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ECE: Cornell MEng vs USC MS vs BU Phd (19 years old, relatively inexperienced)


joiemoie
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Looking for industry, but would like to start my own company in the future. I've been accepted to those 3 so far. I'm still awaiting on UCLA, UC Berkeley, CMU, and CMU SV (all masters). I applied to BU Phd since I reasoned that the only way I might pick BU over the others was if I was accepted to its Phd program.

Background: I'm 19 receiving my CE degree from BU this May. I'm graduating in 2 years due to my high school AP credits. I have no work or internship experience. Due to my unique circumstance, I have some knowledge and experience gaps, although I'm a quick learner.

Here are my current thoughts so far:

Phd vs Masters: 

1. Fully funded + 30k stipend each year for 5 years for Phd vs Masters would cost 50k for 1 year.

2. Relative life stability knowing what I will be doing for 5 year (Phd) vs 1 year I will need to reevaluate what to do next (Masters)

3. Phd's are required for certain industry positions vs Masters where I can work for 4 years in the time it took to get a Phd.

4. Phd has a higher pay ceiling vs Masters where the 4 additional years of experience could match that.

5. Phd Stability + labs means I could use ideas for a company in the future vs Masters I could have more money initially to start a business.

6. I can pursue internships during a Phd vs Masters I can work right away.

7. Boston could get dull after 5 years (Phd) vs Masters is only 1 year.

8. Since I'm 19, a Phd could give me time to mature before working vs a Masters where I would be thrown into it right away.

9. I could still apply to a Phd after my Masters at a higher ranked school, but if I do a Phd now, I'm committed to it for 5 years.

 

Specific School thoughts:

LA seems incredibly fun, so USC and UCLA (if I get in) would be great.

USC is in a more dangerous area.

Cornell is an Ivy league so prestige name, but it is in a relatively small countryside area.

CMU SV is located 10 minutes from a house we own and I could live nearby cheap. Also it's in silicon valley.

UC Berkeley is top ranked (if I get in).

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You shouldn’t be really committed to a PhD program for 5 years.  I wouldn’t go into one with the mindset of dropping out but if you realize you no longer want a PhD leaving is an option.   If a PhD is what you want why not start one now?   It sounds like that’s what you are learning towards, and it is your end goal and it will save you money. 

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If what you want want to do is work in industry and "start companies," why are you looking to waste time and money a glorified 5th year of undergrad (course based Masters)? Nowhere in your intro was there mention of any actual interest in a particular field of research. If you know you want to go to industry, do that!

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8 minutes ago, DiscoTech said:

If what you want want to do is work in industry and "start companies," why are you looking to waste time and money a glorified 5th year of undergrad (course based Masters)? Nowhere in your intro was there mention of any actual interest in a particular field of research. If you know you want to go to industry, do that!

Given that I've only done 2 years of undergrad before graduating, I'd like to take an additional year to have flesh out areas I've been lacking in some more challenging courses at a better ranked school.

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