Hello everyone! New user here. I find myself in a bit of an abnormal situation and would love to hear your thoughts.
I'm interested in pursuing a quant-heavy PhD in a China-facing subfield (Comparative, IR, possibly Methodology). I have a 169V 167Q 5.5AWA GRE score and finished with a 3.9 undergrad GPA (magna cum laude, w/ highest departmental honors, Master's level courses etc) from a top 10 PoliSci department in the US. My honors thesis was China-focused and used text mining.
While I'm confident in my undergrad background, my uncertainty lies with how my MA experience will be perceived. I'm doing my MA at a program called "Yenching Academy" at Beijing University, studying Politics/IR and Chinese Studies. The program is prestigious (very low acceptance rate) among China watchers, but many on admissions committees would understandably not be familiar with it. Thus, I'm entirely unsure how it will be interpreted.
Do you think admissions committees will place much weight on my MA GPA, or instead focus on the undergrad one? Any ideas about how a MA in China, regardless of the circumstance, may be viewed? If I focus less closely on GPA, I can spend more time here working on Chinese fluency and garnering research experience, both of which would prepare me better for academia than my courses are currently. It's not clear to me which of these aspects will prove more important in a PhD application. I'm possibly overly paranoid that an inconsistency with my previous GPA (and because I know most MA programs inflate their grades) would raise eyebrows, making me unsure how to best allocate my time.
What do you all think? Would also appreciate any evaluations regarding where the strength of my application may place me. Thanks for your time!