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Hi! I will be applying for PhDs (US, UK and EU, in this order of preferences) in December this year, I'm also considering applying for predocs in the US. I discuss this heavily with my supervisor, but I would also appreciate some other opinions on where can I expect to get, and am I doomed to go to a low-ranked place if applying without a predoc. I'm doing my first year of masters rn. My profile: UG: Two BAs, one in Economics (GPA: 3.6, good grades from econ and math subjects, worse from more general or business oriented ones), one in CS (GPA: 3.1). Both from the best university in each field in my native country, I did them at the same time (which was a bad idea for my GPA but hey, I was 18, it should be the time to learn not to be cocky without ruining your future :((( ), but internationally no-name (I'm Eastern European, but EU) Grad: MRes in Economics from decent western european uni (circa top50 global in the last decade tilburg ranking), so far 3.95 GPA (likely the best in my cohort) Second year I will spend at US top5 uni on an exchange being part of my degree. I hope to also get some recommendations there. Research experience and letters: 3 year-long RAship in econ with a professor from my BA uni (I can get a very good letter from him, but he isn't really known outside my country) I'm doing two RAships now at my MRes uni, both close to my interests, both with senior faculty that is quite well connected but I think more in Europe than in US, and I think I can get pretty good letters from them too. GRE: 170Q, 167V, 4.0A I have some professional experience in ML (which might be somehow relevant as I'm really interested in the intersection of ML and econometrics, but idk if that matters at all) and one internship in a ministry of finance doing quant work. So, I think the biggest problems are my rather mediocre UG GPAs from noname unis (especially in CS, although this was this type of program that fails 60% of students, so I wasn't even that low in my cohort. Not super high either, like top40% of these who finished it). Do you think I can overcome this with a great GPA from my masters? What should I focus on in the remaining few months before my application? Do I stand any chance in the competitive places (like US top20, LSE, UCL, TSE, Zurich), or should I rather aim lower or do a predoc? Any help highly appreciated ^^