I got admitted to a small MS program in the US with an assistantship and I still have not decided if I should accept the offer or not. The reason is that I want to pursue a PhD and build an academic career in the field of Chemistry. However, I come from a small institution in a developing country with little research, so I cannot just apply to a top graduate program such as Berkeley or Harvard because I would be in serious disadvantage in comparison to the hundreds of other applicants which have publications and vast research experience. In your opinion, is obtaining a MS degree in an American institution, even though it is in a very small program, something that would improve my chances of being accepted into a decent PhD program in the future?
I could also try those smalls PhD programs in institutions ranked below the top 100 (according to THE or QS) but I heard from a lot of people that a PhD in such an institution would add nothing to your career, since there are many PhDs graduating from top institutions and it is already hard for them to get a job, so your chances of succeeding either in an academic or industrial career would be quite low, and most of them have to find something else to do (work at a home depot, open a clothing shop etc, just kidding).