I flew to my new digs to give a rapid-fire talk that faculty who are looking for students give to incoming first-year graduate students (with whatever undergrads sprinkled in). It’s essentially a recruiting talk. I got 5 minutes to let everyone know what I do and what they could be doing. Without a reputation or a set up lab to show the students I definitely felt like I had less ammunition. I have two slots I’d like to fill in the next year for PhD students and I don’t think I got any bites. I also feel like I had less ammunition because every other speaker went over their five minutes. That’s always been a pet-peeve of mine when people go over. It’s disrespectful to other speakers and the students. And every moderator claims they are going to police it strictly, but it’s all BS.
One of my biggest pieces of ammunition at recruiting talks is always my industry work (current and past) and my connections (current and past). Most students enter industry so having a direct channel (not that high-demand PhD students need it) is a big advantage for recruiting students. Though I’ve noticed it matters more for recruiting undergrads than grad students. And I’m not really looking for undergrads right now (though I’ll always find work for them otherwise).
I never saw an event like this in my old school where students that have committed are flown in to look at housing, get tours, talk to faculty, etc. when the summer begins. It makes sense because students can get a jump start on their research and get settled before classes begin. I noticed that it only had untenured faculty, too. I felt out of place presenting when I have a relatively well established research program. Though it definitely didn’t seem like it given the less time I spoke and having minimal lab to show the students. Here’s to hoping that my hand-waving was enough to get new students on board. I wanted to originally pay to bring a current student out to chat it up with incoming ones to hype my lab but the timing didn’t work out and I’m afraid I’m not attractive enough without fancy stuff to show off.
As an aside, I’m already getting nice vibes from a lot of collaborators I have in mind. I found some good food and hikes around and with a milder climate than my last location I’m looking forward to embarking. Just need some students to help on the work-front…