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Re: [EcFinMatStGradSchool] Re: Welcome to EcFinMatStGradSchool!

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  • Elvin Wong
    Robyn, Like I said elsewhere on PR, it happens all the time to job applicants, so learn from my ex. My prof was kind enough to inform me during the whole job
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 24, 2000
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      Robyn,
       
      Like I said elsewhere on PR, it happens all the time to job applicants, so learn from my ex.  My prof was kind enough to inform me during the whole job process of the department.
       
      The thing is, the longer I take to get to the PHD econ, the further I get from it.  The only obvious classes for me to take are additional math classes.  When I was working, it wasn' t so much that work sucked, it is work after all.  It was the fact what I did was based so much on presentation rather than substance.  Mathematical finance would be different, I think.  It is still the second choice though. 
       
      I don't want to take PHD core type econ courses b/c they will either make me take them over or i will not be prepared for the core courses b/c they are sufficiently different than the school that I go to.
       
      I'm thinking of taking Real Analysis I, Topology I and Algebra I PHD courses.  It would be very tough for me, but it will at least be worthwhile. 
       
      Was it a big jump for you?
       
       
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Robyn Miller <rlmmhc00@...>
      To: EcFinMatStGradSchool@onelist.com <EcFinMatStGradSchool@onelist.com>
      Date: Friday, March 24, 2000 6:56 PM
      Subject: Re: [EcFinMatStGradSchool] Re: Welcome to EcFinMatStGradSchool!

      From: "Robyn Miller" <rlmmhc00@...>

      Wait a second....You are "EW" from the PR message board, right?  I didn't want to assume this to be the case, but just noticed that EW's "Plan B" looks alot like Elvin Wong's.  And since I now know that you are *the* EW, I also know that what's messing up your admissions prospects is the letter of a single, vicious recommender!  I circumvented this problem only narrowly by more-or-less interrogating one of my professors.  He was one of those who seemed ready to nominate me for the Nobel Prize 50% of the time and full of unspecified complaints and doubts the other 50%  There was something that just didn't "feel right" about our conversation regarding recommendations, and his assurances of a strong letter felt a bit hollow and unconvincing.  I do not know with certainty that he would have "shanked [me] from behind,"  but it seemed a likely enough prospect that I decided against using his recommendation (he had taken it upon himself to submit one on my behalf anyway). 
       
      With everything else in your application so incredibly strong, it is really shocking that the opinion of this one man (whose veiw of you was so clearly disconnected from your actual achievements & aptitudes) should be weighted so heavily by ad-coms.  I just don't get it!  Yours is definitely a case that would give nighmares to any prospective grad student entering the application process.
       
      What are your goals, by the way?  Would you be happy with an MA in Math Finance, or do you have a strong preference for an academic career?
       
      If the latter is the case, you may just be delaying the inevitable by going for the MA.  On the other hand, an MA in Math Finance would be awesome insurance against the vagueries of the academic job-market!
       
      Your,
      Robyn ("ME")
       
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Robyn Miller <rlmmhc00@...>
      To: Elvin Wong <eywong@...>
      Cc: EcFinMatStGradSchool@onelist.com <EcFinMatStGradSchool@onelist.com>
      Date: Friday, March 24, 2000 6:26 PM
      Subject: [EcFinMatStGradSchool] Re: Welcome to EcFinMatStGradSchool!

      From: "Robyn Miller" <rlmmhc00@...>

      Hi Elvin,
       
      Yup, I am stating this coming Fall.  Your background and stats are really amazing, I am having a hard time imagining how you would face much difficulty in the admissions process!
       
      My background and stats are much more modest:
       
      I'm a double major in Mathematics and Statisitics (minor in Economics).  My GPA is 3.85 at the moment.  Should go up a bit by the end of this semester though.  GRE-wise I pretty much flopped:  Verbal=720, Quant=720, Analytical=650.  I got pretty paralyzed with anxiety during the exam and could barely focus on what I was doing.  Retaking made little sense though, as this would probably have happened the second time around as well.
       
      I've taken graduate Economics and graduate Mathematics courses, and done reasonably well in them -- and additionally am blessed with the enthusiastic support of a number of solid economists, mathematicians and statisticians.
       
      I'm hoping to continue studying both Econ and Math (including math stat) at Cornell, with an eye toward bringing novel and more sophisticated types of math to bear on complex economic and socioeconomic phenomena.  I'm particularly interested in nuancing the traditional axiomatic/game-theoretic view of individual decision-making and in more effectively capturing the relationship between micro-level decision-making processes and the aggregate/macro-level economic environment.  I see this as a bidirectional relationship, of course -- and would love to get better understand its underlying machinery.
       
      Anyway, that's my story for the moment.  Do you have *any* idea what might be hindering you in the admissions process?  Your background and numbers are incredible.  I cannot imagine why you have not been offered serious funding to study at a major department!
       
      Yours,
      Robyn
       
      Robyn Miller (Class of 2000)
      Dept. of Mathematics & Statistics 
      Mount Holyoke College
      South Hadley, MA 01075
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Elvin Wong <eywong@...>
      To: Robyn Miller <rlmmhc00@...>
      Date: Friday, March 24, 2000 5:23 PM
      Subject: Re: Welcome to EcFinMatStGradSchool!

      Hey Robyn,
       
      Are you starting Fall 2000?
       
      I am a returning grad student, from 8 years of management consulting.  I am also doing, or planning to do economics. Currently, I go unloved by adcom committees.
       
      Undergrad: Economics/English double, 3.5
      MBA finance
      finishing MA econ (all at Rutgers)
      American student
      V800 M790 A 760 (obviously worth the paper they are written on)
       
      I took a boatload of math courses, Calc I-IV, Honor Calc III and IV (rigourous multi-variable calc and lin algebra), Prob and Stat,  Real Analysis, currently finishing Complex Analysis and Abstract Algebra.  IF I hang around to give it another shot I will probably take PHD math courses next year and finish up the MA in econ.
       
      Then again I might just do a mathematical finance MA and cut my losses.
       
      What's your background?
       
      Elvin Wong
      -----Original Message-----
      From:
      Robyn Miller <rlmmhc00@...>
      To: eywong@... <eywong@...>
      Date: Friday, March 24, 2000 9:50 AM
      Subject: Welcome to EcFinMatStGradSchool!

      Hi,
       
      My name is Robyn and I am heading off to do graduate work in Econ (and hopefully also in mathematical stats) at Cornell next year.  I've started this list in hopes that it will grow into an active entity by the end of the year.  Right now, I'm still in the process of building a membership base, and I'm interested in knowing something about the people who join.  Would you mind telling me a little about yourself?
       
      Robyn


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    • Elvin Wong
      Reba, From what I know of undergrad math classes taken at places from Columbia to Rutgers to no-name, prep for grad study varies widely. Columbia s is the most
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 26, 2000
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        Reba,

        From what I know of undergrad math classes taken at places from Columbia to
        Rutgers to no-name, prep for grad study varies widely.

        Columbia's is the most theoretical by far since "all" of their normal math
        majors are prepared to do graduate work. This level of abstraction tends to
        scare off a lot who would have otherwise been Math majors though so only the
        cream remains, so maybe not a fair representation. Proofs abound in classes
        and on tests.

        Rutgers students, if they intend to become Math PHD's have to get
        departmental permission to take special reserved year-long Algebra and
        Analysis classes. Do to the size of the talent pool Rutgers draws from and
        this filter mentioned above, these students are fairly well -prepared.

        No-name, In my experience woefully prepared. They will be in for a large
        shock, one that even well-prepared students have when they move up. Not
        many proofs in class and none to almost none on the tests! In fairness, the
        major goal is not to prepare students for Math grad school, but say for
        industry and teaching for example. But then again, I ran into an excellent
        professor here (at no-name) that has been better than at the other two
        places by far.

        Elvin
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Reba Schuller <reba_schuller@...>
        To: EcFinMatStGradSchool@onelist.com <EcFinMatStGradSchool@onelist.com>
        Date: Sunday, March 26, 2000 12:30 AM
        Subject: [EcFinMatStGradSchool] Re: Welcome to EcFinMatStGradSchool!


        >From: "Reba Schuller" <reba_schuller@...>
        >
        >Hi, all.
        >
        >I'm a Ph.D. student in mathematics at Cornell. (See you in the fall,
        >Robyn!) My thesis will probably be in logic/theory of computing,
        hopefully
        >with an algebraic twist. I'm also doing an M.S. in computer science.
        >
        >As an undergraduate, I was a math major at Grinnell College. Since we all
        >seem to be sharing our numbers...
        >
        >undergraduate GPA: 3.89
        >GRE:
        >General:
        > V: 600 Q: 730 A: 740
        >Subject test in Mathematics:
        > 940
        >
        >My first year of grad school was pure hell, and I wish I had been warned.
        >Not that I wouldn't have gone through with it--it just would have been nice
        >to know what to expect. All my professors told me that I was really
        >well-prepared, but I wasn't. I was at a huge disadvantage, coming from a
        >small school, where all the advanced courses I took were as independent
        >studies. This in no way prepared me for classes where the professor didn't
        >speak English and didn't speak audibly anyway, and stood directly in front
        >of everything he wrote on the board in his illegible scrawl, and didn't
        >prepare his lectures before presenting them, and, worst of all, didn't
        >follow a textbook so that you might have some chance of finding out what
        was
        >going on. I also wasn't enjoying the material that I did understand. To
        >make matters worse, most of my peers didn't seem to be having any trouble
        at
        >all, so I felt very alone. (I later found out that many of them had taken
        >similar courses before, and, in fact, they weren't enjoying it either.) I
        >was also used to having professors who were enthusiastic about math and
        >treated me as an equal, while my new professors seemed to be trying to
        >convince us that math was boring and trivial, and they wouldn't even say
        >hello to me if we passed in the hallway. My new advisor actually refused
        to
        >shake my hand when we met.
        >
        >Hope I haven't terrified anyone...It does get better. Once I got past the
        >required courses, I found many decent professors. And after you prove that
        >you're worthy of their time, and let them know that you're interested in
        the
        >same areas they are, they're much more likely to treat you like a human
        >being. (And I do think that's really sad, but it's better than six years
        of
        >being treated like you don't exist.) I also found myself actually
        >interested in some of my courses and excited about math again.
        >
        >Well, good luck to the aspiring grad students out there. It's likely that
        >your first year will be a much better experience than mine was, and if not,
        >just keep in mind that things will get better.
        >
        >BTW, Elvin--how many schools did you apply to? It's hard believe that a
        >large number of schools would count the opinion of one bad recommender.
        >Very scary.
        >
        >Reba
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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