Anyone used a mba for a research degree?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macgrl, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. macgrl macrumors 65816

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #1
    I am considering doing a phd later this year and don't really want to be carrying my mbp around with me to the library, to interviews, traveling etc. So needs to be light and portable.

    :)

    It is a law based degree so any computer that I get will be used for writing and researching, no processor intensive design programs or anything like that.

    Has anyone here got a mba for a research degree etc? What are your thoughts.
     
  2. cbronfman macrumors 6502

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    #2
    MBA is ideal for the use you want

    I can't think of a single reason why the MBA would not be ideal for your needs. In other words, it should be great. My only caution is to back-up regularly. The MBA is NOT more prone to failures than any other Apple (I got the SSD drive when the MBA first came out - Rev. A and it's working great - but you don't want your dissertation to disappear.) Now bigger drives are available and you'll have more than enough space for any database you need to store, Lexus access etc. .

    Many moons ago, I got a PhD in financial economics. I doubt the MBA would be any good for large computational programming, but fine for what you need.
     
  3. Spacekatgal macrumors regular

    Spacekatgal

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    #3
    Must agree, it's perfect for that. Totally perfect.

    Bri
     
  4. Airforcekid macrumors 65816

    Airforcekid

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  5. tangje macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I treated myself to a MBA for my PhD studies after hauling a 7lb Toshiba around during my MSc. It has been a wonderful decision. Portability was my primary deciding factor at the time. The MBA is perfect for my needs. Internet, email, and office-type programs. The only hiccup, which I lived with for two years, was not being able to run a lightweight stats program that I was fond of on OSX. Then I discovered Wine and now everything is great.
     
  6. InfoSecmgr Guest

    InfoSecmgr

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    #6
    Interesting. I did just the opposite. I am starting a Ph.D program this coming fall and I purchased a 17 inch MBP. It's not that I need the CPU power, I configured it with the i5 instead of the i7. My only real interest was screen size.
     
  7. jjellino macrumors newbie

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    Jun 21, 2010
    #7
    Anyone experience running NVivo 8 on a MBA?

    I am in the final stages of the PhD and have to get a new computer. I will need to run NVivo 8 so will require MBA to run Windows and the system requirements are: Processor 1.2 GHz Pentium III-compatible processor 1.6GHz Pentium 4-compatible processor or faster
    Memory 512MB RAM 1GB RAM or more
    I really want an MBA - they are sooo cool and so light!:)
    Thanks Jo
     
  8. tenPlus macrumors newbie

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    Apr 29, 2010
    #8
    Currently using one for Biomedical Science PhD.

    Recommend getting the SSD version. Happy with it so far....well things do go awry. After updating the system to 10.6.4, the thing just beeps 3 times/ 5sec pause/ beeps 3 times. Found out it means the Ram failed the memory test. Since the memory is physically part of the board (could be wrong) I have to take it in to have them take care of it. This even happened with the last laptop I had a, Sony Vaio so I am not stressed. Why no stress, I started using the mobile me idisk for all my files so I could access them from my desktop, iphone, or ipad...otherwise I would be screwed since my latest manuscript is in progress. Good luck with the law degree if pursued, I have used the MBA extensively for data analysis and writing.

    S
     
  9. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #9
    I LOVE ultra portable computing and I would say the MBA would be the perfect fit. I plan on getting one (as soon as they refresh).

    I like having a computer that doesn't get in the way of what I am trying to do. A small, portable, thin and light computer is something that I wouldn't even notice. (I don't notice my iPad one bit).
     
  10. macgrl thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #10
    Thanks for the advice guys. I am def going to get the ssd, I have one in my mbp and it flys. Best decision I ever made getting it with the ssd. I love it. So fast. :)
     
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    #11
    A thousand times this. At the very minimum you should sign up for Dropbox if you haven't already. Use it to store your research, and it will stay in sync between your Air and Pro.
     
  12. Alkiera macrumors regular

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    Mar 11, 2008
    #12
    You'd be okay if you ran windows via Bootcamp, but the MBA does NOT do well running Windows in Parallels or VMware's Fusion, which I know from experience. You CAN do it, it's just slow, and you can't allocate much RAM to the virtual machine, as you only have 2GB total, and it's not expandable.


    As far as using them for school; I got mine while doing my undergrad work in Comp. Sci... I much preferred the light weight when carrying it all over campus, and I was able to do a lot of my programming work (Java development, etc) on it with no problems. A major point for me was the keyboard size; as I touch type and can't deal with the cramped keyboards on a lot of smaller laptops, and I need a lot of the symbol keys that laptop makers like to move around or remove altogether. I still carry it everywhere in a backpack post-graduation, though I've considered replacing it for my mobile browsing/video/whatever needs with a 3G iPad or one of the large-screen smartphones. For development stuff, though, the Air is great.
     
  13. captainthrall macrumors newbie

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    Jun 22, 2010
    #13
    maccy lappy good n bad zomg pizza

    alright, so i am a college student with a 2 year old macbook air.(first addition baby i was one of the cool kids!)

    So on one hand, i absolutely hate my MBA because it cant really play games, it cant really even browse the internet efficiently if we are talking about having multiple windows open with multiple tabs with flash, and video, and blah blah blah you know how we coffeeholics browse. MBA cannot handle that type of use to be honest.

    However.... what it IS awesome at is wordprocessing like whoa. I dont ever ever power-off my MBA, i just close it and slide it into my mag. it weighs less than a pad of paper(seriously!) and is as thin as a folder. My physics lab partner calls it the discus because he says it is perfectly aerodynamically designed to be thrown like a frisbee.

    ok wait.... back to the point. macbook air is nice for campus travelers because you can open and close it quickly with nearly instant refresh times after opening it. it is light, and slim, and can definitely handle intense word processing. so as youre trudging around from the library to the coffee shop to the boyfriends apartment, lugging a MBA around is no problemo. but, if you need to do graphics processing, or matlab type of stuff, dont get a MBA.
     
  14. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #14
    I don't think there is much doubt that for research and writing of the sort required in studying law, the MBA would be a perfect fit. I don't know whether WordPerfect is still the de facto word processing program for lawyers as it once was but I doubt it. MS Word seems to have supplanted WordPerfect as the go to word processing program nearly everywhere. I'm old fashioned so I often still use an ancient installation of WordPerfect 12 in Windows 7 running in a VMware fusion VM on my MBP. I think that would be overkill for most users who didn't have a big collection of WordPerfect wpd files. The only other app I can think of that you might use, if you are given access to it, is a Web based legal research site, such as Westlaw or LexisNexis. Fortunately Word and a Web based research site are the sorts of thing that shouldn't cause the MBA to even break a sweat.
     
  15. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

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    #15
    For the record, I prefer to use Pages over Word...but that's cos I'm an undergrad and paying less is rather important to me.

    That and, in contribution to the OP, which at this point seems moot, I am doing research with my MBA, which I think is just a delight. Portability is the key aspect of the MBA, and the fact that legal research is just not demanding makes the MBA an ideal candidate.
     
  16. manhattanboy macrumors 6502a

    manhattanboy

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    #16
    It can crunch large stuff, esp. if the program can use both of the MBAs cores.
     
  17. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #17
    You have to pay for Pages, which is part of the iWork suite. A better bet might be Google Docs. It is a Web based office applications suite. It seems to be pretty good. Better yet, it's free.
     
  18. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

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    #18
    This is true, but Pages is cheaper. and google docs doesn't do footnotes the way we need to do them, unfortunately.
     
  19. coast1ja macrumors 6502

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    Jul 13, 2009
    #19
    I am one of the biggest MBA fans on these forums, but I must provide a dissenting opinion here (pun intended).

    I recently finished a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and used an MBA for about a year. Now I was trained in quantitative research using statistics packages like SPSS, LISREL, Mplus, R, MultiLog, ggum, etc. and I must say that the MBA was not suited for this type of work.

    The main problem was that most of the statistics packages only work in windows. The MBA is SEVERELY limited by the 2gb of ram when it comes to running virtual machines.

    example, real-life scenario:

    Problem: You are in an item response theory class and are asked to run item characteristic curves using ggum for an experimental biodata measure for use in a large manufacturing organization.

    Solution: After trying to use my MBA to run a virtual windows 7 machine, which itself needed to run an XP VM (since ggum only works on XP), the macbook Air quite literally crashed under the pressure. I had to look over my neighbor's shoulder for the rest of class.

    The next day I brought my 2.66ghz C2D with SSD to the class, hoping the same situation would not happen again. We were asked to run the same analysis... so I started up the Windows 7 VM, running the XP VM, and the same run took only 32 seconds, the fastest run in the class by 15 seconds.


    This long story isn't meant to dissuade you from the MBA, but just be wary of the limitations of the machine. Perhaps it will work for you perfectly, but it didn't for me. I ended up getting rid of the MBA and I couldn't be happier with my decision to keep the MBP... now if a new MBA were to be released, I would have to think long and hard about getting it!

    Anyway, good luck on your PhD!... it's a long road, but it's certainly worth it!
     
  20. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

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    #20
    This is a good point, however, it is inapplicable to the OP. As far as I know, a PhD in law requires very little statistical analysis. If statistical analysis was a requirement of the OP, you would be quite correct in asserting the MBA as not adequate, however there is little to suggest this.
     
  21. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #21
    I have to disagree. I would assume that any research-based Ph.D. program is going to use statistical modeling and probably Windows-based applications for analysis. I went from B.Sc. in Accounting, to an M.B.A. to a Ph.D. in Management. I needed more intensive computer programs as I progressed further even though anyone would guess that an Accounting B.Sc. probably required the most intensive computer work and mathematics. The mathematics in Accounting are actually a joke (simple mathematics) even though the "normal" thought might be something completely different.

    One would be surprised what that research degree MIGHT probably entail; I wonder if the OP is maybe off on the program of if I am off on guessing from my experience what it will be? I would think they're going to expect a lot of understanding research which comes from statistical analysis requiring very intensive and specific programs that usually always run on Windows only. Maybe law is completely different??? But to me mathematical models show patterns of behavior which would be researched in the Ph.D. program, or not?
     
  22. macgrl thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #22
    Thanks for the replies guys. I am not envisaging a lot of statistical analysis that will require a lot of processing power, if I do have to do some I have a mbp (see signiture) that will handle most things that can be thrown at it .:)
     
  23. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #23
    The need for footnotes is what kept me, and many other lawyers, in the WordPerfect camp, long after Word had supplanted it as the de facto standard word processing program in most other areas. I'm glad to hear that Pages handles footnoting well.
     
  24. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #24
    Makes sense then. I definitely wasn't saying the MBA isn't right for you... I just think you might be surprised to learn of some Windows based applications. I would plan on buying a Windows 7 disk (about $60 education market) and run it via BootCamp IF you need it.

    Good luck and congrats on the program and MBA.
     
  25. PowerGamerX macrumors 6502a

    PowerGamerX

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    Aug 9, 2009
    #25
    It's great, I love using it in college, even the 2009/2010 models can play some casual games when a class is boring you! They are very snappy for anything not graphics or extremely CPU intensive, basically for anything that most people would want to do.

    It sounds perfect for you, OP.
     

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