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sunnyday
07-28-2007, 11:20 AM
Hi all,

I'm wondering if anyone here who's already doing a PhD in econ could help me here. I'm kind of stuck in this dilemma of chooing a famous supervisor or famous university. Obviously, a supervisor is someone I will be working with for at least 3 years (in the case of UK). Having a famous supervisor could add a lot of weigh on my career prospect in the future, as I will be working as a researcher. On the other hand, people do look at where you obtain PhD from, as arguably the institute calibre reflects on the quality of its graduates, and people do make first judgements based on the university I go to. I think it's easy to think that my research topic is all that matters, but as you know graduates from famous universities do have some extent of advantages when it comes to employability. Please shed some light on this. Should I go for a less known university (ranked 30) for a rather well know supervisor or a better university (ranked 12) but work with an average supervisor (in terms of his experience and reputation)?

nb I live in the UK.

Ricardinho
07-28-2007, 12:53 PM
Hi Sunnyday, I would personally choose the better university, for the following reasons.

1. The better university will probably have more active and "famous" researchers, so you can try to work with them rather than being supervised by an "average" researcher. I know this isn't strictly what you asked for, but it's something to keep in mind.

2. The professor you would like to work with in the less known university may leave at some point in the next 3-4 years.

3. Your research interests might change during the course of your PhD, in which case it's better to be in a department strong in many areas of economics.

KingOfConvenience
07-28-2007, 04:03 PM
I would go with the supervisor, if this person has a strong interest in you and your work. a good, well-known and respected supervisor is more important than a fancy-schmancy university, since it is the supervisor that gets you the job, not the university.

HisDudeness
07-28-2007, 10:19 PM
This sounds like a choice between Oxbridge and LSE. As far as UK economic departments go, is there really that much difference in quality between them for, especially if you want to work in the UK? I wouldn't go purely by the econphd ranking here.

Personally, I would take the famous supervisor at Oxford over the avg. supervisor at LSE, all else equal. But I'm sure there are a lot of different reasons for preferring one over the other.

buckykatt
07-29-2007, 02:34 AM
I would not attend any school based solely on one faculty member. Stuff happens. People accept job offers elsewhere. Or die. You don't want to end up having invested a couple/few years at a school only to discover you're suddenly on your own. Also, you may find out that you and Famous Supervisor just don't mesh. Or, you may decide you're actually interested in something else.


Also, at least here in the US, you'll typically need three people on your dissertation committee (often two in the department and one outside the department). That doesn't mean you have to work closely with all three, but the more they "get" what you're doing (and agree with one another) the less work it will be.

sunnyday
08-12-2007, 09:13 PM
Erm, LSE and Oxford are both top universities without a doubt. I'm not choosing between them. It's more like choosing between Duke and Maryland. Having met the two supervisors from the two departments, I'd say I like the one at Maryland better. Let's say there's a good supervisor at Maryland that I want to work with; but surely Duke has better reputation, a lot more research students and a mediocore supervisor. The thing I do know is that these supervisors don't intend to leave their departments within the next few years, which is good. Can I please have more inputs in this please? I'm gonna have to make a decision pretty quick.

hideo
08-12-2007, 09:20 PM
It's more like choosing Duke and Maryland. Having met the two supervisors at two departments, I'd say I like the one at Maryland better.

Bad example. Maryland is just as good as Duke in terms of faculty quality and job market performance of their phds, etc. If you are really choosing between those two, you should go for a supervisor you want to work with. no question.

asquare
08-12-2007, 09:25 PM
Are you looking at schools in the US or the UK? I ask because the differences in the way the programs are structured have different implications for your choice.

sunnyday
08-12-2007, 10:22 PM
Bad example. Maryland is just as good as Duke in terms of faculty quality and job market performance of their phds, etc. If you are really choosing between those two, you should go for a supervisor you want to work with. no question.

Oh alright. I'm not very familiar with US universities. Let's just say Duke and another one that's ranked 10 places lower.

sunnyday
08-12-2007, 10:23 PM
Are you looking at schools in the US or the UK? I ask because the differences in the way the programs are structured have different implications for your choice.

Are they really going to be that different?

I'm looking to study in the UK.

asquare
08-12-2007, 10:31 PM
sunnyday, programs are more centralized in the US. You don't have an official advisor/supervisor until your third year or later, though you may start working with your advisor much earlier in the program if you are motivated and your chosen advisor is available. And while you have one primary advisor, you will work with more than one professor. In the US, the best strategy when choosing between schools in the same tier is to choose the school that is stronger and deeper in your indended field, not the school that has one individual you want to work with.

In the UK, my understanding is that the connection to the supervisor comes earlier and is a more defining characteristic of the graduate school experience. This implies that weighting the individual supervisors more heavily makes sense. In your situation, can you compare the recent placements of students of your two particular supervisors? In other words, how did the job market value the more famous supervisor relative to the more famous university?