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Foreign students who move up from grad school to postdoc

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  • Thread starter Simfish
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  • #1
Simfish
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So it's often said that the prestige of the grad school does matter when it comes to getting a postdoc at a prestigious institution (and that the prestige of the postdoc matters the most when it comes to getting an assistant professorship).

One thing I've noticed though - a lot of foreign students had to settle for mediocre grad schools, but were then able to get postdocs in prestigious universities.

Is this mostly because the foreign students at a grad school tend to be analytically stronger than domestic students at the same school? (simply since it's harder for foreign students to get in?). And does this tend to show when it comes to performance in graduate school? Do postdoc-hiring institutions take that international status into account, sometimes? (perhaps an extra "bump" wouldn't be needed at all, although strong people at weaker grad schools sometimes do have somewhat weaker opportunities)
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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So it's often said that the prestige of the grad school does matter when it comes to getting a postdoc at a prestigious institution (and that the prestige of the postdoc matters the most when it comes to getting an assistant professorship.
Who says that?

The second part of your statement is completely untrue. Nobody cares how "prestigious" a postdoc is. They care what you did with it.

The first part reverses cause and effect. People from good schools get good postdocs becasue they were smart enough to get into good schools.
 
  • #3
Simfish
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Who says that?

The second part of your statement is completely untrue. Nobody cares how "prestigious" a postdoc is. They care what you did with it.
Some comments I read on cosmic variance and college confidential.

But I just googled up more information about it and you're right.

===

The first part reverses cause and effect. People from good schools get good postdocs becasue they were smart enough to get into good schools.
Okay true. I guess I let myself get too swayed by a random comment I saw on cosmic variance.
 
  • #4
ZapperZ
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You really should stop wasting your time and effort on things like that. At some point, you need to step back and consider the quality of your sources.

We love to tackle real issues on here. We do not have the patience to deal with topics that have very little validity other than off-the-cuff remarks that are no better than rumors.

Zz.
 
  • #5
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I agree with ZapperZ.

It's probably helpful in the long run to spend less time reading College Confidential and more time reading Jackson. :smile:
 
  • #6
Simfish
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Okay sure, I'll be more careful next time.
 
  • #7
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One thing I've noticed though - a lot of foreign students had to settle for mediocre grad schools, but were then able to get postdocs in prestigious universities.
"mediocre" != "not big name"

Getting a postdoc means that you get to stay in the US for a few more years while your application for permanent residency is being processed.

Also foreign students are willing to go to North Podunk University. For most American citizens, if you don't get into the top physics grad schools, then its off to law school or an MBA.

Also, it works the opposite way. Once you have some committed junior faculty and some brilliant grad students, then you can put your school on the map. It's very different from undergraduate. With undergraduate, you graduate 2000 a year, and one student doesn't matter. For graduate schools, the smaller schools graduate one or two people a year, and if that one person is totally brilliant, then that changes the reputation of the department.

For that matter, when you go out for faculty positions, your personal reputation counts for more than the reputation of the school. In any given field, there are probably about a dozen people working on it, and if you apply for a faculty position, and no one has heard of you, then you aren't getting the job. People should (and generally do) know that names of every single post-doc working in their area of research.
 
  • #8
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Also prestige doesn't matter. Networks do matter.
 

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