I have applied to a very well-known institution for PhD in Europe. They evaluate students first and then match them with advisors, so this is not a position with a specific supervisor; an admission committee will decide, not a single supervisor.
I am thinking about an interview that one will have with them. This university has almost the best group in my field and is extremely famous for it. It’s obvious that many students, who are interested in this field, want to study there. I was thinking about the following question in their interview, and how I should answer?
“Why did you decide to apply to this institution/Why in particular this university?”
I am having a hard time in preparing an honest while strong answer to this question. The problem is that, as I said, it’s obvious they’re good and I think they aren’t interested in hearing this from an applicant. At the same time, that’s basically my reason for applying there: since there are great professors there, very talented students, etc. On the other hand, their research is very specific and I believe they do not expect from a candidate to show off with “knowing” their research in “detail”. I know what they are doing, I believe it is important and valuable, and it matches with my interest as my background shows. However, I cannot prove to them by examples or other ways I know in details what they are doing since that’s not right. My question is this:
What is your suggestion to me? Should I start reading their research in detail to be able to make specific examples to support my reasons for applying to their group? I am a bit puzzle about this.
Please if you think more information is needed leave a comment before writing an answer. Thanks a lot!