I ended up in a decent but below 50 ranked PhD program for math, and I'm going to try my best to get an academic job after my PhD. I want to work with someone who is well-respected and well-known, and who allows me to do a great thesis, in order to even put my foot in the door for a career in academia.

  • How can I quantify a potential supervisor's reputation?
  • Should I look for number of citations, number of publications total, number of publications in recent few years, or number of students/where they end up?
  • Is there a threshold I should be looking for (e.g. at least 20 citations total, at least a few good journals, etc)?

The reason I ask:

This may be field-specific, but I'd like to know what risk I am taking with working with a new professor who has only one student and maybe 8-10 publications, the most popular of which having been cited about 13 times by other mathematicians, vs. an older professor with not many students total but with many publications and many citations per publication.


Assuming both of them are still research active, in the sense that they are publishing and going to conferences, you're looking at a lot of noise and very little signal.

Both advisors got a job at a university with a PhD program. That already means they are pretty good and have significant research networks. If you end up doing exceptionally good research for a PhD graduate from your department, they will both have the networks to recommend you for a postdoc.

For positions that are not research-focused, it really doesn't matter what their reputation is, because the people hiring for non-research positions are generally out of the network anyway (and even if they are not, they won't be hiring based on whether they know your advisor or not).

Work with the person you like working with better and whose projects interest you more.

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