Jump to content

How do I decide which researcher to choose to work for, the one I know or the one with research I like better?


biomed2015

Recommended Posts

Hey all, I tried to search and I didn't any advice on my particular scenario, so I hope some of you can give me some insight on what you think.

 

To start, I am a biomedical engineering undergraduate student who has been doing research work in dental biomechanics for a mechanical engineering laboratory for nearly three years. The professor I work for, who is the department chair of mechanical engineering, has told me he would take me on as a graduate student for the fall with funding, etc. This seems great and all but now I am in a particularly interesting situation.

 

I also applied to the biomedical engineering department for graduate school because it was free, I had good GRE scores, and there are some researchers who I have interest in working with in the future. Well, I applied and had complete radio silence from the department, so I began to work on my future thesis work with my current researcher (mainly justly literature research and we are planning on writing a meta-review paper.) 

 

Now that brings us to this week. I have received some critical information from the BME department that would have made my life much easier... I have been offered full funding for tuition, living stipend, and health insurance through the department and now two researchers in the department have given me offers to work in their labs, and one of which is one that I think has far more interesting research (neural engineering & prosthetic devices) than the work I currently do. 

 

I'm now in a position where funding is not going to be an issue but rather I know have to make a decision on whether or not to remain loyal to the professor who has guided me through research as an undergrad, gotten me an internship at a top research university for a summer, and has been very helpful OR choosing research that I find much more challenging, fulfilling, interesting, and I think more applicable for what I want to do later in life. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do what is right for you (which sounds like taking this other offer). You do not owe it to your professor to stay, and if he is as supportive as you said, he should have your best interests in mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm now in a position where funding is not going to be an issue but rather I know have to make a decision on whether or not to remain loyal to the professor who has guided me through research as an undergrad, gotten me an internship at a top research university for a summer, and has been very helpful OR choosing research that I find much more challenging, fulfilling, interesting, and I think more applicable for what I want to do later in life. 

 

Before you make your decision, you should have a meeting with the prospective advisor(s) at this other school. It's one thing to have interesting research, but it's in my opinion far more important to have an advisor who you get along with. If you can't visit in person, at least have a Skype conversation with them. Make sure that you can carry a conversation and that you have compatible views about expectations from your as a student and from them as an advisor. Also talk to other students in the lab about their experience and how they like the work and the advisor. These conversations can be very revealing and sometimes you might learn that someone whose work is very exciting is not a good match for you because of your personalities. This is something that happens on a personal level so requires some in-person interaction, at least as a phone conversation. Personally I think it's infinitely better to work on a less interesting topic with someone you enjoy working with than to have a very exciting topic but an advisor who makes you hate your life. Your interests will change and evolve over time, but your advisor will have a lot of influence on your life and should be someone who you get along with. That said, assuming that you get along with this potential advisor and you find their research more interesting, I think you don't need to feel obliged to stay with your current professor. Do what's best for your career.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that it is important to have good rapport with one's advisor, and that you should meet or at least talk to the advisor in the more interesting lab to be sure that your work styles are compatible.

 

But generally speaking, you should make decisions about your career based upon what's best for you, not what might satisfy your advisor.  If your advisor really thinks that highly of you, surely he must've expected you would've been a competitive candidate in other places and might eventually leave the lab.  And while I generally agree that working with an advisor who cares about you and your career development is more important than the exact area...the area you work in does have a big impact on the future work that you can do.  And if you can have both (a great advisor and the most interesting area), that would be ideal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use