is a PhD in finance. I think I could easily get into a better MSc if I applied next year, but that would imply...waiting a year. I also have no job ready, and will probably be unemployed a good while. Of course, doing the MSc with no scholarship does carry its own drawback of a $40,000 loan for tuition and living expenses. Even so, I am leaning toward taking the financial hit because I think losing a year is easily a greater cost than a mere $40,000 and I am worried also about atrophy of knowledge and losing momentum. And honestly, being unemployed and broke is miserable. I've been in that situation before. People say MSc courses like Nottingham's are not "worth it" but I think this is compared with having a job. Thoughts?
  5. Catguy: Would you still maintain your recommendation from the other thread to try to apply to finance PhDs this fall, then? If I do that, there is no 1.5 years, only one year left for everything to be finished. So I suspect that accepting any offer next year means not graduating. But I'm not sure how much say US PhD programs ranked 50-100 would really care, so maybe getting a couple of letters and just jumping ship could actually work for that range. About your question, I believe in general I can't work in Italy since that requires a different visa type--although actually I know some non-EU kids who work for the school doing research. I'm not sure how that is arranged. I'll look into it more in the fall.
  6. Thanks everyone for the replies. I am going to try to wrangle with the foreign language people here, as suggested. It doesn't look promising but as Billy Joel says, "You're giving me the will to try!" Also I found out BGSE does not work with the US loan system as I had for some reason thought (maybe that was CEMFI?) so that wouldn't really be much improvement. Nottingham does though. Anyway I will return at some point and announce the conclusion to this episode!
  7. Hi everyone. I am one year into an MSc in economics at Bocconi University in Italy. Formerly, I had been thinking of doing a PhD in economics, but I think now I want to do a finance PhD. Also, I am facing some difficult financial problems caused by the fact that it's hard for me to get a loan at this school, although I can probably hang on if necessary. Right now I think my choices are basically: 1) Leave Bocconi, go to University of Nottingham in the UK for a finance MSc next year, graduate ONE year from now (no funding, but at least I can get a loan) 2) Hang on at Bocconi at all costs, graduate TWO years from now (partly due to foreign language requirements that I am not prepared for) My goal is to get into a Top 100 finance PhD. I am just curious if anyone has any thoughts, and more specifically on whether A) dropping out of a program, even for pressing financial reasons, is likely to significantly dent a PhD application, and B) Bocconi MSc economics would be worth an extra year as compared with Nottingham MSc finance My pre-Bocconi profile information can be viewed at.
  8. Hi people. I have a bit of a problem and thought I would mention it here to see if anyone has any comments. I am an American one year into an economics MSc at Bocconi University in Italy. This past year I was granted a scholarship fully paying for the 12000€ tuition and also board. However, I am not doing so well in the program, meaning I am not in the top 10% of students that is necessary for scholarship next year, and would consider it close to a miracle if I managed to be. (I am in the top 50% though.) Moreover, I did not adequately account when I enrolled at this university for its not participating in any US federal student loan programs, meaning that to continue next year I would have to beg my cash-strapped parents for a private loan that I am not certain they can get. Also, to make the miscalculation even grander, the language requirements here demand an intermediate proficiency in two foreign languages for graduation. In my case that would be in Italian and Spanish. I suspect learning these is likely to cause significant delay in my graduation, as foreign languages are not my strong point, pushing my total MSc length out from the more usual 2.5 years to a full three years. I learned almost no Italian this year--my language classes conflicted with my other classes, and I am so busy. The vast majority of the kids in my program already know English conversationally and another language fluently--there are close to zero English native speakers at the school, and I think not a single one in my program except for a few people who were raised in two languages. In summary, I was filled with romantic notions enrolling in this program, dreaming of how lovely it would be to study in Italy for two years and at the same time feeling pressured into taking the lowest-cost option available. Unfortunately the low-cost option here carried risks that in my state of exuberance I didn't see. What I am now pondering is, should I even bother continuing the fight for this degree, or instead enroll in a program that A) works with the US aid system and B) lacks language requirements. This might mean taking a big hit in the status of the program, as Bocconi is definitely one of the better programs in Europe and not many programs are even accepting applications now. There is still some possibility, I think, of going to BGSE for a one-year MSc next year. (They do coordinate with US loans.) Other than that I think some little UK schools are available...someone on here mentioned Nottingham. But what I am most concerned about, beyond cost or anything else, is the impact on prospects for a PhD, a goal that I still maintain. I am very worried that simply dropping out of a program, probably with not all of this year's exams completed or else with some low scores, could look totally noxious to any admission committee. I could probably wrestle my family into getting the loans approved to stay here, but it would be quite humiliating and unpleasant. And, I would feel guilty. My goal as of last year was previously a PhD in economics, although now I am leaning more toward a finance PhD, hopefully in the top 50 or 100. Because of this, my default option is indeed trying to stay at Bocconi. But if anyone has any reactions or advice, that would be greatly appreciated! You can view my profile information at. By the way, I would like to add that I think there are some quite good people in my program, and the material is challenging and I would generally say it's a fine option--but just not for monolingual, middle-class US citizens!
  9. Wow! Thanks so much for this outpouring of advice. I thought this over quite a bit and talked with a few kids who attended the econometrics course. I eventually chose real analysis. Partly this was for a completely "exogenous" reason -- as it so happened, real analysis is a first semester course while the econometrics course was a second semester course. Since I am hoping to be well into my thesis by the second semester of the next year, I figure that taking an extra course during this time period is not likely to be very useful for research because I will have already defined my MSc thesis direction. And also I would like to be free to travel or do an internship my second semester. Secondly, the econometrics course is not a standard econometrics course. Actually econometrics at my school is broken into a number of components in the PhD program. So I worried that some schools might look at it and say, OK, here's this random course in "X kind of econometrics." How do we rank that against our course? We have no idea -- so let's ignore it. Finally, since I am a math major I felt that I might be less prepared for the econometrics course than the real analysis course. I have actually not been having an easy time of it in this program and felt no reason to load gratuitous weight onto my back! So there we have it, folks.
  10. Well, it seems like the main issue here should be...what do you want to do? Economics or finance? Are you thinking about a PhD afterwards, or do you want to get a job? I would say do not make the decision on the basis of the school. Only consider your intended career path. Also I assume you are conversational in Italian and German.
  11. I have a math bachelor's, am enrolled in an MSc econ and am targeting PhD in either economics or finance. I will have taken intermediate econometrics for my MSc and have a choice to add one 1 PhD course next year. I am considering either real analysis or the 1st semester PhD econometrics. A pro for real analysis is showing that my math is not rusty. (Although actually it IS rusty...it's been 3-4 years since undergrad. But I don't think I can change that substantively with one course.) My math degree was pretty applied and I never took real analysis. The closest was a course on advanced calculus. On the other hand, my undergrad GPA was good, and despite it being from a mediocre school, I don't know if I can really build the "math signal" much now. Thoughts?
  12. Actually, I am moving this thread. You can indeed delete this version!
  13. Why I would do a PhD is to produce ideas that hopefully will matter to the world. To help produce a public good. This is a sincere and honestly a driving desire. But fulfilling it would also involve some personal sacrifice monetarily. I'm never going to see the returns from these ideas. So yes, in exchange I want some Cachet. Cachet with a capital C baby. Now it is true that one or two schools in the top dozen lack that, Minnesota being the clear example if we use the US News ranking. And frankly I would exclude that school, no offense intended. In fact part of why I chose "top dozen" in the first place was because of the trifecta of schools NYU, Columbia, Penn, which seem to hover around that range on the REPEC or US News rankings. I live in the NYC area and know some of their alumni. These schools seem to have a certain aura to me because of people like Stiglitz, Roubini, and Wolfers-Stevenson. Maybe my assessment will change, though, as I actually learn something about economics :eager: It's better if I exit this thread now. A lot can change your thinking in two years of MSc work. Best of luck people.
  14. Economists, you've convinced me on tenure at a top 50. That being said, I do maintain that a PhD seems undesirable to me unless it is from the top dozen. An academic career involves a monetary sacrifice compared to consulting that I have to be able to justify. The top dozen seems to me the point at which you are not at what a typical person views as "Anonymous Economics Program X." Now are you at "Obviously Prestigious Program X." If it was only me that I was thinking about then I might do an academic career regardless for the sake of myself and society but I have concerns about my family also. DGSE, the above should address much of your post. But if one feels that one needs to contribute to society on a career path without socially meaningful work, monetary donations to well-chosen organizations can serve this purpose. Of course that doesn't provide the personal growth of intellectual work. Personally though I only care about outputs. Others may differ. And from a purely family-centric viewpoint money appears to me of somewhat superior usefulness over status, things being equal.
  15. I should clarify the goal. Tenure at a top 50 is really a stand-in for the true goal of tenure someplace combined with a high enough research output or rate of generating new ideas. "High enough" would be the average output for a tenured professor at a top 50. I assumed that most people with that output would gravitate naturally toward the actual top 50-75. Do you think that is wrong? I think you accurately point out that my criteria of being in the top dozen programs is probably too low for the goal stated in this post. You are saying that the signal given by being accepted is too weak except at these two programs or to be generous the top five. Well, that is a point taken. :cold: Personally this leads me also to surmise that I am being unrealistic about wanting "top 50 output or bust." I have other options but comparable at the very least is tenure at wherever it is that you can expect tenure with a PhD from NYU. :) Ah, yes. Do get your expectations straight. For a PhD from a non-top 50 school it seems like Economists has also helpfully laid out which expectations are realistic.
  16. Never mind. Who am I kidding? I am going to Bocconi. End of story! :orange:
  17. First, here is the personal view that I've recently adopted. Anything below the top dozen in the United States, or Oxford/LSE, does not offer good enough job prospects. I feel pretty unsure about going into academia and only plan to if there seems a good chance at a tenured position at a top 50 school. I view the choice between industry and academia as between using money versus using ideas to help others and yourself. One factor is that you do not need to be intellectually brilliant to have a good shot at striking it rich. Intelligence produces diminishing economic returns after a certain point on average. Other attributes like personality traits are also important. (Oprah has spoken!) On the other hand, if you are really smart, or maybe just reasonably smart and socially inept, then an academic career can allow you a surer path toward self-actualization and also confers status. This also depends on how you weight each outcome. I weight money a little more strongly than ideas but might well go for academia if accepted to a great school. Some may say this is short-sighted and absurd and you should be guided solely by your heart's desires. Those are definitely important, but I say they are only a means. "Whatever you are, be a good one." Now finally, as to the question here, your career choice depends on (a) whether you share my take and if so then (b) your relative strengths and © how you weight money versus ideas.
  18. UCL/Toulouse/Tinbergen/BCGSE/UPF top 30ish, Oxford 25-35 I don't understand these estimates for Toulouse or Oxford. The only two international rankings I know of are IDEAS and Tilburg. IDEAS puts their global rankings at ten and six while Tilburg gives 26 and 17. So more plausible for me seems Toulouse 10-26 and Oxford 6-17.
  19. I was hesitant to post this but seeing as we already have at least one similar thread, :) thought I might as well go ahead. I am starting an MSc in Economic and Social Sciences next year. My primary goal is just to maximize grades and take my best shot at a top-dozen US PhD program while having consulting as a backup route. In the (surprising :monkey: event of the PhD route I would want to head in a direction that I think would further an important social goal. For some time I have read of the concept of transhumanism and believe that this might play a great role in 21st century human affairs. I would therefore hope to use economics to probe some trends and issues related to this concept or to the long-term future of our species. Skipping the details, I gather that some potential issues might be: 1. Technological progress in the biotechnology industry 2. Technological progress in the computer software/hardware industry 3. Hell, technological progress in general 4. Economics of disease/pandemics 5. Environmental economics (These topics seem somewhat related to those listed here and yet addressable with economics.) Regarding topics 1-3, I would primarily be interested in modern technological growth in the past 50 years. There seems obviously a lot of literature on industrialization and the institutions necessary for transitioning to a first world economy. I am not so familiar with the so-called information revolution and other recent developments. How did they come about? What are the necessary factors in a society for nurturing an information technology industry or a biotechnology industry? Do areas of economics exist that address these? Apparently "network effects" are very important in the former. Perhaps health economics for the latter? (I noticed this book on the economics of the pharmaceutical industry by Schweitzer. Seems like a starting point.) Anyone know any other relevant researchers or books? I have already found researchers like Weitzman with papers on topic 5 that interest me and therefore any suggestions about the other topics would probably be more useful. Topic 4 may be a lost cause since according to this paper, Given the magnitude and the concurrence of both the influenza pandemic and World War I, one would expect volumes of research on the economic effects of each event. Although significant literature on the economic consequences of World War I does exist (Rockoff, 2004), the scope of research on the economic effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic is scant at best But I will throw it out there and perhaps someone will know something. Primarily though I am most interested in any comments on topics 1-3. Thanks for any thoughts!
  20. It depends if you are looking for MS or PhD. Bocconi and CEMFI are still handing out funded offers for MS.
  21. Hey everyone, I am resurrecting this thread because of this comment that scared me: I am an international student admitted to ESS who got the Merit Award for next year. My goal is a PhD in the US--although if I did not gain entry to a top 20 program, simply staying in Europe and working in the private sector would be a tolerable second choice. The €2000 payment is due in a week and I am leaning toward paying it and committing to Bocconi, since the funding and my liking the location makes this offer seem better than any others I am likely to receive. But am I wrong? Are there special challenges that international students face, as the poster above thought? What exactly makes the Italian system hard to get used to? And do the majority of internationals lose the scholarship in the second year? Thanks for any help!
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