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Moving between institutions at different stages

  1. Nov 11, 2015 #1
    I want to eventually work in string theory and QFT integrability. I did my Bachelor at the top university in my country, and wrote a research level paper as my final project (wasn't published, but the results were non-trivial). My supervisor was a pretty big name in the field as were two other professors. I'm currently doing my Masters at a well respected European institution (DESY). I will be doing my Masters thesis under another one of the hotshots in the field.

    For my PhD I would like to return to my home institution and work with one of the other professors, one of whom is incredibly close to my Masters supervisor (they write nearly all of their papers together). He has previously expressed his willingness to work with me.

    However, would it be more beneficial for my career to go to another institution which does a lot of work in the field? I can imagine it would be better since I'd learn from a larger group of people, but would it be detremental to return to my home university?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2015 #2
    There are no industry which does work in/with the stings theory. The Industry pays the university for diverse researches. Jobs are rare, and even harder to get, because all the institutions employ the most appealing 3sexy, paying$ or referred /recommended. The probable detremental /prejudicious option is to neglect the opportunity with the professor who expressed his willingness to work with you.
  4. Nov 11, 2015 #3


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    Homegrown degrees are usually seen as a bit of - how to say - less value. Although in math I've been involved in some decision building processes to choose a candidate for a scientific job out of a group. I remember well how the profs were talking about them. The homegrown one from the university itself has usually the worst cards. Exceptions surely exist. The golden rule is: the more teachers, the more institutes, the more countries and the more publications the better.
  5. Nov 11, 2015 #4


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    In my experience this is an issue that a lot of people seem to stress over, but I've never seen any evidence that it really makes that much of a difference in the long run. Over the years I've served on over a half dozen hiring committees where the positions come with academic appointments and at no point have I been a part of a discussion where whether or not a candidate was educated at the same institution for his or her undergraduate and graduate degrees was even mentioned, much less played a decisive factor in hiring. The way I see it, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options - staying or leaving - and in the end the tangible differences are the ones that you should really base a decision on.

    All things being equal, the advantages of going elsewhere tend to outweigh those of staying at one institution - particularly when it comes to personal and academic development. You broaden your academic and social networks, learn from different instructors, which can help to fill in holes in your foundation and help you to gain different points of view on the problems that you're interested in, and generally gain a larger array of experiences.

    The decisive factors in hiring on the academic side of things tend to include things like academic output (quality and number of publications), how well a candidate's skills and interests fit with the existing group, potential to bring in new funding, and teaching abilities. So it's the factors that affect these things that are important to pay attention to.

    If for example, you have a great opportunity where you're currently at (as it sounds like may be the case) it may not be a good idea to throw that away for something that may be a wild card. By staying where you are (or going back to a known place), you know what you're getting yourself into. You won't have to struggle with reorienting yourself in a new city. And you're not rolling the dice on a potential personality conflict. If you know you'll work really well back at your old institution, then what you need is some kind of evident that moving elsewhere will result in an even better outcome.
  6. Nov 13, 2015 #5
    Among the reasons for that behaviour, except the quality-ranking of the universities, I see the possibility of sheating /plagiate more easily and with lesser punishment the foreign immigrant.
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