I am looking to apply for a PhD position at a UK university but I desperately feel I am in a catch 22 situation. What I've read online, is that supervisors are very busy and receive many such emails so before contacting a PhD supervisor, I need to get familiar with their research.
I contacted several supervisors, becoming familiar with their research beforehand. One had no PhD students and said he does not take PhD students. Another had 2 and said he's not looking to take more. Another supervisor with 5 students said he's at maximum capacity. The picture continues.
It takes me awhile to become familiar with a supervisor's research. In addition, it is not like I don't have anything else to do and I feel I am shooting in the dark here.
I am an experienced professional, I've got a good level of academic knowledge and commercial experience, an undergrad from the top university in the country and I am looking to self finance a PhD - in effect to pay to work. I don't understand why it's so hard.
Do you have any advice for experienced professionals applying for a PhD?