Signup date: 14 Mar 2007 at 7:25am
Last login: 28 Jul 2013 at 6:23am
Post count: 594
This time almost to the day I was two days away from submitting my thesis...I have no idea where the year has gone. Good luck to all of you submitting soon and those with vivas coming up. I can honestly say, it may seem tough right now but you will get through more than you ever thought you could handle and will look back with relief, one year on.
I have a question for anyone who has had a post-doc fellowship interview. I have been invited to an interview next Wednesday, it is only 30 minutes with a panel of 4 people, including the main supervisor of my PhD. He is not giving away anything and I know he just sees me as one of the candidates, he is a hard core academic.
Why is the interview so short? Is this a common length, no presentation either?. Also, what type of questions could be asked by the independent interviewer? I also have a subject based interviewer and my Prof. who is interviewing for this particular field to do research with him. The 4th is an HR person.
Any advice or tips, very welcome.
Thank you in advance
PN (Is this the right forum to post to?)
Thank you everyone.
Human, my supervisor said I shouldn't hand out my errors, that they would know I had found them and they probably would not bother to mention small typos and errors and will have prepared their own lists. Which they had. I did not know one question and I said I didn't, the examiner then clarified what he meant and I could sort of answer it but it was not really what he was looking for I think. Later, he mentioned it again and just said that I would need to clarify that part again, in my corrections. It did rattle me, it was at that point I thought I would not get through. The important part is that you have conducted sound research and they know you are nervous. I was terribly so and it was visible.
in exams, confrontational situations or oral presentations, so this was not easy but I wanted to be honest. But, hey, I am not dead .
Thank you for all of the congratulations. I got off the train at my home town (uni is 2 hours away) and my whole family was on the platform and they applauded as I stepped off the train :-). We shared a fine meal together with more champagne and there is still another bottle in the fridge :p.
The viva....We sat around an oval table, internal next to me, external opposite and chairman to the right of the external. My supervisor was in the background, I could actually see him but tried not to look his way as he was supposed to be behind me and not give any indications.
I have to say firstly, I was so nervous, I was ill all weekend from pure nerves, I was physically shaking throughout from lack of nutrients I think and fear. My opening question was what I had found the most interesting and exciting out of my research. I was prepared for this and my findings are quite exciting, so this one I could handle well. THEN they literally got stuck into the thesis with the third sentence, challenging me on whether I still felt the hypothesis I had quoted from another researcher in the beginning still held true after doing my own research, a bit like a debate. Got through this one but then the next hour was spent questioning me on papers and studies I had used for background, which I was not well enough prepared for. One such question was: ‘You mention xxx’s study here, what they were proposing, was it a hypothetical statement or did they have empirical evidence for this’, for the life of me, I went blank. I started blabbing, the internal helped me out a bit and moved on after advising me to include more empirical evidence for this section. The next few bits went okay, two straightforward questions on some basic stats and my thesis was stats intensive. Fortunately, neither examiner had used some of the modelling stats I had used, so I was not quizzed on this, which was a pity, I could have done this bit easily! They had a few queries on words I had left out and the meaning had become ambiguous. The minor errors like typos they did not even touch, they said they were sure I was aware of them by now, they would just send me a list. They mentioned I had some repetition I needed to delete and they wanted a table of summary results (I completed 5 studies) in my main discussion as they found they had lost track by the time they got to the discussion. I was questioned about one study I had referenced and I have to confess, it was now 2 hours into the exam and I just nodded and agreed to adding more detail linking it more closely to my work and the differences compared to my study. It was at this point that I was convinced I would have a revision and not pass and I had to keep my focus because I felt my mind wandering. They finally asked me what could be improved, in my opinion, what the shortcomings were and that is where they ended off. Their final question was whether I had enjoyed the research. It took 2 hours and 20 minutes.
My supervisor and I went out for a quick break where he assured me I had done well but I didn’t believe him. They asked us back in quickly and said ‘I am sure that you know, it’s just minor corrections needed, you have passed’! I think I just stared for a second with my jaw on the ground and I blurted out that I thought I had failed! My supervisor then rushed out and returned with cold champagne and glasses, he was confident all along. The external then said how she had enjoyed my thesis, it had very few typos and errors (I was so stressed over my 25 errors I found) and she found my research really exciting and would I come up to her university and present some of my work to her department. I honestly had to sit down; champagne on an empty stomach is not good, my legs were still shaking, I had a booming headache from the stress and I was in shock. They had apparently signed it all off before the viva, they had already ‘passed’ me on my thesis, which was something to keep in mind for all of you entering your viva soon.
Did I actually enjoy it like other PhD students often say they did after it is over....I have to be very honest and say ‘no’. I feel I can say that ‘I survived, I got through it and I am glad it is over’. This could be much to do with my personality, I am not good
Still on my way home but wanted to post so I could thank everyone (Stressed et al.) and encourage those waiting (NearlyFinished et al.).
It wasn't easy but I am alive and have minor corrections. Will post about it tomorrow.
Take home message.......know the papers you quote, not off by heart but know what they found and methodology.
A Very Happy Exhausted PinkNeuron :-)
How are you doing Nf? Not long also now.....
I am really at the stage where I just want it to be over and look back. I cannot believe 5 years (in my case) of work is condensed into 2 hours or so of oral questioning. Bizarre in a way.
Will post back on Monday, post-viva :-)
======= Date Modified 13 Oct 2012 21:00:56 =======
Less than 48 hours to go until my viva....
I am not as nervous as I thought I would be at this stage, I seemed to have calmed a bit, for now......
I had a good meeting with my prof. yesterday, I went through all my questions and he gave me some answers to prepare for.
I am just going to go through my thesis again and try and keep calm...
======= Date Modified 07 Oct 2012 14:59:41 =======
Yes, indeed Nf. it is a little sooner but in a way, I am relieved. I have a meeting with my Prof. next Friday to go through the thesis, first time for him. He has not looked at it in its entirety yet! I structured it and put it together all myself. I have also arranged a meeting with a business savvy friend who is interested in my research, to quiz me in a mini viva on Wednesday, which I am hoping will help too. The thing I am most worried about is not the content, I am very good with that but the stats. I used structural equation modelling and hierarchical regression analysis and I have fMRI analysis, which is another language. To me, it all makes sense, I am geek. But to explain it to others.....a whole different ball game. I believe neither of my examiners are SEM or fMRI savvy but they may have studied up since 27/07.... ooh, I wish it was over. I have been through all the questions suggested on this forum, written them out, practiced them in my head but I read a piece of good advice, 'what will be will be, just do your best and leave the rest to fate'!
I was given two possible dates for my viva, the 17th or 19th October due to them having to find a new chairman. Now, I have just received an email saying that these two dates are proving problematic and they are trying to arrange another date, so unsettling and I am already so nervous...:-(
How is your preparation going, NearlyFinished?
My prof. said to me in the beginning that I will always have 10 to 15 key papers that will form the backbone of my research. It is these papers that I am making sure I have on me as a security blanket if nothing else. I find I know them so well in any case as a lot of my research was based on them. There are a few new ones since these but these new ones are even based on these key ones. When I am doing other mundane things, I run through all the important authors in my field and their particular subject, in my head. I am finding I know more than I thought, so this is confidence building, if nothing else.
Good luck for tomorrow, Stressed. Please post back and let us know how it goes....
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