How can I ignite my research career when my advisor is so disappointing and I can learn nothing from him?

He rarely publishes academic papers, but he has his fingers in many pies(engineering projects) and has no time to give any suggestions and directions for my MS project. I think nothing can be learnt from him. How can I startup my own research career under such a condition?

  • 8
    Given that the obvious first answer is "change your advisor", please can you tell us, having considered that, what the situation is, and the opportunities are, with regard to doing it?
    – 410 gone
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 13:28
  • 1
    ...He rarely publish academic papers. Then why you chose him? Also "...He has his hands on many pies (engineering projects)" and "nothing can be learnt from him" are contradictory, since for him to be involved in many projects (even if it is not research) shows that he is good at what he does.
    – Alexandros
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 13:40
  • Side comment: I think it should be "has his fingers in many pies." Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in the comments, if you are not happy with your advisor, find a new one.

I think there are some misconceptions underlying this question. Typically graduate students write papers, not faculty members. Publishing is up to you, not your advisor. Faculty are typically not trained as managers. Therefore it is up to you to give yourself direction. I think you should consider these features important in an advisor:

  • Can obtain funding you need to complete your research.
  • Can add to your reputation and connection to other researchers.
  • Knowledge of the discipline (less important because it's easier to get this elsewhere)

From a faculty member's perspective, the best way to achieve all of these things is to be involved in as many projects as possible.

  • Among all the three points you mentioned, only the last one does he have. And the "projects" are commercial projects for money, far from the research projects in your sense. After all, thank you for your sincere comments!
    – Robert Fan
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 2:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .