HELP! PhD at Cambridge (Sociology) or Warwick (CIM)? (both are fully funded) Watch

phdsoc
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Ok, so, I am in a dilemma. I have been accepted at both Cambridge and Warwick with a fully-funded PhD (overseas student). I really don't know what to do and I need to decide before Friday. My supervisor at Warwick (and the centre where I've been accepted) are just fantastic. They are doing super innovative research and she has been extremely supportive throughout my application process. In contrast, my supervisor at Cambridge has not been as responsive and at times I find their research to be a bit outdated.

In a nutshell, the biggest pros about Cambridge, for me, are a) being surrounded by an inspiring community, b) the legitimacy that comes with the name (especially if I plan to do something back home). The cons are a) maybe I am not with the right supervisor but idn yet, b) intensive competition and elitist environment.

The pros at Warwick are a) that I am more interested in the research they are doing, b) the supervisor. The cons are: Coventry (do not need to expand on this) and the fact that you are quite alone during the research process (everyone lives in London).

What shall I do?! My future plans are to either stay in academia or do consultancy for international organisations (I come from a super interdisciplinary field).

Thanks so much!!!
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threeportdrift
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What ‘intensive competition and elitist environment’?
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Scotney
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(Original post by phdsoc)
Ok, so, I am in a dilemma. I have been accepted at both Cambridge and Warwick with a fully-funded PhD (overseas student). I really don't know what to do and I need to decide before Friday. My supervisor at Warwick (and the centre where I've been accepted) are just fantastic. They are doing super innovative research and she has been extremely supportive throughout my application process. In contrast, my supervisor at Cambridge has not been as responsive and at times I find their research to be a bit outdated.

In a nutshell, the biggest pros about Cambridge, for me, are a) being surrounded by an inspiring community, b) the legitimacy that comes with the name (especially if I plan to do something back home). The cons are a) maybe I am not with the right supervisor but idn yet, b) intensive competition and elitist environment.

The pros at Warwick are a) that I am more interested in the research they are doing, b) the supervisor. The cons are: Coventry (do not need to expand on this) and the fact that you are quite alone during the research process (everyone lives in London).

What shall I do?! My future plans are to either stay in academia or do consultancy for international organisations (I come from a super interdisciplinary field).

Thanks so much!!!
It can be very lonely doing a Phd and I can say in my son's experience having done his Masters at York and now Phd at Cambridge he feels much happier being surrounded by a large post grad community at Cambridge. His supervisor seemed super supportive before he got to York (actually sought him out after he did not get the Phd he applied for)but once he started was not very available or overly interested. He only knew a few post grads who worked in his lab and social life was limited. In contrast he is living his best life at Cambridge and is never short of friends or invites. Have you visited both places? What has put you off Cambridge. Please do not be put off by all the hoops the admissions process makes you jump through. Son hates GAO with a passion!
I think you will find the post grad community very diverse and open minded at Cambridge. Well that's my two pennies worth. Goodluck with your decision.
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phdsoc
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
What ‘intensive competition and elitist environment’?
Hey! Well, things that I commonly hear and read about this institution... perhaps it relates to the weight of the name, the fact that is dominated by the white-male upper class, and so on. Maybe this drastically differs from undergrad to postgrad... what do you think?
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phdsoc
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(Original post by Scotney)
It can be very lonely doing a Phd and I can say in my son's experience having done his Masters at York and now Phd at Cambridge he feels much happier being surrounded by a large post grad community at Cambridge. His supervisor seemed super supportive before he got to York (actually sought him out after he did not get the Phd he applied for)but once he started was not very available or overly interested. He only knew a few post grads who worked in his lab and social life was limited. In contrast he is living his best life at Cambridge and is never short of friends or invites. Have you visited both places? What has put you off Cambridge. Please do not be put off by all the hoops the admissions process makes you jump through. Son hates GAO with a passion!
I think you will find the post grad community very diverse and open minded at Cambridge. Well that's my two pennies worth. Goodluck with your decision.
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this with me!! I think the post-grad community is something I am really craving for. I have started my PhD already (in Germany) and the level of loneliness and lack of institutional support is simply too much for me at the moment. I fear that in Coventry I might be in the same situation... best of lucks to your son!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by phdsoc)
Hey! Well, things that I commonly hear and read about this institution... perhaps it relates to the weight of the name, the fact that is dominated by the white-male upper class, and so on. Maybe this drastically differs from undergrad to postgrad... what do you think?
Complete and utter nonsense at both undergrad and postgrad. Based on two degrees, working there and living there. If you are British, chances are very high that you will be in the minority on your PG course.
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phdsoc
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Complete and utter nonsense at both undergrad and postgrad. Based on two degrees, working there and living there. If you are British, chances are very high that you will be in the minority on your PG course.
That's good to hear! I am Mexican/Lebanese (which is why I am struggling to understand how academia works in the UK). So, based on your experience, you would argue that Cambridge is a better place than Warwick for a PhD? Thank you!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by phdsoc)
That's good to hear! I am Mexican/Lebanese (which is why I am struggling to understand how academia works in the UK). So, based on your experience, you would argue that Cambridge is a better place than Warwick for a PhD? Thank you!
Well, I'm not a sociologist, but I have done a PhD at Cambridge. I just think your cons for Cambridge are false, and therefore the pro's may have it. If you are going to work in an international environment, the Cambridge name carries substantially more weight. Unless your hiring manager is always going to be someone who knows the nuances of every academic working internationally in your area of expertise, and Warwick is stronger, then Cambridge is always going to be the stronger name - certainly for consultancies.

A funded PhD is always going to stand out for employers, but a funded PhD at Cambridge is always going to stand out in any and every environment. You are, in effect, suggesting turning that down because of a stronger relationship already established at Warwick. Is your Warwick Supervisor more impressive and career sustaining than having Cambridge on your CV forever, even if your Cam Supervisor needs chasing for 3 years?
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phdsoc
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Well, I'm not a sociologist, but I have done a PhD at Cambridge. I just think your cons for Cambridge are false, and therefore the pro's may have it. If you are going to work in an international environment, the Cambridge name carries substantially more weight. Unless your hiring manager is always going to be someone who knows the nuances of every academic working internationally in your area of expertise, and Warwick is stronger, then Cambridge is always going to be the stronger name - certainly for consultancies.

A funded PhD is always going to stand out for employers, but a funded PhD at Cambridge is always going to stand out in any and every environment. You are, in effect, suggesting turning that down because of a stronger relationship already established at Warwick. Is your Warwick Supervisor more impressive and career sustaining than having Cambridge on your CV forever, even if your Cam Supervisor needs chasing for 3 years?
Thank you for your response. I think you are absolutely right and I really appreciate you taking your time to share this with me. It has certainly helped me! Those 'cons' I wrote are based on things I've read online and comments from people which, actually, have never studied there and just have bias opinions about the Oxbridge system... I have personally never been to Coventry or to Cambridge, perhaps that would make my decision easier as well.
Thank you!
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Scotney
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(Original post by phdsoc)
Thank you for your response. I think you are absolutely right and I really appreciate you taking your time to share this with me. It has certainly helped me! Those 'cons' I wrote are based on things I've read online and comments from people which, actually, have never studied there and just have bias opinions about the Oxbridge system... I have personally never been neither in Coventry nor in Cambridge, perhaps that would make my decision easier as well.
Thank you!
Oh then go to Cambridge it is just gorgeous. You will fall in love with it I promise.
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