PathIntegrals92 wrote:I don't think going to an ivy league guarantees much in the industry...if you don't have the skills, you don't get the job.
Why did you to apply to UMinn or UNotre Dame if you don't think you would be happy there ( and if you planned on transferring if you got accepted?)
I would be under the impression that Ivies and Ivy-equivalents would make it easier to get the skillsets required in industry...
Back in the days where I filled out the actual applications, I had lower standards, as far as prestige is concerned, than I have today. Only a few months out of the applications can change quite a bit.
Not that I have anything against Minnesota or Notre Dame in sheer physics terms, nor that I feel like I am unable to complete a PhD, but I had this change of mind last week to be exact. When I started this thread, I had the impression that my future would be that much brighter if I attended any of the following 14 schools because I'll have access to a much wider range of jobs at graduation, and that I look for more than a skillset or research I'd like to do in a PhD, since a PhD is the accomplishment of a lifetime:
Choosing schools to apply to from that rather narrow subset would invariably prove to be top-heavy. That said, the only improvement I can see that can be made is publishing a paper before I try again. How much help would a publication be?
However, I know from the onset that several schools are off-limits to me on that list: MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Caltech, Princeton, UChicago, Berkeley, Cornell (that is, top-10s in general, unless, somehow, a paper would allow me to consider top-10s again) so my then-list would become:
Going to the schools you listed could be a boost for people who only know those names. Also if you decide to work oversees or take jobs that travel to oversees, I am sure more people have heard of the ivies, CalTech, and MIT, but obviously not all places are going to discriminate by University name (even oversees).
Would you really want to work somewhere that will toss out your application because you didn't go to an ivy? Those places do exist. But there are plenty of places that will give you a fair chance if you work towards having the skill set they want. It's hard to do that if you don't know what types of job you will apply.
Going to Harvard and working towards becoming a string theorist (pen and paper w/ no minimal programming) will not qualify you for pretty much most engineering positions no matter what. It could qualify you for finance if you want that. Ivy/MIT/Berkeley or not, it all depends on the skills. A string theorist will have different skills than a condensed matter experimentalist. The experimentalist will probably having an easier transition into engineering.
If you want to go into the tech industry than I recommend building on your hardware as well as software skills ( probably more important these days). If you want to do finance as PhD physics than better brush up on programming (learn about finance too).
As for the other part of you said. No, going to an IVy or whatever does not mean you will have more opportunities to gain more skills. No matter you have to seek those opportunities. I can list you a dozen schools that will give you just as good skills+leading to pretty damn good job offers.
I know someone, a friend, who went to a top 50 Liberal Arts College
who got recruited by Google. My friend has been working there since. I have learned that Google interviews are intense. The stuff you see online does not even do that justice. The interviews told my friend to build some sort of circuit. They give time+the supplies and my friend had to do it all in front of them. After that a whole bunch of questions about coding etc.
My sister's friend is now going to working at Microsoft! Her friend does not go to any of the schools you listed+ the ranking of those school is not even that high, especially for computer science. Skills, skills, skills.
Going to Ivy does not guarantee you any job or jobs at big name companies. I know several who went to ivy leagues who were denied by big name Silicon Valley companies, but got couple of offers at smaller companies. FYI, I prefer smaller companies, but that's just me.
I can keep giving you examples, but I think you might get my point? Skills! You can get them, if you really want them!
Edit: I listed only tech industries. If you want to go into finance/business or wall street, you also do not need to have an ivy league degree or MIT/Caltec etc. Of course there are companies that will discriminate that way, but there are also those that won't. I seem to have more friends in science+tech+engineering, but I know of family friends that are in business/finance. The ones, I know, on wall street making $200K did not go to any of the schools you listed.