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I have finished M.Sc. in Stuttgart, Germany (computational structural mechanics field) and planning to do Phd. Afterward, I would go to industry after Phd. So, I would like to have your opinions about what aspects should be considered when choosing the field (or institute). I know the top priority is my academical interest. But if there are two topics (or two fields) I equally am interested in, what speculation should be taken account? For example, in Germany, is the power of supervising professor in academia, so could the professor be one of the resources when I am looking for the job in the relevant field?

  • I really recommend reading the article "A Survival Guide to a PhD" by Andrej Karpathy: karpathy.github.io/2016/09/07/phd . He talks about general stuff, about picking the adviser and research topics as well as the work of a PhD student itself. – felice Jul 22 '18 at 14:29
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Of course, as you said, your academic interests are important. And your advisor is also important: there is (in all places I know) no academic training "how to supervise" whatsoever - there are extremly bad advisors and very good ones. If you know something about the prospective advisors, take this into account. Of course, some advisors are good for some students and bad for others. As you want to go to industry, it could be nice not to have one of the "industry is evil"-type of advisors (if they are common or not is field-dependent).

Having a good advisors is really important, especially in Germany the situation is really hierarchical and if your advisor is mean to you, you cannot efficiently complain about them.

Otherwise, pick a place where you can imagine to live in. And, it goes without saying, if you have a partner (and/or kids, or family you have to take care of) take their opinions absolutely into account! Having a good PhD position but a bad private life happens unfortunately very often to academics.

  • Thank you. Then my further question is how to recognize if the professor is „industry-evil type“ or „industry-friendly type“. What do you think of this? – lily.evance Jul 22 '18 at 10:03
  • Hard to say. If they are from your institution or an institution you know, ask people you know. However, sometimes you see hints on the professor's homepage (if they have one) - professors with industry collaborations are unlikely to be "industry-evil" (and such collaborations would help you with your industry future, too!) Try to find out what their previous students do now. – user96245 Jul 22 '18 at 10:11

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