I am lucky CS senior undergrad who has received offers from a number of good departments in the USA. I am currently going through the usual factors for evaluating departments and supervisors. In the process, I've noticed a common trend in advice: most of the advice that I've gotten has not mentioned looking at where most of the students end up (e.g. quality of the thesis, do they get post-docs, coding jobs, industry research jobs, etc). Most advice (that I have read) emphasizes, not unproductively, the adviser-student relationship and the supervisor's research interests. This observation has led me to several questions:
- Is it appropriate to ask potential supervisors what most of their students end up doing and why? Is there some other way to talk about this with potential supervisors?
- How much should this factor into one's decision? Obviously, a lot of what happens to me is up to me and luck, but also obviously my supervisor plays some role in this beyond helping directly with my research.
- Is there an easy way to figure out this information? Anything better than googling lots of names?
- Are there more qualitative ways of looking at this question besides just looking at bare results? (Given the relative scarcity of positions over time and the amount of luck involved, I am amenable to the argument that simple stats are useless here.)