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Posts posted by zapster

  1. You should be clear while asking that you are applying to XXX schools. Some profs may place a cap on the number of letters they are willing to write, although most would probably be happy to write half a dozen or so letters (I know of prfs. who have agreed to write as many as 15, but then there are some who have restricted it to 2, or just one as in your case above). It is important to make this clear at the outset so that neighter you nor the profs. come in for a bit of a shock closer to the deadline! If you are not sure, just ask.

  2. Definitely contact as many professors as you can - unless they have explicitly stated on their websites or on the program websites that "you should not" / "it is not advisable to" contact professors upfront.


    Applying only to top 20 would be too much of a risk, although you can definitely apply to these universities as well.


    Most importantly, I think that in order to stand a chance at the good universities for a phd admission, you might want to refine your research interests a bit, get some more clarity on the areas you will like to focus on, perhaps read some contemporary research in these areas to be more fluent in the "language" of contemporary research.


    You probably need to demonstrate a strong Quant GRE, especially if your GPA is not very good. Although after 8 years of work ex, adcoms will possibly focus less on your GPA, and more on - subject matter you might have covered, demonstrated quantitive skills, and the benefits that your work experience has brought in. Is your professional experience linked somehow to your research interests, if yes, you should definitely highlight how.

  3. With 1 year forwards recently trading at or over 70, it seems unlikely that the Rupee will stabilise or return to levels much higher than what it is currently trading at (c. 65) over the short to medium term. Technical analysis has suggested that after touching 70 (or 75, 80?) it may appreciate a bit and stabilise in the 63-65 range.


    But we all know that all these predictions can easily be thrown for a toss within a few days.


    My point is that it is unlikely that a year later your Rupee prospects would look significantly better (at best it is completely unpredictable!), so your options are more in terms of a. Go ahead this year, it is unlikely that you will significantly benefit from the exchange rate by waiting or b. Work for one year, see if you can save a bit and then apply. I would probably make this decision independent of the exchange rate trend.

  4. I presume you are applying for a phd not a masters? In which case I would think applying to a department without any of your POIs holding any position there (have you checked - some profs. hold a position in multiple depts. ?) would be difficult - both (a) for you to be admitted to the dept. as well as (B) for you to get adequate traction  resources, funding, share of mind etc. even if you do get admitted.


    caveat: not speaking from experience here though.

  5. Generally an official or certified translation would be required, however some programs may be willing to accept self-certified transcripts for initial applications, with the condition that any offer of admission be fulfilled by providing certified/official translated copies (in the same way that some programs allow self-reported GRE scores in the initial application to be followed by an official score report if the applicant is admitted). You will probably need to ask each school though.

  6. and again, yes, go to a fully funded program (I was so tempted to go "fourth" !).


    However if I understand the OPs question correctly, there seem to be some additional nuances -


    (1) There is a difference between fully vs partially funded vs competitively funded, i.e. different fully funded programs may cover all your tuition / insurance / etc. but the cash component (after paying off the tuition / school / insurance) of the stipend paid as TA/RA may still differ, making some fully funded programs less competitive than others. As long as the tuition/insurance is fully funded, a less competitive cash component program may still make a lot of sense if it is the right program fit etc.


    (2) There is a difference between schools providing "full funding to some students" and those that "guarantee funding for all students", i.e. I would not restrict myself to applying only to schools which "guarantee funding to all students" upfront. I think most (many?) schools and programs would provide "full funding" to at least some students, although there is no way of knowing where you will stand at the time of application.


    So my recommendation is not to worry too much about funding at the time of application, i.e. do not rule out schools at the application stage (unless you have it from an inside source in the program that they are desperately short on funds or are clearly not providing full funding to anyone), but make it one of the most important factors once you receive admits and know the exact funding offer made by the school / program. If you are lucky enought to get multiple funded offers, many programs are known to take competitive offers into account and increase theirs a bit as well.


    Best of Luck!

  7. Depends on what is your objective / end-goal in pusuing a phd, as well as your background /experience, specific area of interest within Finance. In general my opinion is that if your target is definitely a phd, you should try to get into a phd program directly as far as possible; consider an MFE only if your chances of getting into a phd program are minimal without first going through an MFE.


    I would also suggest writing to potential POIs in Finance with a brief about your background and interests and asking whether they are open to taking phd students next year, etc. Their responses should give you a good idea of how appropriate they consider your fit into the programs (although admissions per se can be totally unpredictable).


    Now I'm looking at the situation as a tiny sociological study.  What does it take for a smart person to get a group of people who think she's dumb to change their minds, even a little bit?


    The smart person should stop caring about what the group of people thinks - caring too much places inhibitions on what the smart person says or does, thus not allowing the "true smart self" (TSS) to show itself. Stop caring, and it becomes easier for the TSS to show itself, hopefully changing a few minds along the way.

  9. It really depends on you own comfort level - my approach was to speed through all questions and then do a second quick pass of all to "check" etc. I would make a quick note of the specific questions I wanted to definitely do a second check on in case I was running out of time to do a full 2nd pass, but I could usually do the full second pass and still have a bit of time left.


    Also, I think silly mistakes are not really dependent on how fast you go, but on being at a sub-optimal level of concentration - sometimes the need to speed up remains a conscious thought and actually hinders your concentration, thus resulting in silly mistakes (ala Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow - if you have read it, where he talks about conscious effort and need to apply self-control competing for cognitive resources). So try to go as fast as you can, but do not consciously worry about your pace - this will help you focus and eliminate silly mistakes. The only thing wrt time you should be wary about is in case you get stuck on a question for over XX (this depends on you personally) amount of time where you risk not completing the section because you are really stuck, in which case just move on and tackle this right at the end.


    Best of Luck!

  10. This happened to me, for the first time, on a flight out of the UK in October 2012.  The check-in attendant weighed my hand luggage (a wheelie bag), said it was overweight but asked if I had a laptop, asked that I remove it, weighed it again and because it was under the 7kg limit she said it was fine.  I thought it was a bit strange (the bag was still overweight?) but was grateful!       


    This is because most airlines usually have a carryon weight allowance that is considered to be in addition to a laptop/laptop bag.

  11. All airlines have always had weight and/or size restrictions on carry on baggage - but the weight restriction is rarely enforced or checked in my experience, unless the flight is super-full and bordering on the max with respect to total weight on board, in which case airlines start getting picky over the weight of the carry on luggage. 

  12. Re: Addendum - probably not the technically right word I used :). Basically just a separate sheet added at the end of your CV, can be titled something like "List of relevant coursework <and skill sets XYZ> undertaken". Organize by key sub-themes depending on your area of specialization / skill sets etc. (For example, Quantitative Coursework/Skills, Programming Coursework/Skills, Sociology Coursework/Skills, etc. etc.)


    There may be many reasons why this is useful over and above a transcript:

    • Transcript has details of too many courses, making it difficult to identify the courses most relevant to the area of interest
    • Transcript has courses specific to an area spread over various semesters etc - a single sheet provides a comprehensive view of courses in specific areas
    • Transcript may have names that do not describe the actual content of the course 
    • It signals that you are aware of what sort of underlying coursework is relevant and important
    • You can add supplementary information not available in a transcript to pose a comprehensive view - e.g. any courses undertaken outside your university, summer courses, online courses, self-study courses, etc. as well as any additional skill sets you have acquired, research or programming tools you have learnt etc.
    • For students where some semesters are still to be completed, you can even mention key courses you expect to take.
  13. Definitely include titles related to your subfield. You could also include a few others if they signal something important (familiarity with a methodology or area of knowledge that may be relevant etc.)


    On relevant coursework, you could include them as an addendum to your CV - line by line is obviously easier to read, but do not exceed one page. You could group them by sub-areas and then include all courses within each sub-area para-style.

  14. It all depends on why you want the degree....to be brutally honest, to me a part time / online / distance PhD (apart from probably being viewed less as credible and robust) also signals a lack of clarity and/or focus and whilst you may view it as hedging your risks, it seems to me more like selecting an option that is not optimal for any particular career path you want to follow.


    The only exception I can think of is if your existing or aspirational corporate job requires this degree as a "stamp" for better future prospects, in which case your current or future corporate employer can best answer your question.

  15. I disagree slightly with most opinions here - I think the best way is not to memorize ready word lists. A much much better way is simply to practice a lot of the verbal sections on various practice tests, and every time you come across a word you do not understand (whether it forms part of an RC passage, or one of the multiple option answer choices etc) note it down and check the meaning. Over time you should develop a reasonably long list of words that you can keep browsing over. After a few days, you can start knocking off words that you are comfortable with so you maintain a rolling list. Yes, in a way, this is also "memorizing words", but I think how this is done makes a massive difference....gives you more practice on Verbal sections, you have a smaller and rolling list of words (a few hundred vs say 5000!), you get to learn meanings in context, which is very important, and the process is far more manageable.


    Also more generally, in my opinion the benefit of memorizing huge lists of words is very very marginal in the actual GRE - most questions seem to be contextual, evaluating logical structure and argument etc.

  16. tough call - personally I would never like my name to be associated with a piece of work whose quality I was not comfortable with - but I would also try to take the time to work on the paper myself - I know it is much easier to say this from outside, but a publication is important, is there no way you can find some time?

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