Decision Help: Oxford fully-funded DPhil in Computer Science vs Columbia MSc in Computer Science
I got admitted into these two programs as follows:
1) Oxford University fully-funded DPhil in Computer Science. The program primarily involves Formal Verification of hardware and software system using various tools (machine learning, etc.).
2) Columbia University MSc in Computer Science (machine learning track). This program is self-funded and will cost around 100,000USD in total. BTW, money is not too big an issue for me.
My final goal is to work in a leading tech company (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.) in the US, simply because they pay much more than companies in the UK do. I am from China, so Visa might be taken into account.
The biggest advantages of Oxford are first, a Ph.D. directly; second, fully-funded. However, it is in the field of formal verification. I am super okay with the machine learning element. However, I am not sure if I will have a good time working on the formal verification part and I am not sure about the prospect of this field as in whether it will help me get a well-paid job or a good research position in a company. If I choose this program, my plan is to either do a post-doctor in the USA and then work for a company or find a job in the USA right after Ph.D.
As for Columbia, I can take advantage of this master's to strengthen my background in machine learning and computer vision and I might have a chance to stay at Columbia to do a Ph.D. with one of the "big names" in machine learning or computer vision. However, it will also be very hard because my current background in this field is very barren and there are a lot of top students from all over the world to compete for the very few Ph.D. positions each year. To be honest, a Ph.D. in other good US computer science schools is also fine but just not sure about how hard it is to apply after a master's at Columbia and if it is worth it. Even though I fail to get a PhD, it will still be easy for me to find a job with a master's from Columbia.
Any input on this issue will be highly appreciated. Thanks!