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Advice on PhD IOER programs


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Hi all,

I am not going to ask you guys to chance me, as I know the application cycle will be an uphill battle for me from a low GPA and non-traditional background. 

I majored in Economics at an Ivy League with minors in Math and Statistics. I didn't do so well in the Economics with a few C's, a few A's, and mostly B's,(major GPA ~ 3.1) while my Math (mostly A's with an occasional A-), Stat, and other STEM courses such as CompSci and Econometrics was around 3.75. My cumulative GPA including the 'general ed' courses was right below 3.40, with the lowest semester being the first semester of my third year. I finish both my senior semesters with a 3.9. It seems that my GPA progression is hyperbolic and concaved upwards over the semesters. I will have taken up to Real Analysis, scoring A-/A in my math courses from undergrad and graduate institutions.

Now, I am enrolled in my final year in a statistics masters program at a mid tier state school (to be specific - mid tier for statistics) and will be expecting a final GPA between 3.8-4.0. I will also be completing a master's paper on the topic comparing multivariate time series models using foreign exchange data (not a publication in a journal). My interest lies in financial engineering and multivariate statistics.

My GRE is V:160/Q:166/W:4 (I plan on retaking. Also I am taking the GRE Math subject to hopefully scoring between the 50th to 70th percentile. The higher the better but without the math major, I don't know how feasible it is.)

I have around 1 year of work experience in finance and data analytics (business strategy) as I recently finished my undergrad.

So my questions for PhD programs are:
1) Besides the big names such as Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, and Berkeley, where else offers such programs with respect to my interest in financial engineering and high dimensional statistics? I'd like to stay on the coasts. 

2) Which schools are more reasonable to be set as target schools? 

3) Is it worth my while to work towards a post-bac in math to compensate for the GPA and gain the necessary coursework?


Any advice would be much appreciated.

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