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Thread: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

  1. #1
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    Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

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    Got offer from these two and having trouble deciding.

    My interest is in Macro & Monetary theory, and I intend to find a tenure track job after graduation.

    I'm currently at Vandy and I do like it a lot. Plus I have very good relationships with the faculty here. And they offer more money both in dollar value and in purchasing power.

    But clearly BU has a better ranking and the advantage of being in Boston. The faculty seems stronger as well.

    I'm just wondering just how much better is BU than Vandy, if there's not so great a difference I'm actually thinking about staying. People say there's not much difference between schools ranking 20-50. I'm getting the impression that the gap is not so great from faculty here, but current PhD students are saying BU dominates. The deadline is coming so any advice would be appreciated.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    BU's placement dominates Vanderbilt's one.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    With having 10k more, you can buy about 10000 bottles of beer more.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    Placements are really about the quality of your job market paper and support from your adviser. So, a good program provides an environment for the PhD students to write good papers (e.g. rigorous training, or some kind of winning spirit within the department) and has many faculty members who can and will support you in the job market. In such terms, I say BU has a better program than Vanderbilt. They have more successful students in the job market. However, you should also consider your position within the cohort. Considering your good relationships with the faculty at "Vandy," I think your prospects may be brighter at Vanderbilt.
    And, 10K is quite a big deal. Given the price level difference, it becomes even bigger.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    Generally speaking, I'd say that the additional money shouldn't be a major consideration. If BU's placements dominate (and based on a cursory view, it looks like they really do), then you'll more than make up the differential after you get your PhD. (I'd say this is true under all but the most extreme discount rates and/or consumption-smoothing preferences). Unless there's some major reason that you need the money now, I don't think you should make a decision of this magnitude based on $10K * 5 years.


    If you don't have a strong attachment to Nashville (which it doesn't sound like you do, as you list BU's location as an advantage...which I think it is career-wise), then BU's a stronger choice. Consider that in 2014 BU actually placed one of its graduates at Vandy as an assistant professor (Baker) - I think this is a strong indicator that BU dominates, as departments don't usually hire graduates from peer schools outside of the Ivy's.

    Lastly, I'd say if the PhD students at VU are encouraging you to go, then that is a strong signal for BU as well.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    This is a tough one. The existing relationships with faculty at Vanderbilt should be a very serious consideration. This really could help graduate one year earlier. That makes the expected financial difference much much larger ($120-150k in nominal terms). That's a big difference.

    You should really talk to the faculty at Vandy.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyrum View Post
    BU's placement dominates Vanderbilt's one.
    Yeah that's what I heard. After all ranking matters.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    Thanks for the advice. I'm actually just listing the money difference as a minor advantage that Vanderbilt has. The main reason of my hesitation is the good relationship with the faculty, and I'm getting the impression that this could be vital.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    I agree that I shouldn't take money as a main concern here, I'm just listing it as a minor advantage.

    The 2014 placement was Senior Lecturer instead of AP. The guy has left one year later. But BU did place one of their students at Vandy back in 2008. I guess BU do dominate in terms of placement.

    But unfortunately I do have some personal attachment to Nashville. My girlfriend is getting a job here and I'm not sure if I should go to BU for a possibly brighter future or start a life right now. After all I'm getting the impression that PhD is highly related to the quality of you own work.

    Tough decision here.

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    Re: Boston University VS. Vanderbilt University

    Thanks for the advice! I guess I'll just talk to more people before I make my decision.

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