I should have said that in a better way but what I meant was that I have been working with this prof in chem engg for about 1.5yr unofficially while I have been doing my masters in civil. So, I talked to this prof about the time it would take if I were to continue for a phd and he said it would be about 3 to 4 years. He said typically for a fresh graduate it should be 4.5 to 6 years depending on the person. I have looked up at the websites and talked to friends of these top universities and the trend is more like 5 to 6 years. So yes, they should take the same time but in my case I can save time if I do it here. From a research point of view, I know the department and the prof has good facilities for the work I intend to do by looking at his funding and publications. What I am concerned about is in the eyes of the employers, do they have a bias towards students coming from a top ten university or do they view strictly from an individual standpoint like looking at the student's ability, his publications, internships etc.? In other words, what is the gap from an employer's viewpoint of a person coming for harvard against a person coming from rpi? If someone could throw more light on this, it would be very helpful.