I am in an unfortunate situation where my master thesis is not going so well. I am doing my masters in chemical engineering and got an internship in a startup. My university supervisor however does not care about my progress and has sent me to this startup without any proper guidelines. The thesis that I am working on is not that related to the things that I have done before and I am scared (pretty sure) it won’t go well. I have tried my best, but I can’t change the thesis now. I am feeling hopeless. Will a bad thesis ruin my opportunity to get a job in the future? I am certain i can’t try in academia.

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    what do you mean you cannot change now? do you have to wait months? years? do you have any budget constrain?
    – EarlGrey
    Nov 4, 2022 at 10:32
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    "has sent me to this startup without any proper guidelines": How far into your thesis work are you? Have you asked for your supervisor's help? If you have specific needs (like regular meetings) or expectations it should be possible for you to ask. At least you should try to find out what the supervisor expects from you, both concerning your interaction with the supervisor as well as the result (your thesis). Nov 4, 2022 at 19:42
  • It’s a two semester thesis. I am about to reach the end of first semester and I have NO data what so ever. I haven’t even been to ‘lab’ yet.
    – ff2534
    Nov 5, 2022 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


No one really cares what you did in your master thesis.

Even if you publish something from it, people will be interested in knowing "as a Master student he published something, that sounds promising".

From what you describe, it seems you a wild amount of freedom. Pick a theme relevant to the start-up, do a decent literature study (you mention it is not that related to the things that you have done before ... you are lucky that it is marginally related!) and you may find a way to contribute to either the start-up, your thesis, or both.

I asked you a couple of details, do not fall into the sunken cost fallacy trap.

N.B.: gap periods seen as a bad thing are almost a myth, especially if there is a story to back them up. "I picked the wrong advisor, I learned my lesson (add motives that are behind your failure, no bad-mouthing, please remember you accepted the thesis) and then I had to wait 6 months to start a new thesis with another advisor" is something that will be seen positively by future employers/PIs ...

  • "No one really cares what you did in your master thesis." That's golden --- I wish I'd known this at my master's. Nov 4, 2022 at 19:53
  • @schrödingcöder well, the student must still care a lot about thesis! And decent advisors will still worry about the student not doing complete crap, but apart from that ...
    – EarlGrey
    Nov 5, 2022 at 6:48

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