I am bachelors of commerce from a not known university. I am going to take economics masters from India's top institute. I will take higher math courses as well. What else should I do to get in top 10 economics program ? (Are there any chances for me?)

Also can you please suggest some masters economics program which enrolls commerce undergrad?

  • Step 1: get A+ in real analysis Step 2: get Canadian masters Step 3: coauthor a QJE with LOR writer
    – user9913
    Dec 9 '13 at 22:05
  • If whoever downvoted this answer thinks it is a joke, it is not. You definitely need to pump up your math, and if the OP can get a Master's in math instead of an econ, that would definitely help more than an econ MA. The third part is the most problematic -- you only get a QJE if you are a Ph.D. student in Cambridge, MA, and it is unheard of a grad student from any other location to publish there... let alone an undergrad.
    – StasK
    Dec 10 '13 at 1:57
  • Top 10 according to what ranking? New Economic School (Moscow, Russia) regularly places their MA graduates into top 10 US programs. In fact, few of their graduates applying to Ph.D.s end up below top 20. In India, Master's from ISI would be very well recognized.
    – StasK
    Dec 10 '13 at 2:00

(If I had more rep then this probably would have been a comment not an answer, sorry). That is a very hard question to answer without you providing much information.

Generally getting into a top 10 economics program is already a semi random process because so many applicants are so well qualified. It requires a high GPA in hard courses, good recommendation letters, etc... That being said, there are a lot of students from India who end up placing very well.

A website where you might get more opinions is http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/ . They have a general format for how to submit your profile, look at a few and check it out. Might help you know where you stand (They also have old archives of student profiles with results).


I will say the highest probability course of action, but nobody has a guaranteed entrance into a top 10 program. 1. Practice the GRE extensively. If you score 800 in math that will help. Verbal score is not a hindrance if everything else is right, but if you score above 95% in verbal that will show. 2. Get in touch with professors in the top 10 programs, especially some that might have connections to you either through your schools, country, or area of interest. Start an intelligent conversation with them. Show them how interested you are in working with them. For this you will have to do thorough research on their work, but it is the best way of showing how badly you want to work with them. 3. Get excellent grades and develop relationships with your current professors to obtain the best letters of reference possible.

In summary, people tend to focus on the quantitative and the impartial, a typical economist bias, but develop personal relationships can pay off in putting you ahead of the curve.

  • I agree with everything here except the advice to contact professors before applying. This is common in many other fields, but in economics it is actively discouraged. See here for some really good advice from Susan Athey who has been involved in PhD admissions at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford GSB (arguably the top 3 programs) faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/athey/gradadvising.html May 7 '14 at 23:35

As an international applicant, I would recommend against getting a masters from anywhere except one of the top (1-3) schools in your country. A master's from university in the top 30 in the US or one of the top schools in UK/Canada are also options.

If you are not yet competitive for a top master's program, I would suggest trying to get a job as an economics research assistant, ideally with a well known professor. This has the advantage also of giving you a better look at what economics research looks like first hand, which is closer to what you'd be doing as a PhD student and professor than your classes in a masters program.

Ultimately to be competitive for a top 10 school, you absolutely need a high GPA and GRE, and then on top of that you need letters of recommendation from at least 1 or 2 professors that are respected in the field, ideally who have a track record of placing students at top PhD programs. Even then there seems to be a lot of noise in the system about who gets accepted where.

I posted it in a comment above, but to reiterate, I think this is very good advice. http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/athey/gradadvising.html

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