Finding a path for PhD
One of my students once came to me asking about PhD studentship. He told me, “Sir I want to go to Australia to do my PhD”, what do you think? I asked him, why do you want to go to Australia to do your PhD? He replied that it would help him to get Immigration there. I told him, it seems you need to have a certificate of Immigration after completion of your PhD degree. But you should better look for a certificate of good scientist after completion of your PhD degree. How it works? A good quality publication can give you that certificate. PhD degree will make a student expert on the field. It is better to give high priority on that rather than other issues like immigration, scholarship money, living comfort etc.
There is an increasing trend of Bangladeshi young graduates to go for PhD by choosing the country or scholarship first. It is very strange to me because not only in a country but also within an institute, the standard of research among laboratories varies a lot. Therefore, choosing laboratory should be the first step to go for PhD. If any young graduate plans to do PhD, the first step would be to choose the field of research. Once you fix the field of interest, then try to do a project (MS thesis or after MS) in that field to gain some research experience. While doing research find a potential lab using Medline search (www.pubmed.com). Look for the Principle investigator(PI) working in the field of your interest and publishing high impact journals in current days. Write to them seeking for a PhD studentship.
It is better not to be in hurry to get PhD. I heard from many PhD students that they are frustrated about their work. This happens when anyone decide a PhD studentship based on country, scholarship money etc. They didn’t think about the area of research they were interested in or the quality of research going on in that lab. This is the usual scenario of a graduate for entering in a PhD program. Having said all these, it is true that most of the PI’s of the potential labs will not reply to the email but think; you need only one positive reply. Although it might take a little long to get entrance in such laboratory, it will make you different in future. You will be front-runner for good post doc and ultimately faculty/scientist positions.
Most PhD students quit science after their post-docs because they don’t find a good job. If you apply for a scientist or faculty position they first look at your publication quality, not the country, or the scholarship you had during PhD etc. If you have good publication quality, you are front-runner. Scholarship quality, university from where you had your PhD comes far later. And only a high profile laboratory can help in this issue.
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