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Applying in 2-3 years. Any advice to improve profile?
hhy posted a topic in PhD in BusinessHi everyone, this is my first time posting in this forum. The level of support available from folks in this chatroom is so high, so I decided to post a thread to see if I could ask for some guidance/ advice from folks! Thank you in advance for your support! :) Long story short, after working for a few years in the financial sector, I have decided to apply for a PhD program and embark on an academic career. I have always wanted to be an academic, but due to financial reasons (supporting family etc), I couldn't take five years out of my life to be a grad student, and had to stay in the industry in order to make money. Now that I have some money saved up, I have decided to give PhD a shot! Because I'm away from academia for awhile now, I feel like I want to give myself about 2-3 years to improve my profile. Turning 32 this year and will be 34 when I submit my application. I am thinking that I might retake some calculus, maybe linear algebra courses to refresh my math skills. I also want to also start reading journal articles and try to get involved in research to get some research experience, and hopefully a good letter, but I don't know how best to approach this. My question to folks is, if you have had 2 additional years to make your application stronger, while you're working full-time, what would you have done? Here is a profile to give folks a better sense of my background: Test Scores (GMAT/GRE): (Expired, used this to apply for policy masters awhile back) Q 167, V 160, AW 5.0 Undegrad GPA: Big 10 Pure Mathematics & Economics, 3.64. Couple of Cs but they were difficult math classes. Graduate GPA: HYPS Public Policy (concentration in Economics), 3.64. Research Experience: 2 years working in an economic research think tank focusing on consumer finance Teaching Experience: taught an advanced microeconomics course for a summer program at HYPS couple of years ago Work Experience: Prior role as a financial regulator in a developing country (for three years). Currently a data scientist at a large US bank working on payment technology Concentration Applying to: Still deciding. Seems like Applied Economics is the best fit for now. Outside of that, I have been reading journal articles from professors in Innovation & Technology, and can see myself involved in the topics there (as a result of my current job i'm now deep in the world of payment technology, fintech, cryptocurrency etc) Number of programs planned to apply to: Undecided. Will likely cast a wide-net. I will try to shoot for the moon but am happy with a mid-low tier admission as long as placement into universities is good Dream Schools: the usual ones What made you want to pursue a PhD? If I apply at 35, I most likely will graduate when I am 40. I am now quite certain that I want to live next 20 - 30 years of my life as an academic Questions or concerns you have about your profile? I don't have any academic reference letter/ recommendation letter at the moment, hence I am giving myself some time (2-3 years) to get connected with universities, but not sure how best to approach this... Any additional specific questions you may have: How can I best use these two to three years to prepare for an application Thank you folks for your thoughts and suggestions!!