Impact of PhD granting instititution on career

  • Thread starter lmedin02
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  1. Does the institution where an individual receives their PhD degree in mathematics have a significant impact on their career?
The question evolves from a merger among universities: If a university is under a merger with another well established university with a much much better reputation in Mathematics, should I consider extending my Phd until the merger is complete? What kind of impact will this have on my career prospects if I am definitely considering an academic career?
 

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  • #2
The supervisor matters far more than the institution.
 
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This is what I thought. I have an excellent dissertation adviser. Well know in his field, but before I asked him of opinion I wanted to be more informed so I am seeking all inputs.
 
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Does the institution matter? A lot.

Does the reputation of the institutions on the list of rankings you find in newspapers and magazines matter? Not very much.
 
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If a university is under a merger with another well established university with a much much better reputation in Mathematics, should I consider extending my Phd until the merger is complete?
I might just throw this out there, but in the even you conclude you wish to do something like this it might be worth looking into your school's policy. Often you are awared the degree based on the conditions in place when you start the program, so in the event of a merger do you KNOW that you would be granted a degree from the other institution, or is this an assumption?

I'm just saying be careful about wasting a long period of time on an assumption rather than a fact that you can document.

What kind of impact will this have on my career prospects if I am definitely considering an academic career?
All of that said above, institutional name alone may have a small effect on your career outcome but it's likely to be orders of magnitude less impact than other factors such as your own performance, the skills that you acquire, the specific expertise that you develop, your ability to network, your personal reputation, etc.
 
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Thank you all for your feedback.
 
  • #7
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I know a younger-than-average tenured academic at a top 5 institution in the UK. He did his phd at a place most would call a "Mickey Mouse" university (in fact, it humorously got the most votes in a thread here as a "safety" grad school).

I don't know how common this is, but it's a fairly good guess that his research output (120+ papers afaik) and dumb luck had a lot more to do with his success than his alma mater. He told me some peers of his that went to prestigious universities weren't so lucky.
 

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