Guidelines for recommendation letters

General rules for recommendation letters (graduate school or internships/jobs at top institutions).

  • If you have any questions, please email me. If you have not received a response, email me again one week later. Please do not take a lack of response as a negative sign. It is very likely that I have received a lot of emails if I do not reply quickly.

  • Please give me at least three weeks' notice to request a recommendation letter for graduate school (M.A., J.D, M.P.P., or Ph.D.) or internships in reputable institutions (Federal Reserve, Treasury, FDIC, USITC, Goldman Sachs, pre-docs at Economics labs, World Bank, IMF, Blackrock, World Bank, IDB, think tanks, etc.).

  • If I have not submitted the letter, you can email me 2 weeks before, 1 week before, and each day during the three days prior to the deadline. If I agree to write a letter, you are not spamming me; you are helping me. I will not be bothered by the reminders. I will be thankful for the reminders.

Who do I give recommendation letters to?

  • Students who obtained an A in my class.

    • Getting an A is a requisite, but it is not enough. I do take into account your drive, intellectual ambition (via class participation, class attendance, and office hours attendance), maturity, and grit.

    • I make exceptions if you had a difficult midterm exam and showed an impressive performance in both the final and the final project (when applicable). In such cases, you should have been to my office hours frequently, participated in class, and constantly received feedback from me. Usually, students in this category obtained an A- in my class.

  • Research students. This includes three types of students

    • Research assistants who worked with me for more than one semester.

    • Students who successfully completed a thesis.

    • Students who successfully completed an Independent Study and I encourage them to convert the study into a full paper.

  • Major advisees. Those mentees or advisees whom I have known for at least 1.5 years and who have followed my guidelines can get a recommendation letter. Nevertheless, they must take one of my classes and do well. Why? Because I can only write a good recommendation letter if I know you well.

Things to take into account

  • Students applying to Ph.D. programs must talk with me extensively. My bar for these letters is very high, and I do not make exceptions under any circumstances. Getting an A in my courses is not enough. We must have a conversation on math and economics courses, thesis, research jobs, coding skills, and soft skills.

What to do if you need a letter of recommendation?

  • You must email me to set up the first meeting. We will discuss the following things: professional objectives, a list of schools, what to do and what not to do, and how to write a successful application. You must come well-prepared to discuss the list of schools and the reasons that drive you to apply to graduate school/internships at top institutions.

  • Why does a letter require so much preparation? I want to make sure you succeed in your applications.

  • You must provide me with the following items:

    1. Unofficial transcript.

    2. Two paragraphs describing why you are applying to graduate school.

    3. Resume.

    4. Writing sample (the policy memo from the International Trade Theory class works, or equivalently, the thesis or the independent study).

    5. A list of schools with deadlines. Such a list must include only the schools that we discussed in the first meeting. Please do not add schools that we did not discuss in our first meeting.