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jjthejet
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Undergrad:  Top 1 US undergrad (US News at least)

Major: Operations Research (applied math in engineering school)

Undergrad GPA: 3.96

Grad: N/A

GRE: Not yet taken formal test, but not anticipating any issue with Quant >= 165 from practicing

Econ Classes:  Mathematical Micro/Macro/Metrics (A/A+/A), advanced Econometrics (A-), 2 other finance-related econ classes (A/A). Will be taking the first PhD level Econometrics class this fall

Math Classes: Multivariable Calculus (A-), Linear Algebra (P), Differential Equations (A), Single Variable Analysis (A), Probability and Stochastic Systems (A), Introduction to Financial Mathematics/Energy and Commodities Markets both used a significant amount of Stochastic Calculus (A/A)

Other Courses: Optimization (Linear Programming, A), Stochastic Optimization and Machine Learning in Finance (Convex Programming, A), Math-y Computer Science class (P), Analysis of Big Data (much linear algebra, A)

Research Experience: 2 summer's + 1 semester of RA work for my school's Industrial Relations (labor econ) Section under a different postdoc each year, wrote a full independent research paper my Junior fall and was advised by my Mathematical Metrics professor

Letters of Recommendation: 1 from the Macro professor who's class I received an A+ in and is on my current school's adcom, 1 from the postdoc I am currently an RA for who will be an assistant professor at UChicago next year, 1 from my Metrics professor and advisor of my independent research paper

Research Interests: Relatively unsure as of now. I have only done research in applied micro/labor econ types of settings, but am also interested in macrofinance/empirical macro because of my OR background.

Thank you to anyone reading this and I appreciate any guidance I get. I am more interested in a public/private career than academia, so I am trying to avoid doing a predoc if I can get into a T20-30 school right out of undergrad. I'll likely still be applying to some predoc programs, but don't need a top 5/10 program at the end of the day. I'm hoping my research experience and honestly the name value of my current school will be enough to swing something decent.

Thanks all

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/29/2022 at 9:43 AM, startz said:

Assuming the letters are strong, you will have no problem getting into a T20-30. In fact, you can probably place higher. The name value of the school won't do it--the name value of your letter writers will.

Based on the risk of taking this graduate econometrics class tanking my application if I do mediocre to poorly, how would that change my application profile if my letter writers were relatively strong?

Thanks for the advice!

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Really tanking a graduate class will hurt some. But given your record, why would that happen? Don't take the class unless you are willing to devote the required time. Also remember that the graduate students will be studying together--you should try hard to join a study group.

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9 hours ago, startz said:

Really tanking a graduate class will hurt some. But given your record, why would that happen? Don't take the class unless you are willing to devote the required time. Also remember that the graduate students will be studying together--you should try hard to join a study group.

This is true and I have already started working with some of them. Like any class where 80% of the grade is a total of 4 hours of exams, there can be a lot of variability even if I am well prepared. It just seems like the downside risk is monumental. I would be curious if my resume without it would be good even for a decent school. I know that the rank of the school matters a lot for job prospects in academia, but I’m leaning away from that and don’t know that the potential bump for my resume is worth the risk.

Additionally, I talked with the grad class professor and he said getting a B would essentially prevent me from getting into a top 20 school. Also, that about 1/3 of the class gets an A range grade. I feel prepared, but I don’t know about top third, especially because some of the class has masters degrees and has seen the content.

 

Appreciate any advice.

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You have a 3.96 GPA. You don't seem to have had much of a problem from "variability" in the past! But look, you have a strong record--you don't need grad econometrics. If it's bugging you, just drop it and take another math class. Or maybe better, take something just for fun as it's your last chance!

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4 hours ago, startz said:

You have a 3.96 GPA. You don't seem to have had much of a problem from "variability" in the past! But look, you have a strong record--you don't need grad econometrics. If it's bugging you, just drop it and take another math class. Or maybe better, take something just for fun as it's your last chance!

I understand that doing well in the class is kind of my only shot for a really top program, but it’s hard to know what my chances would look like for a rank 30-15 program without taking it.

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51 minutes ago, jjthejet said:

I understand that doing well in the class is kind of my only shot for a really top program, but it’s hard to know what my chances would look like for a rank 30-15 program without taking it.

You don't need this class for a top program. You really don't need this class for a program for a just "very good" program. You don't need to go to graduate school in order to get into graduate school.

Now this is somewhat generic advice. Go talk to one or more of your letter writers about advice specific to you.

PS Do aim for more than a 165 on the quant GRE. You want a 167 or better.

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20 minutes ago, startz said:

You don't need this class for a top program. You really don't need this class for a program for a just "very good" program. You don't need to go to graduate school in order to get into graduate school.

Now this is somewhat generic advice. Go talk to one or more of your letter writers about advice specific to you.

PS Do aim for more than a 165 on the quant GRE. You want a 167 or better.

I had forgot to mention, I did recently take the GRE and get 170Q/167V and 5AW so thankfully that’s done with. I’ve talked to both a letter writer of mine and the professor of the class: the professor’s advice essentially boiled down to if you don’t get into a top 15-ish program then you shouldn’t pursue an academic career at all. My letter writer recommended I take it, get an A, and said that it would be icing on the cake for 2nd tier/non-top schools.

On the other hand, I’ve talked to a couple past undergrads that have taken it and they have all said that it’s quite hard, the grading is relatively harsh, and it might be better to hedge against taking it.

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First, congrats on the GRE. nicely done. If you can take the course and get an A, there is no doubt that will look good.

It is true that econ programs are quite hierarchal. As a random example, Princeton's faculty is dominated by folks with degrees either from Princeton or from one of a couple of universities in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On the other hand, the need to go to a top program in order to get an academic appointment is sometimes exaggerated.  My program, which is ranked 34 by USNews, sent half our graduates to academic appointments last year. Others went to the World Bank, Microsoft Research, and Apple.

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