It is a known fact that reputation and lineage are a very important factor in academia. Master students need recommendation letters to get a PhD opportunity and the same for PhD students looking for a postdoc position. If a PhD supervisor knows someone in another institute or a company, he can very easily help his student get a postdoc or a good job in the industry. If your supervisors are prestigious in the community, you can start your career much more easily than your peers. Conversely, a mediocre PhD supervisor may become an obstacle for his talented student.
I am a PhD student in CS, and I am at the final stage of my PhD. However, I wonder whether it is better to abandon my PhD degree because of the mediocrity of my supervisors. Since a thesis will be stored in a database; once deposited, the PhD student's name will be permanently bound to his supervisors, and if the public perception of my supervisors is low, I'm concerned that I may have difficulty building my own brand.
To address my concern, I would like to know which of the following states is likely to make it harder to become a leading scientist?
- having a PhD from mediocre supervisors in a mediocre lab, or
- not having a PhD, and building one's name from scratch?