Foreign students who move up from grad school to postdoc

In summary, a prestigious grad school does not guarantee a prestigious postdoc, but a prestigious postdoc does guarantee a prestigious job. Foreign students are more likely to get a postdoc at a prestigious institution if they have a mediocre grad school instead of a good one.
  • #1
Simfish
Gold Member
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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
Simfish said:
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
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
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
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
Okay sure, I'll be more careful next time.
 
  • #7
Simfish said:
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
Also prestige doesn't matter. Networks do matter.
 

What is a postdoc?

A postdoc, short for postdoctoral research position, is a temporary position that typically follows graduate school and involves conducting research under the guidance of a mentor or supervisor. It is a common next step for foreign students who have completed their PhD and are looking to gain further research experience.

What are the benefits of moving up from grad school to a postdoc?

Moving up from grad school to a postdoc allows foreign students to gain hands-on research experience, expand their professional network, and potentially increase their chances of securing a permanent academic or research position. It also offers the opportunity to work on more independent research projects and develop new skills.

How long does a postdoc typically last?

The length of a postdoc position can vary, but it typically lasts anywhere from 1-3 years. In some cases, it can be extended for an additional year or two depending on the research project and funding availability.

Do foreign students receive the same benefits and compensation as domestic students in postdoc positions?

In most cases, foreign students in postdoc positions receive the same benefits and compensation as domestic students. However, this may vary depending on the funding source and institution. It is important for foreign students to clarify any questions about benefits and compensation with their supervisor or HR department.

What are some tips for success in a postdoc position as a foreign student?

Some tips for success in a postdoc position as a foreign student include building a strong professional network, actively seeking opportunities for professional development, and maintaining a good work-life balance. It is also important to communicate openly with your mentor and colleagues, and be proactive in seeking out new research projects and collaborations.

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