I am having a hard time choosing between Duke's Statistics MS and UVA's Statistics PhD. Duke’s stats program is top 10 in the US. It is also one of the only two year MS programs. It requires MS students to finish a Master's Thesis to graduate, which seems like a good preparation for PhD. But the problem is that if I want to continue pursuing PhD, I need to do well in the MS program. Typically they admit around 2 PhD students from their own MS students, and around 3-4 more students get admitted to other PhD programs elsewhere, out of 35 students each year. For UVA, they have a pretty low program ranking (around 70 in the U.S), but the advantage is that I don’t have to apply again and I get full ride for the five years. Also, they have a pretty small program (3-4 PhD students each year), which means I might get a lot of attentions from the advisors.
At this point I’m not 100% confident about my academic ability to become a PhD. Also, I'm not quite sure what research topic I want to do for PhD. I thought it would be better if I get a masters degree first and decide afterwards. But at the same time, I realize that a PhD degree can give me much better job opportunities and higher salaries. If I force myself to go to PhD at this point, I might as well finish it, but I might struggle. I guess my question is if I want to work in the industry eventually, does program ranking and school reputation matter a lot? If money is not a big issue, should I go straight to PhD now or get MS at Duke first? Can anyone give me some advice please?