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I am currently looking for grad school for MS programs.

In my school (where I did undergrad) there is a pretty well known professor A whom I've worked with as research intern. He already expressed that he would be my advisor, and personally I have very good relationship with him.

However, our school has mandatory retirement age and he has only 2 year left (in my country and field MS is usually 2y, PhD takes 4-5y, combined takes 6y) so by policy he cannot supervise my phd program.

Hence after my MS program, I am willing to study abroad. Due to my personal circumstances I have to (forced as alternative military service) work for my country for 2y after my master's degree as researcher.

  1. To sum up, after my MS and mandatory service, my MS advisor will have already retired. He is aware of this issue and he told me that as a professor emeritus or even as former professor, he thinks he can still help me for LoR and stuff.
  2. However he also said that he understands my concerns (not having active advisor after graduation and service) and can connect me with one he knows (professor B) who works in a slightly different but related field if I want.
  3. If I choose to be advised by B instead of A, I have to start over my personal rapport and have to go to less renowned school (both in my home country. Analogously something like top10 vs top50 school)

Based on this concerns, I would like to hear from more experienced academics (especially out of my country and environment) about if it is a serious issue to be advised by professor who will retire when I graduate.

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  • I thought that people often say something like : "With age, comes wisdom" or "The older the wine is, the better it tastes" ? Is it not true in this case ? Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 5:19
  • I 1000% respect my potential advisor both personally and academically. The reason of my concern is not about his wisdom or ability to do things, but about the whole networking and LoR and such in academia (which, I think in unrealistic but perfect world, should matter less) having advisor who will be less active in community (because of school policy. My advisor wants to be active) might not be the best choice for my future career.
    – 72G
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 6:43

1 Answer 1

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I may be writing from a different cultural viewpoint. I feel that worth and status are largely determined by one’s own performance and not by one’s associates. It may be different in your society; status may be more rigidly fixed by your relationships and the hierarchy in which you work. Only you can judge if my answer is helpful or not.

A is of the opinion that he can help you even after retirement. It follows that if you respect A, as you clearly do, you will gain most by continuing your association, at first formally, and after his retirement informally.

If he is well known as you say, your connection with him will still be respected by others after his retirement, because loss of institutional position by retirement does not represent loss of intellectual status.

Such awkward circumstances arise constantly in life. Why give up a productive known and promising arrangement for one that is unknown, not guaranteed, and presently not essential?

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  • As I wrote my question here, I am starting to realize that I might be not actually looking for answers - instead maybe I was looking for someone to say what you said. Your last sentence came to me as a great comfort and wisdom. Thanks for the advice.
    – 72G
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 7:01
  • Thank you for your kind words. You expressed yourself in such a way that I felt it easy to converse with you. I wish you good fortune.
    – Anton
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 7:04

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