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Thread: Admission: ACO: CMU vs. GaTech

  1. #1
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    Question Admission: ACO: CMU vs. GaTech

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    Hello guys,

    my "problem" is as follows:
    I'm admitted to the ACO Program (Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization) of CMU (via Tepper Business School) and Georgia Tech (via Computer Science).
    In a nutshell, it's a mixture between computer science, mathematics and operations research.
    [the web-pages: ACO Program Home Page and Ph.D. Program in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization]
    Moreover, I'm admitted for PhD-Program at a good University in Europe.

    There are 3 aspects I would like to discuss with you:

    1) I have to decide between first taking courses, then doing research or immediately doing research.
    [at CMU/GaTech I might have a larger freedom concerning the topics, whereas in Europe I would be quite narrowed]

    2) "Big Names"
    When it comes to graduation and say, for some reason I have to leave academia (I would like to stay).
    The university form Europe is very well known in Europe and is very high in world-wide rankings, whereas CMU/GaTech are not so well known here in Europe.
    Then a "title" from the university might be "worth more" concerning my job applications (for, say consulting). What do you think?

    3) CMU vs. GaTech
    From the Computer Science perspective CMU seems far better and actually a lot of the faculty that is mentioned on the Georgia Tech web-pages has already left them!!!
    BUT, at CMU I'm admitted for the ACO program via the Operations Research group located at the Tepper School of Business (CMU): Home : Tepper School of Business resp. Operations Research (Tepper)
    (I was actually rejected via the Computer Science Department, but they haven't admitted ACO people for several years...)
    As far as I understand I (potentially) could work together with all the faculty of the program (including math and computer science).
    [I even explicitly mentioned in my application that I want to work with people form the math department.]
    Do you think I'm dazzled/fooled by just looking at CMU as a great place for CS? (My preference is somehow for CMU)

    I would be very grateful for your feedback and comments!!

    Best Regards
    Lars
    Last edited by larsoman; 03-22-2009 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Typos

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Dude, you are actually getting a business PhD at Tepper. Just forget about everything else and take it !!

    Its supposed to be the most lucrative PhD of any kind.

  3. #3
    Within my grasp! oldprogrammer's Avatar
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    If you go the ACO route at CMU you would likely end up teaching in an Operations/IS department, which as ATB says, would be a lucrative position. It would probably be worth the time to find out the placement records of the ACO program just to see where the graduates go (I may be wrong about the Operations thing) and if that aligns with your goals. Just make sure you're not forcing yourself to swim against the current in a program by trying to make it fit your interests when it really doesn't.

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    Question

    Thanks for your comment "Ancalagon The Black"!

    As far as I understand the regulations the ACO-program awards it's own PHD title, i.e. a Ph.D. in "Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization".
    (But I'll investigate on that, thanks for the remark/pointer)

    Currently my goal is to actually stay in academia, but I think you have a point:
    if I leave and go to industry, I can always say that I was at a business school, which might "look good".
    (For academia I thought the reputation of my advisor and my own papers are most important)

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    Arrow

    thanks "oldprogrammer" for your comment.

    My interests are mainly in the ACO area, that is true.
    But - as I mentioned in my application - my "favorite" faculty is actually in the math department.
    So my interests are essentially a bit closer to the math-part of the ACO-program.

    To be honest, in my application writing I made a mistake and could not apply via the math department
    (the math department said "subject GRE in the applicants field" and I did the computer science GRE, but in the end they really wanted to have the math subject GRE, so I applied to ACO via the computer science department and the tepper school; tepper accepted me, computer science rejected me (but they did not accept anybody to that program for years)

    That's why I applied via Tepper.
    But as far as I understand the program that essentially should make no difference?
    (you are allowed to work with all the faculty involved)
    Or are you concerned regarding TA positions?

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    Within my grasp! oldprogrammer's Avatar
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    The importance is on who advises you for your PhD and what subject your PhD is concerned with. Those two things will determine where you end up.

    So if your plan is a CS position then you probably need to make sure one of your thesis advisors is a CS guy. Everyone always says academia is a small world, so much of your initial placement may come down to who your advisor knows. If he's a CS guy he's more likely to know other CS guys. You know, what conferences and journals they have in common.

    And, of course, the subject of your PhD matters because that's the topic in which you are world's foremost expert. If it's unlikely that you will have the background to teach CS courses then a CS placement might not be so easy.

    But it sounds like you won't have a problem since you are able to pick your advisors from any relevant department. But I still think looking at the placement record will give you a better idea of where you are likely to end up.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Thats fine. The ACO PhD program is a business PhD program. I suggest you look at the placements of the Tepper school (off my mind, I can say that it is pretty darn good !!)

    What kind of funding did they give you? I hear that they give a free laptop to all incoming students !! :P

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    I hear that they give a free laptop to all incoming students !! :P
    If it's a Dell, don't go (just kidding)

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    Question

    @CalmLogin: well, I still have a nice lenovo subnotebook, so I'm not sure if I would rather "cash" the laptop (you can "trade the free laptop" for something like 1500 USD)

    @Ancalagon The Black: CMU offered me something like 25 000 USD of funding for the first three years (only second and third they require some "light" TA duties), afterwards one shall look for RA/TA ships. Of course, they waive the tuition. Do you think that is OK?

    So what is your Opinion CalmLogic - regarding CMU vs. GaTech and "Big Names"?

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    wow !! This is good funding !! CMU Tepper - without a question.

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