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Really Really Confused, Please Help


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I am on a H1 visa and have just joined a histology lab in maryland. I have done my masters in Biochemistry from India. Before coming to US I was working as a Junior Research Fellow in PGIMER ( Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research). I worked on Protein Biochemistry and Moleclar biology.

 

During my masters I gave GRE and scored 1260 (530 verbal and 730 Quant), my toefl score was 102. I have scored 70% in masters. I applied for Phd last year, but did'nt get call from any university. I am really confused, should i go for a job or i should do a phd.....or a mba after doing job for three four years. Please help I am really confused.

 

 

 

Thanking you

Akhil

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This is not easy to answer. First question would be whether you want to stay in US. Getting a job on H1 visa are, if I recall correctly, rather tricky as it is coupled to your current contract. Working in the private sector usually require you to get a specialist greencard (or equivalent).

 

If you want an academic career a PhD is usually inevitable. Have you talked with your supervisor?

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  • 1 month later...

Isn't the answer: Find out what you WANT to do most and then do that, not hearing back from a university can be discouraging but if you want it chase it up, find out what they want and give it to them. (if only it was so simple.)

 

If you want an academic career a PhD is usually inevitable. Have you talked with your supervisor?

 

CharonY how did you go about your qualifications?

I'm curious because I have often thought of doing a PhD is it worth the work?

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I don't know what the situation is like in life sciences, but speaking from experience there is very limited funding and very few places. Couple that with lots of strong applicants and you see that the odds are stacked against you. It sucks I know.

 

All I can say is don't give up. I got on to the PhD Scheme I am on now "second time around", by broadening my initial research interests, in particular I joined a maths department and not a physics one.

 

What I am saying is, maybe you will have to change direction slightly, especially if your ideal area of research is very competitive.

 

Good luck

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CharonY how did you go about your qualifications?

I'm curious because I have often thought of doing a PhD is it worth the work?

 

Well, I always wanted to be a research scientist, so a PhD was the only route for me to go. Now is it worth it? It really depends on what your goal is. If you want to be financially secure or have a family somewhat early, it may not be the best way to go. The reason is that you do not get well paid during your PhD time and the degree itself is merely the entry ticket, but by far not a guarantee for a position. If you get a job before a PhD, chances are good that during your working time your net earn may be higher than going the PhD route (at least in an academic career). If your goal is to score an industrial job, it may also be worth it, but it depends on the field, whether you really need a PhD.

 

Some thoughts on an academic career:

3-5 years PhD time, where you get badly paid, 60-70 h per week workload

advantages: you get a degree, the supervisor is interested in you getting the degree

disadvantages: workload and pay

 

after that:

2x2 years postdoc where you get little more money, but may have to change position after two years. Workload is same or more (as you get more involved in administrative and possibly teaching stuff)

advantages:slightly higher pay

disadvantages: same as PhD time, only that you are essentially a dispensable/migratory worker and chances are that the PI invest less funds in you. Depends on the group, though. This is the crunch time as in theory you are to build your career here, but as you are often totally dependent on which group you end up with, a wrong choice can stall your career (and you will have lost a lot of precious time). The postdoc time can be longer than four years, though.

 

 

Getting a PhD position (and the PhD) as well as postdoc positions are comparably easy, as one essentially can be counted as cheap labour. Just by being persistent one is usually able to achieve both. The next steps are the tricky ones.

 

 

 

______________________________________________________

If you are lucky you may be able to get a faculty position after your postdoc. If you are very lucky it is a tenure track position (roughly 20% of postdocs manage to score a tenure eventually in the US).

advantages: able to conduct research for a longer time in a row (usually ~5 years). eligibility for certain funding bodies and thus be able to establish a group. Much better pay than postdocs (often double or more).

disadvantages: between group management, grant writing, teaching and faculty work there is usually no time for actual lab-wok. Thus one becomes dependent on getting a good group together, otherwise chances for getting new grants (and hence a tenure track or tenure position) diminishes.

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