Jonesy i totally get what your saying and support the notion that anyobne who gives that advice should be shot
WoW there's a lot of sunshine in this thread...
To people that say "you should choose (lower ranked) uni x as it has a better research supervisor than Cam/Ox".
I think this is an "eggs in one basket" strategy. If the student decides not to pursue academia they are in a dodgy position. At least with Oxbridge you have the brand to fall back on.
A straw poll of my contemporaries (Cambridge)
PhD maths - management consultancy
PhD Chem Eng - quants at investment bank
PhD Geology - GCHQ
PhD Geology - man con
MPhil History - trading desk at ibank
PhD musicology - solicitor
PhD chem - man con
BSc, PhD pharma (Aston), BA Economics (cam) - man con
can't see how the PhD has does these guys any harm...