Hi, I'm applying to PhD economics programs for Fall 2022 entry and would like to receive some evaluation.
Should I be more realistic with my chances and apply to lower ranking schools or do I have a decent shot with the top 15?
I come from an applied math background but want to switch to econ/ finance departments. More on my research interests below.
Undergraduate school: National University of Singapore
Undergraduate Major: Quantitative Finance
Undergraduate Minor: Statistics
GPA: 3.72/4.00 in US standards
GRE: Q 163, V 158 Messed up GRE Quant here... disappointing. Retaking it as I know I can do better.
Math classes : Analysis 1 & 2 (A), Ordinary Differential Equations (A), Graduate Stochastic Analysis (A), currently taking a PhD class in Measure-Theoretic Probability, and then there's those fundamental classes like calculus, linear algebra, multivariable calculus (A/A- in them). I got B+ and B for numerical analysis and machine learning.
Econ classes: PhD Continuous Time Financial Economics (A-), game theory (A-), Mathematical Finance 1/2 (A, B+)
Statistics classes: Probability (A-), Mathematical Statistics (A-), Stochastic Processes (B+ but I exercised the P/NP option), Regression Analysis (B)
All but one of the B+, B classes were taken during the COVID outbreak and I was affected by it so I couldn't focus as well. I am explaining this in my SOP.
3 projects - One is related to financial market microstructure (uses stochastic control, Bayesian learning) and we plan to publish it in a top MS/OR journal; another bore no substantial fruit because someone published the idea in JFE; last project is my undergrad thesis on automated market makers (Fintech). My thesis centers on stochastic control and machine learning.
LORs: I'm getting letters from the 3 people I researched with mentioned above. One is writing me a strong letter, is a finance professor with an OR background. The other 2 are math professors who afaik, are only connected to Columbia IEOR, for the States.
Honestly, I'm most interested in financial market microstructure theory at the moment. However, it intersects with mechanism design (market design, auction theory, IO alike), which is why I'm considering the econ program. I like studying mechanisms/ systems, with an engineering flavor hence the interest in microstructure/ mechanism design.
However based on what you have read so far, is it obvious to you that my profile fits a business PhD better than an econ PhD?
Teaching Experience: Tutored 3 high schoolers math and they all got As.
For economics schools, I'm considering those that are strong in micro theory/ market design. Stanford, Princeton, Northwestern, Columbia, NYU. I probably missed out some schools within the top 15 region that are strong in these area. May you suggest some schools to look at? What about Duke, UCLA, Michigan, UPenn, Maryland, NYU, UCSD, CMU, Cornell?
For business schools - Stanford GSB, Columbia, Toronto Rotman.