I work in industry. I applied to a good mid-tier biochemistry PhD program and was accepted. College buddies, who are now grad students at prestigious programs are advising me to break my word/signed acceptance to start with this program in the fall and apply to prestigious programs the next application cycle.
The thought of doing this feels horrible. I enjoyed meeting faculty on a visit, and my acceptance took a spot from a hopeful student on the wait list.
At the same time, I'm feeling "FOMO" at the reality of being a less competitive applicant for career opportunities as a result of not attending a top program. I acknowledge that the faculty I spoke to at this mid-tier program all earned their PhDs from top programs. Lastly, I must admit, I dreamed of being at a top program while working in my undergrad years.
I'm torn, and have only heard advice from current grad students on the matter - who are fairly one-sided on what they think is best.
What would you do, personally, in this position?
Thanks for your time.
Edit - I realized I didn't tell you what my goals are! Sorry! I'd like to do research in a government or industrial setting. I'd like to one day work my way up to running a group. I should add that at the time of applying, I was feeling disillusioned with academia as a result of a poor fitting 4-year long mentorship - so I applied to one program where I felt very comfortable. Thanks again.