Dear DJ,

I understand your preference for California and the rationale why applied only one school. However, here are several issues you may consider before making the final decision.

First, academic is a life-long career. The PHD programs train you exclusively for teaching an research; these skills are not really portable, having little direct value outside academic. After you spend five years of your youth, you are unlikely to switch to other fields. So when making school decision, you need to look at twenty years down the road, not just five years.

Second, academic is a highly discriminary place. In research schools, you mainly do research; in teaching schools, well, teach.  The pay gap between them can be twice as high; the same goes between engineering and B-school. If you enjoy teaching, that is fine. But most people want to earn more and teach less, which means they need to get into top or first tier B-schools. If not, their changes are exceedinly slim.

I do believe you have the capability to go to top B-school and have a successful academic career. At this point, you just need a bit more courage. After all,

“Life is either a daring adventure or noting at all.”


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[Yosemite, CA, 10/06/2011]