I have received an offer for both programs and need to make a decision until next week for the CEMFI offer (cannot be further extended). I already have a MRes in Economics from another university, my main research interests are development, labor, IO and applied micro. Not yet sure I am interested in becoming a tenured professor, I am mainly considering academic positions at international organizations and think tanks (e.g. World Bank Development Research Group).
CEMFI (Doctoral track, 5-6 years)
- fully funded, generally well endowed
- not necessarily the best place for development, but they have good people in different fields, might be able to broaden my horizons and be less specialised, also research interests can change over time
- better overall education (more comparable to some US programs), supervision and preparation for the academic job market, professors care a lot about their PhD students
- small department, can be both good and bad, as explained above
- can tailor the curriculum to my interests, elective classes on topics that I haven't studied before
- very good academic placements (in Europe)
- very close knit community, both among students and with respect to professors
- access to data through the bank of spain, but not much data on developing countries
- quality of life in Madrid may be better
- locational advantage for me personally (my boyfriend is Spanish, we have many friends there and would be closer to his family)
Oxford (DPhil PRS, 4-5 years)
- no funding for the first year, not secured for the following years, would have to teach/RA substantially or pay out of own pocket if not offered scholarship subsequently (only around 40% of students are fully funded); in short: it's a pain...
- chaotic and I quote "medieval" structures, no cohesive economics department, very dispersed
- less thorough coursework, more direct access to research stage
- you can be both very independent or very proactive and close to your supervisors as a PhD student
- 3-4 professors that work on exactly my topics of interest and are interested in supervising me
- data I would need for my current research ideas is available
- great for development if I am 100% sure I want to specialise in this area, many seminars/events in this field etc. and other students with the same interests
- connections to World Bank/placements in policy-related research sphere, overall prestige/brand name
- small city, but special kind of atmosphere, lots of activities for students, did I mention Harry Potter already
- my boyfriend won't be able to come with me and find a job, brexit?!
I know in the end nobody else can make this decision for me and it mostly depends on my personal preferences and goals, but given this information, I would still be happy to have your advice, as I am having a hard time deciding... Thanks!
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