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Trying to decide between Ohio State and Purdue


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Several other people have put up posts like this and received some good advice, so I thought I might do the same. My decision will probably come down to these two. I don't think I will get offers from the few other programs I rate higher than these that I have yet to hear back from based on my results at similarly ranked schools.

 

Both programs are quite large and thus see a wide variety of research topics represented, and both have pretty similar rankings as far as I can tell. I made a list of the draws for each one for me.

 

Ohio State

-Fellowship offer(though I have to accept soon if I want this), pays slightly more

-Balanced placement of grads to academia and industry with strong industry placement

-Better location(Columbus) both in terms of internships/jobs and having a social life

-Visited and liked it a lot

-OSU has put effort into recruiting me and it seems like they really want me, while Purdue thus far hasn't been very responsive to my inquiries and attempts to get more information

-They said that since I will enter with a masters, I can get 30 credits waived from my PhD requirements and start as a second year student. I have to pass their first year exams, but the material lines up well with what I have already taken, even down to using the same texts.

-Gave me a free T-shirt when I visited........

 

Purdue

-Seems to be a little bit higher ranked/more prestigious

-Mostly academic placements; stronger record in this area

-Strong computation finance presence(this is one of my interests)

-Lower cost of living area

-I talked to a student there, and he said his experiences there have been very positive with regard to some of the typical large school concerns

-unsure about how entering with a masters works; asked but haven't heard back yet

 

I am still undecided on the industry vs. academia career choice. I enjoy theoretical work, which is more suited to academia, but I find the current structure and culture of academia somewhat unappealing as a career path. I don't mind teaching though.

 

If anyone has thoughts on these schools or advice for me, I'd appreciate hearing it.

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It sounds to me like Ohio State might be your better choice. I've worked with professors in the past that were difficult to got responses from and that is a huge factor for me now.

Having the support of the school and faculty will make a big difference not just in taking classes but also while doing research. Plus it sounds like Ohio State has laid out all your questions for you so there isn't any mystery.

I did feel like Purdue has a lot more options in finance but if you're not 100 percent sold on that area then Ohio State sounds better to me.

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Columbus is a great city and very cheap to live in. There's so many things to do, and it's a very "young" city. I'm sure you'd love it.

 

All things considered, the difference in ranking between OSU and Purdue is negligible. I wouldn't let that affect your choice.

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I kind of feel like both schools are identical both in terms of prestige. According to AreaVibes, the cost of living in Lafayette is about 5% cheaper (pretty negligible). I would say go to where you think you would be happiest. Columbus is a much larger city than Lafayette, but Purdue is within an hour or so of Chicago and about 30-45 minutes away from Indianapolis, so while the immediate surrounding is rural you're near very large cities. So I don't think the jobs issue is a big one, particularly if you own a car. Don't forget that Purdue was on spring break last week, so that may be a reason why they have been unresponsive (I would say they have been fairly responsive to me, but definitely not as much as other schools). 

 

I would say give Purdue a visit and see how you feel. It's easy to dismiss a school that you haven't yet visited.

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Actually, I have the impression Columbus has slightly lower prices than Purdue for housing, which is the biggest expense.

Was the fellowship of Purdue for the whole year (12 months) or for 9 months? Plus, are you going to pay any tuition (the package I was offered needed me to pay 2K on tuition)?

 

I was in a similar dilemma; well, I had already accepted before Purdue contacted me, but I still had considered the scenario in which I was given a fellowship. In my case, I realized that OSU offered me the possibility of getting a good job if I decide to leave with the master, or go to the PhD if I decide that is the best for me.

 

Purdue offered me a TA position that goes for 12 months. I would have to pay some amount like 2k in fees, but from what I have seen this is common. Many school charge students fees to support athletics/facilities/etc and graduate financial support does not cover these fees. I pay about 1k in fees per year at my current school.

 

I kind of feel like both schools are identical both in terms of prestige. According to AreaVibes, the cost of living in Lafayette is about 5% cheaper (pretty negligible). I would say go to where you think you would be happiest. Columbus is a much larger city than Lafayette, but Purdue is within an hour or so of Chicago and about 30-45 minutes away from Indianapolis, so while the immediate surrounding is rural you're near very large cities. So I don't think the jobs issue is a big one, particularly if you own a car. Don't forget that Purdue was on spring break last week, so that may be a reason why they have been unresponsive (I would say they have been fairly responsive to me, but definitely not as much as other schools). 

 

I would say give Purdue a visit and see how you feel. It's easy to dismiss a school that you haven't yet visited.

 

For some reason, the people at my school think Purdue is a little better, but some of them went to Purdue so maybe they are biased. I would like to visit Purdue, but it is not possible to do so before I have to make the decision about OSU's fellowship. Purdue accepted me right before they went on break, so I haven't been able to set anything up yet.

 

 

The computational finance strength of Purdue is the biggest draw there for me. They offer a lot of flexibility to students to pursue different interests so long as you pass the qualifiers, whereas OSU has more structured course requirements. That is my biggest interest right now, but it is possible that this will change. Most other stuff I like better about OSU.

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Sounds like there isn't too much of a difference in money when cost of living is taken into account, and the prestige is similar.  You're right that Ohio State has a lot of coursework, and I think you should take this and the quals situation at the two schools into consideration a little bit.  But it sounds like Purdue is the best academic fit for you with the computational finance (Xinyi Xu is the only OSU faculty member I can think of that does any finance work).  I really think that if you have a well-defined interest, it's impossible to overstate how important it is to go to a place where you'll be able to pursue it.  I'm not sure how set you are on computational finance.  If you are interested in spatial statistics or Bayesian methods, OSU has strong faculty in those areas.  I definitely think Columbus would be a better place to live for 5 years.

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Thanks for your input everyone. I eventually decided to accept the offer from OSU.

 

While I am interested in financial topics in theory, I have very little experience in this area and so I am reluctant to really view it as a well defined interest. After all, I would never have imagined even 3 years ago that I would be studying statistics at the graduate level. And I think that was the main draw of Purdue for me(or perhaps if I were dead set on an academic job, their better placement in that area), but most other factors pointed to OSU.

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Thanks for your input everyone. I eventually decided to accept the offer from OSU.

 

While I am interested in financial topics in theory, I have very little experience in this area and so I am reluctant to really view it as a well defined interest. After all, I would never have imagined even 3 years ago that I would be studying statistics at the graduate level. And I think that was the main draw of Purdue for me(or perhaps if I were dead set on an academic job, their better placement in that area), but most other factors pointed to OSU.

 

Congrats WhiteLion!  I think you made the right choice. :)

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Thanks for your input everyone. I eventually decided to accept the offer from OSU.

 

While I am interested in financial topics in theory, I have very little experience in this area and so I am reluctant to really view it as a well defined interest. After all, I would never have imagined even 3 years ago that I would be studying statistics at the graduate level. And I think that was the main draw of Purdue for me(or perhaps if I were dead set on an academic job, their better placement in that area), but most other factors pointed to OSU.

 

Congratulations! You can always have a co-advisor from the finance or econ department on your committee. OSU has a pretty solid econ program an a decent finance program I think.

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