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Cornell ECE vs UT Austin ECE


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I have been accepted to both programs with funding. I am having really hard time making an informed decision. From some topics, I tend to think some people on this forum are extremely well suited to advise me about my dilemma.

All other things roughly being equal, climate, city and job prospects after getting PhD seem to differ at these two schools. To begin with climate, I simply cannot stand cold and love hot, sunny weather. However, I think being a PhD student should make me worry about indoor weather conditions more than outdoor weather and with a good indoor heating system I suppose I can survive in Ithaca. For Austin, it is like I was meant to be there.  :)


Second point I need help is job prospects after obtaining the degree. To be more specific, My top choice is to work for big tech companies like Qualcomm, Verizon and Broadcomm. I would like to hear about which of two schools are known to send out PhDs to such companies. I know that Austin has been one of the startup centers in the US but I am more interested in well established companies. Second and last choice is to go into finance. As I will be focusing on electrical engineering rather than computer engineering, it is safe to assume that I will be lacking any developer skill set that quantitative hedge funds and high frequency trader shops usually look for in a candidate. Therefore, I am left only with investment banking roles and non quantitative hedge funds. I suppose Cornell ,being an Ivy, attracts some employers from the areas I mentioned but I am not sure they actively seek an ECE PhD candidate. Again, that's where I would appreciate any input because I do not know about PhD placements at Cornell. When it comes to Austin, big oil companies create a lot excess capital which can go into the hands of investment bankers and hedge fund managers. I would love to hear about such opportunities at Austin for someone with ECE PhD. 

It may seem quite odd why I devoted time to investigating on finance roles since I am going for PhD in electrical engineering. The reason is I am investing five years of my life and if option one cannot be realized, I want a viable plan B, which is more like an exit strategy.

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I am in graduate school at Cornell now and I am from Florida. Do not, do not, do not, do not move here. Yes, you will mainly be in the lab but there will be plenty of times when you have to go to the store in the cold; when you have to check the mail in the cold; and do other things in the cold.

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