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Masters degree - dissertation

Surprised there is no marking criteria. I had one - not that it made any difference. Like you I rarely got replies from my supervisor, I spent a month writing a few paragraphs of my methodology chapter (literally 4 paragraphs in a month) and asking for advice/review as I went. Only to have a meeting with another supervisor on a day at Uni for him to dismiss 3 of the paragraphs as irrelevant.

Bag over the head punch in the face moment I can tell you.

As tough as this sounds the tutors are not there to teach you! So you may find you get little guidance. I found that part very tough as I was keen to do well (as is everyone). My supervisor was reluctant to even suggest an estimate of a score for my paper - in the whole year he only ever once gave me a nod to where it might come... and he was WAY off.

So I have been no help what so ever... but take some comfort in the fact you are not alone!!

Master of Arts – A waste of time? Please help.

I can't speak directly about being a marketing director at a gallery but I can from an employer perspective. Will an MA/MSc give you an advantage over someone with 'just' a BA? Purely from a cv v cv perspective, maybe and I mean a very slim maybe. What would give you an advantage is you learning from your MA/MSc and taking that with you to your next role, your subject being relevant and you having the ability to utilise it.
If your career was in academia then qualifications are a must i.e. a pre-requisite of a PhD etc in business? There is a minimum (usually) and then the rest will come down to your ability in the interview (and subsequently in the job). I have seen the question "will soandso qualification help me get a job?" - not if that's all you rely on!

Good luck.

MREs or MSc??

I agree with all the comments so far - if your qualification is for industry/job then complete something relevant to the role you want. University and type of Masters will be irrelevant - I'd even go as far as to say your grade will be irrelevant too, simply having a Masters will be enough to give you a slight advantage but having it in an area of interest to the company and being able to demonstrate that in interviews will set you apart.

Mental health as a PhD student

Is a PhD the cause or symptom? i.e are people with or more susceptible to mental health issues - more likely to do a PhD? Is maturity/experience a factor as studies have shown mental toughness increases with age (e.g MTQ48).

Is my supervisor doing a good job?

Your supervisor is there to help you get through your MSc from an academic perspective. Nothing more. And if they do that - then it's a job well done. They are not there to 'teach' you as you are doing research, they are not there to help you with anything personal.

It will probably feel strange and all my colleagues had the same experience as me so I knew I wasn't being singled out! I remember asking my supervisor a few times "what do you think of this idea?" and "I'd always get 'that has potential'"... It was frustrating as I wanted something like "yes...that's worth 71/100 in my yes".

PhD, 'passed with no corrections'

Interesting question and I feel the answer is different depending on if you are in academia or industry. I do know someone who passed with no corrections and they do not even use the title Dr and the PhD is not referenced on their CV or LinkedIn profile (let alone say they passed with no corrections).

Industry Job help/general entry-level job help etc

I would say both examples you need to have used said product. People add years as it gives them reassurance the person will have gained more knowledge.. what can happen is person A has used the product for 5 years - but only sparingly person B has used it for 2 years constantly and has far better knowledge but 5 > 2 in an employers mind.

The time when a transferable skill/knowledge is ok (for me at least) is when it's a preferred/bonus skill. I always think when an advert has a ton of skills required it's best to steer clear.. it might as well say "dogs body" or grand titles i.e head of x or x manager and you manage 1 person and must be hands on. In effect you are the dogs body who also has to put up with complaints!

Plus I have found the more senior I get the less quantifiable my role is!! I joke that I am 50% counsellor 50% sales person. I calm people down and then try and convince them to do other things :)

Industry Job help/general entry-level job help etc

Maybe I should offer my time to one person on here who is struggling to get a job in 'industry'!!! Check their cv and give them a mini interview (at my offices) to see where I can help them.

My area is IT - if anyone needs help drop me a pm.

Industry Job help/general entry-level job help etc

Interesting post. You say candidates must have all of the essential skills you have listed.
Hypothetically what would you do if you couldn't find someone with all of those skills?
How long would you wait before hiring someone who was missing one of the essential skills?

I would list 3 essential skills. Without those you cannot do the role(s) I have. If after 6 months no one had those skills I would have to re-evaluate the role I have available - is the compensation the blocker? Does the combination I require compliment each other? Is it a location issue? Remember these are essential - I do not use the word lightly! I am happy to be flexible/train the next 15 skills!

What I usually find is that the role I have is fairly industry standard but people kid themselves they have the skills. They have the buzzword on their cv, know roughly what it means but when you push them for their experience they have none.

Not wanting to sound ancient but in my time I have employed 40-50 people I'd guess. It's not a particularly enjoyable process, agents are woefully unskilled - I may as well vet all the cv's myself. Candidates seem unable to write 2-3 pages of a cv without a plethora of errors - I am not joking when I say I have seen probably 20 cv's that have a personal summary at the beginning about being a great communicator only for that statement to be grammatically wrong! People not turning up for interviews.. or clearly lying.. or unable to look smart for an hour.

Remember you may be nervous as the candidate but what the interviewer wants is to walk into the room and meet someone they like, matches their cv and is trustworthy.

Industry Job help/general entry-level job help etc

As an employer (with 2 positions currently open) there are a few criteria people must meet. They MUST have the essential skills I list. If it is a technical role then that is simple, more senior roles where they are soft skills then they are harder to judge. Your cv must be near perfect in terms of grammar/formatting etc It's your advert, if you cannot spend a significant amount of time honing it you lack the attention to detail I require. That is to get to interview stage.

OP probably has these boxes ticked as they are getting to interview stage.

What do I look for then? Again, if it's a technical role you will probably get a technical test/grilling from one of my colleagues. Pass that you will then get to see me. I am a huge believer in 'hire the attitude - train the skill' (with a caveat of you probably have the skill as you passed the test :) ) So I want enthusiasm/passion for what you do and want to do - without being desperate. It's near impossible to give people enthusiasm - you need to bring that one! I want to see your personality in an interview, I need to know how you will fit in the team. It does neither of us any good if you ace the interview being someone you are not.. you won't make it through your probation and it will be a waste of everyone's time - so be genuine.

Not every job needs someone with a mountain of ambition. Why? Each time someone out shines me and moves on to better things I have recruit again!!! Ok that is a bit tongue in cheek.. but you get the idea.

I only have 55 words left so I'll wrap it up by saying - match the skills, have the right attitude, be genuine and have a wash and clean your shoes before the interview.

Good luck!

1 year after defense, still unemployed

Hi Wallace.. sorry to hear this - I know how soul destroying job seeking can be. I cannot comment on applying for academic roles specifically but getting a job is a numbers game. Sometimes you are simply up against 300 candidates and the likelihood your cv will get even seen is slim.

When I went through a particularly tough period searching for a role (while out of work) my job was looking for a job. 8 hours a day I spent searching and applying. I got up at a usual time I would for work and I kept every application I made (and every job I read). So these numbers are fully accurate - I read over 50,000 jobs adverts, I got a reply from agents 10% of jobs I applied for and I got interviews for 10% of those... so 1 in a 100 jobs I applied for I got an interview. 99 slaps in the face per 100!!!

You might be sitting there thinking "clearly you were cr**" but a mere 3 years later I was looking again, the market had changed, I applied 6 roles, 5 interviews, accepted 1 (got turned down for 1) and withdrew from further interviews for the others. Was I 98% better than 3 years previous? My wife doesn't think so....

TL;DR - there's a lot to be said for sheer determination.

Ready to quit because of department politics

Politics eh! Going to get them in any and every walk of life. Everyone has their own style, some people like it some don't. But one thing I will say is the closer to the top you get the more there are.

I don't want to give advice on what you should do now as I have not been in your position.

My style? If this had happened - "When negotiating salary, etc. for the position (essentially a temporary faculty position), they told me they didn't value the content, instructed me that they would not pay me more than a measly "honorarium (less than 10% of what I should have been making) and said if I didn't accept that, or if I went to the union, they would simply cut the curriculum content (which my supervisor has spent 20 years developing) and it would be my fault. "

I would have simply answered "ok.. can you just drop that to me in a mail please". Nip it in the bud at the beginning. People can only bully you if you let them.

PhD at older age?

I don't see the age being an issue. I have a friend doing his PhD at 67. The only advice I would give is not to expect the PhD to guarantee you job opportunities at the end. Do it because you want to. I have/had this idea that getting published would raise my profile within my industry but barely any one outside of academia reads this journals. Far better to dumb down your work and publish it on LinkedIn/White papers etc to get recognition. Even better is to study something that brings value to an employer ie solve a very specific issue.

Failed to submit a disertation and awarded with a PGdip

Does your future job/arena require a MSc? If not, then it won't be an issue.

Have to say in 'industry' (as opposed to academia) most people do not know what a PgDip is! When I was awarded mine I would get a blank expression when telling people, if I added "it's half a Masters" I would then get a "ooh well done".

I know of people who only went for a PgDip as they don't 'need' the MSc. You could say you were aiming for that as it is relevant to your role. Or you could say you are still considering completing a MSc. But as ToL says - it's highly unlikely you will get asked.

Give me hope?

Great stuff... come back 6 months after you've graduated and read this thread again. I bet you'll have a different view!