Are you more interested in the Fed's work or the work that the professor at the prestigious research uni is doing? That would be the biggest indicator of where you'll succeed and thrive, IMO.
I have been a lurker, but I think it's my time to surface as my undergrad years are almost over and I now do think I have something to contribute to the forum
First of all, I want to apologize for posting a thread that seems rather irrelevant in a time when everyone's weighing over different phd programs to go to, but I'll greatly appreciate if you could help me figure out what to do for next one or two years of my life.
Well, the thing is, while I believe I have a solid transcript record (will post the profile later on), I thought I rather lack some research experience, so I've decided to get some before applying to grad schools, and so I've applied to multiple RA positions instead of grad schools in my last semester.
And now, I've got two choices. One is to work as a RA for one of the Fed branches, and the other is to work as a RA at a prestigious reasearch university.
I guess the Fed has the advantage in a sense that it's more systematical and that it is a very well-known institute, but I'm guessing that I can build much stronger relationship with professors if I were to join their team.
By the way, that professor in the university is relatively young, so I'm not sure if they're super-famous in the field.
Which one do you think I should go for? It's the question that kept bugging me, and the time to make decision is draing near. So any advice will be greatly appreciated!
PS1. My apologies if I somehow posted at the wrong forum (or even in a wrong method)... It just seemed to be the most relevant one.
PS2. Good luck for all those fellows who will start their marvelous year as bright future PhDs!!!
I'd say the one case when the professor might provide an advantage is if you apply to the professor's university for the PhD (assuming you impress the professor). Otherwise I think it is a toss-up (depending on the specific projects/tasks, your interests, etc). Some of the Feds assign you to 1-2 economists (so you can develop a close working relationship with 1-2 people). Have you been able to talk to whichever economist(s) you'd actually be working with if you go to the Fed? If not, I'd ask about that.
WWCBD: What Would Colonel Blotto Do?
Both are excellent opportunities. But given that the OP feels that his profile is otherwise complete, I feel that an RA position at a prestigious university (say, Chicago) would be preferable to an institutional position (e.g. Chicago Fed) given similar research foci, compensation, location, etc. However, if the OP feels he could benefit from taking additional coursework, then the Fed may be preferable since they provide tuition reimbursement and tend to be very lenient about taking classes (confirm this before making a decision). Also, while RA positions at good universities tend to be well-paid, both positions are good enough that any significant difference in compensation should be taken into account (i.e. I do not think it would be 'unscholarly' to do so).
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