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Old 03-18-2011, 02:50 PM   #41
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I have nothing against UW Madison but the Silicon Valley & Stanford is where the action is in her field.

The importance of professional networks cannot be underestimated and a degree from Stanford in her field needs no explanation. Alumni relationships with students transitioning to employment is outstanding.
Valid points but you may be surprised at how active and successful the UW alumni newtork is. When you are pouring out some 9000 undergrads each year
from a school that spawns a great deal of successful high achievers, it is nearly impossible not to run into a bunch of rah-rah badgers happy to cut a break for the young applicant from Madison.

The same is true for other public Ivy schools like Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, and several others. Lots of ways to get the brass ring.
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:08 PM   #42
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I have nothing against UW Madison but the Silicon Valley & Stanford is where the action is in her field.

The importance of professional networks cannot be underestimated and a degree from Stanford in her field needs no explanation. Alumni relationships with students transitioning to employment is outstanding.
I always thought that was the case too but I've had a few Stanford grads work on my teams (been working here in the Valley for 15+ years) and they all downplayed that aspect of the Alumni influence. Could just be that their expectations were too high, after all they ended up working for me, a lowly CSU grad.....

Congrats to the OP and the OP's DD - two outstanding choices!
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:36 PM   #43
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An alum from a top 10 graduate school will not have any problems getting a good job, even if the school is in Madison or Urbana-Champaign.

Being able to claim that you went to Stanford will impress people, no doubt, but the sound economic choice is obviously Wisconsin (barring a lucky break at a startup in Silly Valley).
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:43 PM   #44
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If all things were equal (or close enough), she would choose Stanford.
I am a graduate (masters) of a school that I consider very similar to UW, is also ranked among the top, and is also public. I'm in the same field as your daughter is pursuing, and over the course of my career have worked closely with colleagues from both Stanford and UW.

My impression is that both institutions turn out very high-quality, sharp people. If I were hiring someone, and I had to make the choice, it wouldn't be the school they attended (given those two, both of which are excellent), but rather broader considerations. It's what they do while they're at the school that counts, not so much the choice at the pre-entry stage.

I didn't have any assistance from my parents for graduate school (didn't ask), so it's good that you appear to be willing to provide. I am guessing that this means that the financial considerations are high on your list of concerns. A compromise might be to offer to pay the costs to cover the UW education and let her choose.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:52 PM   #45
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I would pick UW for the huge cost advantage.

In Comp Sci, the big name will count a lot for the first job. If she was looking to work in Silicon Valley, Stanford might be worth it. In the midwest, I don't think it will make so much of a difference.

My experience, back in the days when I reviewed resumes and interviewed people for jobs at a networking company, was that we didn't have much say on where the college hires came from. The company limited it to a few universities, Stanford being one, so I don't think that someone from UW would've gotten in. That may have changed since the company stock stopped doubling every year and the masses stopped getting options, so it because less desirable. Also, we didn't have a lab presence in Wisconsin or the upper midwest, otherwise we probably would've considered Big 10 schools.

Once someone had experience, it was all about the experience. I barely glanced at the education, and focused on someone having the necessary skills just to get the interview, then drilling them about those skills and other things during the interview. Of course contacts always help, but then again, if I was interviewing someone solely because someone recommended them for artificial reasons like being a fellow alum, I'd make the interview harder. This could actually work to their advantage because if they did well, I'd make a strong hire recommendation. If they stumbled ...

Also, there was always a bit of question about why someone got an advanced degree in comp sci, instead of just going out into the work force and getting experience. In the back of my mind I wondered if they just couldn't get a job out of school, or didn't really want to face the real world. I'm not that familiar with AI, maybe an advanced degree is required or desirable there.

Well, that's a long explanation of why I'd take UW for free over 6 figures at Stanford for a comp sci degree, coming from someone with a BS in Comp Sci at a state university and 25 years of experience at a couple of big name companies.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:05 PM   #46
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I would pick UW for the huge cost advantage.

Also, there was always a bit of question about why someone got an advanced degree in comp sci, instead of just going out into the work force and getting experience. In the back of my mind I wondered if they just couldn't get a job out of school, or didn't really want to face the real world. I'm not that familiar with AI, maybe an advanced degree is required or desirable there.

My area when I was in graduate school was indeed AI. And while I did some of that once I entered the working world, it wasn't the most valuable thing. But you do need an advanced degree to be taken seriously (and probably a PhD is in order).

I think the bachelor's demonstrates that you can complete something, while a masters shows a greater ability to focus on specific problems. I don't mean to be offensive there, I believe experience in the field is an equivalent to higher degrees.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:20 PM   #47
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An alum from a top 10 graduate school will not have any problems getting a good job, even if the school is in Madison or Urbana-Champaign.

Being able to claim that you went to Stanford will impress people, no doubt, but the sound economic choice is obviously Wisconsin (barring a lucky break at a startup in Silly Valley).
Ah, but that is where a very high % of technology start-ups are founded. Let's set aside the just plain technical skills taught at each institution, what other skills are also acquired? What % of graduates are in venture level companies? How about patents? Is this even something that interests the student?

There is a price paid by venture technology professionals, long hours for a start. The daughter of a classmate of mine works for Google. Her Dad, also a Stanford graduate BTW, expressed concern about the toll it takes on family life. Those professionals will earn a lot of money, sometimes a huge amount, but there is a calculus to be made here.

So, Dad talk to your daughter about not only her academic goals but about her personal goals. There are women in the Silicon Valley who are leading technology professionals and have children but they are made of tempered steel.

If she doesn't have a passion for the venture culture maybe Stanford tuition wouldn't be worth the premium.
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Old 03-18-2011, 08:02 PM   #48
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So, Dad talk to your daughter about not only her academic goals but about her personal goals. There are women in the Silicon Valley who are leading technology professionals and have children but they are made of tempered steel.

If she doesn't have a passion for the venture culture maybe Stanford tuition wouldn't be worth the premium.
Good advice. I will find out more about her career ambitions.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:14 PM   #49
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If you talk to most academics in my field (engineering) they will tell you that there isn't that much difference between top 10 schools. Stanford is tied for #1 with Berkeley, MIT and Carnegie Mellon in CS in the poll that I looked at so they are not head-and-shoulders above everyone else and according to the OP Wisconsin is #10 and therefore I think that many of the respondents recommending Stanford are under estimating Wisconsin's value.

Although I have benefited from getting a Ph.D. from a school that is usually ranked in the top 2 or 3 in my discipline in this instance I lean toward Wisconsin unless Stanford offers something unique. That is sometimes the case for a Ph.D. where the choice of thesis adviser for example is often more important than the school but in my experience it is usually not the case for a Master's.

It is true that Stanford is ground central to Silicon Valley so if your daughter thinks that being a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is her future then perhaps that is a valid argument for Stanford but I personally think that the economics are to one sided. Remember Marc Andreessen came from Illinois and he seems to have done OK in Silicon Valley.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:29 PM   #50
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FYI, I live in Silicon Valley and we have a lot of people with funny accents from exotic places like India, China and Russia.

But if you really pay attention you will also realize that we also have a fair number of blonde-headed people with funny accents (I think they call it middle American) from exotic places like Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:38 PM   #51
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It is true that Stanford is ground central to Silicon Valley so if your daughter thinks that being a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is her future then perhaps that is a valid argument for Stanford but I personally think that the economics are to one sided. Remember Marc Andreessen came from Illinois and he seems to have done OK in Silicon Valley.
Agreed - A lot of people that I know graduated from U of Minnesota are now working and doing fine at Silicon Valley.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:42 PM   #52
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I was thinking about this some more, and the Stanford prestige over wisconsin can make a big difference depending on what she does in her career. I.e., if she ever leaves a technical track and goes into management / mba / something else, people will see and remember the Stanford name on her resume. She will automatically get the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be very bright and hard working.

On the other hand, if she stays purely technical (programming, AI researcher, etc.) then the school is less important than what you've accomplished and your personal skills. It's very easy for a technical interviewer to tell if you know your stuff.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:42 PM   #53
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FYI, I live in Silicon Valley and we have a lot of people with funny accents from exotic places like India, China and Russia.

But if you really pay attention you will also realize that we also have a fair number of blonde-headed people with funny accents (I think they call it middle American) from exotic places like Minnesota and Wisconsin.
We have many people from those countries working as engineers and scientists for major medical device companies in Minnesota as well. In fact, most graduate students in engineering and science are from those regions.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:55 PM   #54
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.. If she ever leaves a technical track and goes into management / mba / something else, people will see and remember the Stanford name on her resume. She will automatically get the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be very bright and hard working.
She has no desire to get into management for now, but that could change over time. A Stanford MBA is definitely looks good in one's resume. However, a graduate engineering degree from Stanford may suffice. For instance, my manager, a MS Stanford graduate, has moved up a couple of level in 2 years. Having said that, another manager has done the same with only a B.S. from South Dakota State U. Further, the head of our division holds only a BA in liberal arts from a small local liberal arts college. The moral of the story is skills over credential.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:10 AM   #55
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She has no desire to get into management for now, but that could change over time. A Stanford MBA is definitely looks good in one's resume. However, a graduate engineering degree from Stanford may suffice. For instance, my manager, a MS Stanford graduate, has moved up a couple of level in 2 years. Having said that, another manager has done the same with only a B.S. from South Dakota State U. Further, the head of our division holds only a BA in liberal arts from a small local liberal arts college. The moral of the story is skills over credential.

Sounds to me like it is worth it to you to pay the $120K for the privilege of saying "my daughter went to Stanford". That is reasonable, if affordable.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:56 AM   #56
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Sounds to me like it is worth it to you to pay the $120K for the privilege of saying "my daughter went to Stanford". That is reasonable, if affordable.
No, that's not what I am trying to convey. Bragging about any kind of success is not my cup of tea. We are grateful for what we have and accomplished without making constant reference to those of others. A prestigious degree is definitely an advantage but pales in comparison to skills that are necessary for success. I was hoping that the example " .. another manager moved up by a two levels from a state university .. the head of our division has only a BA from a small and non-prestigious local liberal arts college .." would convey my thoughts on this matter.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:46 AM   #57
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Not really knowing about Wisconson's program let's assume that the academics are comparable. The difference is the setting, I am not talking about the weather. Stanford is the center of venture capital, where the high tech action is. There is a culture of invention. Many companies that have high impact were created by Stanford students and graduates.

Not everyone wants that environment, it is very demanding of your time and intellect. The question to ask the student is how does she want to use her skills after graduation.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:14 PM   #58
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Even if the financial situation were reversed and Stanford would be free vs. paying full cost for Wisconsin, I don't understand how your daughter could consider giving up the opportunity to become part of the tradition and culture that is UW Madison! As a Stanford grad, she'd never be allowed to wear the coveted cheesehead hat nor date the Badger offensive line. Those privileges are exclusively for "Up Nort" girls!

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Old 03-19-2011, 12:22 PM   #59
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Even if the financial situation were reversed and Stanford would be free vs. paying full cost for Wisconsin, I don't understand how your daughter could consider giving up the opportunity to become part of the tradition and culture that is UW Madison! As a Stanford grad, she'd never be allowed to wear the coveted cheesehead hat nor date the Badger offensive line. Those privileges are exclusively for "Up Nort" girls!

Ha! HA! We have already been teasing her about being a cheese head and a badgers fan.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:26 PM   #60
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Not everyone wants that environment, it is very demanding of your time and intellect. The question to ask the student is how does she want to use her skills after graduation.
Hi Brat,

That's true. She likes the idea working for Goggle someday. It's very competitive to get in, however. I have no doubts that she can get into any company or government agencies if she's determined.

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