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06/09/11
Choice of Graduate School. Concern over same undergraduate and graduate programs
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:00 pm

At a recent workshop, a person posed the
following concern:  Does being at the same
university for B. S.
and Ph.D. hurt you?

This question should examine a deeper
exploration into the motivation behind the
decision of the choice of programs.

Several authors in the last few years have
written about understanding the decision
making process.  Jonah Lehrer is one.  If
there is a concern for some employers it
would be about what is the motivation behind
the decision.

OBJECTIVE FACTS

For the most part, where you attended
undergraduate school is a side-light to the
skills you acquired, the attitude you displayed
and the problems that you solved in graduate
school.  Two caveats on the positive side are:
if you did senior (or honors) research and were
able to obtain a refereed journal publication
from the work, or
if you had a different major or joint major
at the university than your graduate study,
so that you were exposed to different fields
of study.

“Comfort zone” or Laziness

The issues that would need to be dispelled
during an interview would be that a person
took the “easy way” in choosing the graduate
program.  If they chose a university after
applying for only one, for example.


So, this would be an opportunity to describe
in short story format — S-A-R-I
Situation
Actions
Results
Implications

your decision making.  Give other examples
where you demonstrate that you invite change
and seek new opportunities.

LONG TERM VIEW
There may be a small set of employers
who believe no matter what a recent graduate
says of this restricted background signals
limited education diversity.

For the most part this will likely quickly
disappear after a couple of years of practical
experience, if the graduate does not post-doc
at the same university.

This is where the light goes into “high-beam
on the path…”

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