I have been talking about the coveted Harvard MBA (at least for me) in the last couple of posts. Now I wanted to focus on the economics PhD program and some of you might be surprised to find out that its actually harder to get into the graduate school to study economics than to find your seat in HBS.
Economists make considerably less money – the mean salary is still in the high $80Ks – than an MBA graduate, but there is some difficulty in getting into the economics program. It could be because there is some ambiguity in what can get you into business school versus the set guidelines that the economics program expects.
If you are not familiar with this, I’ll just list these here. The top programs – you want to get into these if your thinking of an economics PhD – want a strong mathematical background with courses in linear algebra, differential equations and multivariable calculus at a minimum and some advanced courses such as real analysis, topology and probability that constitute excellent preparation. Research is very important and Harvard recommends this experience as an undergraduate. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, stresses the importance of research and is committed to producing research economists.
Harvard seems to have a very good track record of placing candidates with Class of 2011 graduates going on to careers at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey along with elite institutions like the University of Chicago and Dartmouth College.
If your wondering whether to go and get a PhD and if it’s worth the time, I think of it like this. If you believe you can get into such a tough program and have a 800 GRE math score by all means apply. The benefits are amazing from my opinion. You get to go to HARVARD tuition free and with a stipend and enjoy the sights of Cambridge and most importantly network with top academics and brilliant minds.