The international dimension of a doctorate: Building up your network, collaborations, conferences, co-authors and periods abroad
Today, I gave a PhD seminar on "The international dimension of a doctorate: Building up your network, collaborations, conferences, co-authors and periods abroad" for PhD students in management at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, which is parts of Alberto Di Minin's course on "Surviving the PhD" (http://www.diminin.it/home/surviving-the-phd-edition-2013).
I tried to give present some of my own experience, complemented with some other perspectives, because I think that there are different viewpoints and paths in this respect. In fact, one of my key messages was that it is all about YOU!, i.e. the individual student who will in the end be responsible for managing his or her own doctorate and career at large.
Three other keywords that summarize my seminar would be: balance, balance and balance. I tried to highlight that one needs to balance different issues, for example:
- Local vs. international activities and outreach;
- Proactive vs. reactive approach;
- Short-term vs. long-term costs and benefits;
- Work vs. private life.
I moreover explained that, in my view, the most important thing is to shape the boundary conditions that will enable an individual researcher to tap into and leverage his or her network. You can to create connections, visibility, skills, recognition, etcetera that will allow you to strengthen or enable a connection whenever necessary. And in that case, I also think that opportunities for collaboration will emerge.
Finally, a small piece of advice: whatever interesting stuff you are doing where-ever in the world, make sure not to forget your thesis and main advisor!
For all you doctoral students out there: You will survive! Or work on the assumption that you will and at least work hard to make it happen.