As I mentioned in my previous post, How to choose a good place for PhD, I mentioned that the first and foremost criteria for choosing a place is Professor and lab. These two things guarantee a good PhD work and a strong career afterwards. If you don’t understand this and plan well you may land into a messy situation and finally end up hating your work and the place you joined for PhD.
IIT and PhD have been a blessing for me. Though, I never thought and know why I am going there and which lab I am going to join. Later after working in industry for couple of years and kind of academic project we give to professors, I realized the importance of Professor and lab for over all personal growth.
If you analyze all great guys running the industry and technology belong common parents in education domain. One or the other way they are associated with each other and connected in a sense or other. I am working in medical image reconstruction and I know almost all top guys in that domain. Industry also know their students. Industry would love pick guys they know are leaders in specific domain.
There are few qualities I would love to see in a professor before joining his lab. Please keep in mind that I didn’t follow any of these while looking for PhD, but what did is to choose best professor in the department I joined for PhD. I will share advantages and disadvantages of random selection like mine. What I am mentioning here is based on the experience I have both in academics and industry. I strongly feel that if research is not applied will not be charming for long.
Few basic things great professors and teachers have are.
They are leaders in domain. How do you know they are leaders? Simple based on books and research papers. If a professor is author of a book in some domain, means he know about that field a lot more and can clear your fundamentals about the subject well.
Professors with a focused research interest and labs. All great professors are focused and know what they doing and contributing to. When constantly work for several years in same domain, they know the current issues of the domain, its applications, drawback and direction to solve them. Fundamentally, that means your PhD problem is almost known, and you will learn a great deal with your seniors.
Industry collaboration and adoption of research. Another important thing to look is how much of this research is sponsored by industry (not government) and how active this professor is for industrial research. Industry demands faster and commercial output that lead to smarter deadlines and solving those would help in learning and give a great problem solving skills, eventually lead to great PhD.
Must have a good reputation in department and students working under them. Usually it’s a myth that tough professors are great in research and more knowledgeable. But what I feel great professors work hard and expect you to work hard. Rest they have most of the fun and really appreciate hard working guys and give them PhD as soon as the work is done. Bad professors don’t have good research problems to solve but bring more social problems. A good reputation in department will also help his students in making PhD committees for his students and ease official burden a lot.
I know it’s hard to find such an idle labs for average students. We need to compromise and find labs that goes with the above standards. If you are not confident of doing good research then better to choose and averagely doing lab. Higher labs and people with great work profiles always have higher expectations.
Hope this will help you choosing a great research Professor and lab. I will make few videos on this in coming days. Do subscribe to InI research for more updates. Do like likes us on facebook and follow us on google plus.