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Are Oxford and Cambridge any good at setting you up for a career? Watch

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    After talking extensively with my parents about university (mum used to work at Huddersfield Uni so she's quite experienced) I have a few questions about Oxbridge. I'm not sure if this is the right area for it, but anyway:

    I've always wanted to go to PhD level at Oxbridge, mainly because of prestiege as I'd never really considered what PhDs actually DO. My parents have said that going for a PhD means that I'll be in academia for ages and that lots of PhD folk become lecturers and the like because they have no practical work experience since Oxbridge apparently don't allow you to have sandwich years (or so I've heard). Is this dangerous?

    In fact, even if I only went for a Masters (which seems like the option I'll choose in the end), will this lack of experience hurt me? My dad's a higher-up in his company and he's told me time and again that when it comes to the interview, though a PhD certainly looks good on your CV, without any work experience he'll put you at the bottom of the pile because "in the end, of course your education matters, but experience is just as important".

    I've rambled a bit, so I'll sum all this up:
    1. Do Oxbridge actually give you the work experience you need for a career?
    2. Are my parents right about the importance of said experience and the lack of sandwich years at Oxbridge?
    3. Am I better off going for a 'third place' Uni if they do sandwich year courses?

    I should note that I've just finished my GCSEs and start my A Levels next Monday, and that the potential Uni courses I'm interested in our Science, Computing and Natural Science related. (Also, if I've put this in the wrong forum, can a mod move it? Thanks!)
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    (Original post by Retrospectre)
    2. Are my parents right about the importance of said experience and the lack of sandwich years at Oxbridge?
    Mate, if you got any degree at an Oxbridge university, they most likely won't put you at the bottom of the pile (even with no work experience). I say this, but I suppose it depends what job as well. Good luck.
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    (Original post by Retrospectre)
    After talking extensively with my parents about university (mum used to work at Huddersfield Uni so she's quite experienced) I have a few questions about Oxbridge. I'm not sure if this is the right area for it, but anyway:

    I've always wanted to go to PhD level at Oxbridge, mainly because of prestiege as I'd never really considered what PhDs actually DO. My parents have said that going for a PhD means that I'll be in academia for ages and that lots of PhD folk become lecturers and the like because they have no practical work experience since Oxbridge apparently don't allow you to have sandwich years (or so I've heard). Is this dangerous?

    In fact, even if I only went for a Masters (which seems like the option I'll choose in the end), will this lack of experience hurt me? My dad's a higher-up in his company and he's told me time and again that when it comes to the interview, though a PhD certainly looks good on your CV, without any work experience he'll put you at the bottom of the pile because "in the end, of course your education matters, but experience is just as important".

    I've rambled a bit, so I'll sum all this up:
    1. Do Oxbridge actually give you the work experience you need for a career?
    2. Are my parents right about the importance of said experience and the lack of sandwich years at Oxbridge?
    3. Am I better off going for a 'third place' Uni if they do sandwich year courses?

    I should note that I've just finished my GCSEs and start my A Levels next Monday, and that the potential Uni courses I'm interested in our Science, Computing and Natural Science related. (Also, if I've put this in the wrong forum, can a mod move it? Thanks!)
    There a few confusions going on here. First of all, one of the most common reasons for doing a PhD is to become an academic. It's more or less a pre-requisite for most university academic jobs. But if this is your goal, you don't need a sandwich year, you will have studied in universities for many years and that is the relevant experience in itself, so no 'sandwich year' is relevant or required.

    If you want to get a PhD but work in business/R&D, then there can be issues about practical experience, but a sandwich year as an undergraduate is only one option. First of all, many employers of PhDs will understand that applicants may only have lab or desk based experience and can deal with that. Second, employers recruit PhDs especially for their highly academic skills and can deal with that. Third, through the course of your studies you can make sure you develop the necessary soft, workplace skills. Fourth, your Masters and PhD don't have to be directly consecutive, you can step out and get work experience in between courses if you feel that would improve your employability.

    The above is the case whatever university you go to, Oxbridge or not. Oxford and Cambridge work you harder than most, and they don't have sandwich courses at undergrad level, but on the other hand, they do have longer holidays so you can get work experience then. They also have outstanding networks and having a degree from one of those institutions will make sure your job application is read with interest in pretty much everywhere.

    tl:dr 1. Yes, 2. No, 3. No
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    There a few confusions going on here. First of all, one of the most common reasons for doing a PhD is to become an academic. It's more or less a pre-requisite for most university academic jobs. But if this is your goal, you don't need a sandwich year, you will have studied in universities for many years and that is the relevant experience in itself, so no 'sandwich year' is relevant or required.

    If you want to get a PhD but work in business/R&D, then there can be issues about practical experience, but a sandwich year as an undergraduate is only one option. First of all, many employers of PhDs will understand that applicants may only have lab or desk based experience and can deal with that. Second, employers recruit PhDs especially for their highly academic skills and can deal with that. Third, through the course of your studies you can make sure you develop the necessary soft, workplace skills. Fourth, your Masters and PhD don't have to be directly consecutive, you can step out and get work experience in between courses if you feel that would improve your employability.

    The above is the case whatever university you go to, Oxbridge or not. Oxford and Cambridge work you harder than most, and they don't have sandwich courses at undergrad level, but on the other hand, they do have longer holidays so you can get work experience then. They also have outstanding networks and having a degree from one of those institutions will make sure your job application is read with interest in pretty much everywhere.

    tl:dr 1. Yes, 2. No, 3. No
    I think I'll probably go down the Masters route based on your answer. Do you know if I'd be allowed to, for example, do a 3 year Bachelors and then a 2 year part-time Masters if a company wanted me to do it part-time?
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    (Original post by Retrospectre)
    I think I'll probably go down the Masters route based on your answer. Do you know if I'd be allowed to, for example, do a 3 year Bachelors and then a 2 year part-time Masters if a company wanted me to do it part-time?
    Yes, at Cambridge their part time courses are called MSt's, though they don't do them in all subjects. At Oxford an MSt is something different I think.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Yes, at Cambridge their part time courses are called MSt's, though they don't do them in all subjects. At Oxford an MSt is something different I think.
    Ah I see, that's good! That might be an option I'd consider then, to add some work experience to my repertoire
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Yes, at Cambridge their part time courses are called MSt's, though they don't do them in all subjects. At Oxford an MSt is something different I think.
    Yeah it's broadly what might be an MA at other places
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    (Original post by Retrospectre)
    After talking extensively with my parents about university (mum used to work at Huddersfield Uni so she's quite experienced) I have a few questions about Oxbridge. I'm not sure if this is the right area for it, but anyway:

    I've always wanted to go to PhD level at Oxbridge, mainly because of prestiege as I'd never really considered what PhDs actually DO. My parents have said that going for a PhD means that I'll be in academia for ages and that lots of PhD folk become lecturers and the like because they have no practical work experience since Oxbridge apparently don't allow you to have sandwich years (or so I've heard). Is this dangerous?

    In fact, even if I only went for a Masters (which seems like the option I'll choose in the end), will this lack of experience hurt me? My dad's a higher-up in his company and he's told me time and again that when it comes to the interview, though a PhD certainly looks good on your CV, without any work experience he'll put you at the bottom of the pile because "in the end, of course your education matters, but experience is just as important".

    I've rambled a bit, so I'll sum all this up:
    1. Do Oxbridge actually give you the work experience you need for a career?
    2. Are my parents right about the importance of said experience and the lack of sandwich years at Oxbridge?
    3. Am I better off going for a 'third place' Uni if they do sandwich year courses?

    I should note that I've just finished my GCSEs and start my A Levels next Monday, and that the potential Uni courses I'm interested in our Science, Computing and Natural Science related. (Also, if I've put this in the wrong forum, can a mod move it? Thanks!)
    You've just finished GCSE.
    Just concentrate on a-level subjects you chose and work very hard to bet great grades in it.
    You can worry about which uni to go, then think about if you want to continue to postgraduate or not after that. Until then you will not know what you really want to do in career or, more crucially, how capable you are.
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    You've just finished GCSE.
    Just concentrate on a-level subjects you chose and work very hard to bet great grades in it.
    You can worry about which uni to go, then think about if you want to continue to postgraduate or not after that. Until then you will not know what you really want to do in career or, more crucially, how capable you are.
    This is also true... Ah, I suppose I'm just too much a meticulous future planner! I'll see how my first year goes
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    The course won't give you much work experience I guess but when you leave you'll head onto great things, skip many of the ranks and get excellent experience that no sandwich year could offer.
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    Oxford doesn't allow sandwich years, that doesn't mean that you're unable to get work experience though because you've got long vacations and an excellent careers service that helps you get great internships. Okay, a placement isn't served to you on a plate but as long as you're proactive, you can get great placements. Whilst it's true that Oxford and Cambridge do generate more academics than a lot of other universities, that definitely doesn't mean that an Oxbridge degree harms your career prospects outside of academia. It couldn't be further from the truth.
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    A PhD is a research degree. You are a highly educated employee discovering things about the world that no one else in the world knew before. It is not some pre-city qualification which gives you 'work experience' in a bank or whatever.

    Los of people get internships etc, some of them very highly paid, in the summer breaks in undergrad.
 
 
 
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