lördag 23 mars 2013

Praying for good karma...

I'm so restless these days... Because I'm waiting for an important answer.

Almost three weeks ago, I had a full-day interview in Zurich, with two professors whom my Swedish supervisor Prof. A recommended for me. Both are good guys conducting very interesting research. The day looked like this: I traveled to Zurich from Basel in the morning. By the time I arrived, it was 11 o'clock. The professor who welcomed me told me they had a small program just for me. First I was going to have lunch with the other professor (since he was busy with teaching assignments that day), followed by approximately 1 hour each with two of the experimental researchers (these two perform biological experiments, the other half of the group is doing in silico computer modelling work). Then I'd get back to my host, discuss a bit about the science. The day would finish with me giving a presentation in front of FIVE research groups! When I first booked in my time for the presentation, I thought it was for two groups only, namely each PI will bring their own group to the talk. As I found out later, the presentation was actually a joint meeting between five groups with very tight collaboration. One group was sort of a spin-off from another group. The PI was recently granted professorship in Zurich, before he was a junior group leader on SNF-grants. To show the relations between these five groups, I'll just number them as 1 to 5 for now. Group 1 hosted the PI of group 2 some years ago, while the spin-off group (call it number 3) I mentioned is from group 2. Group 4 is led by a seasoned professor who is about to retire. They hope to let the guy running group 5 to take over the full professor spot once the group 4 guy leaves. By the way, the group 5 leader has only been in Zurich for one year. My day was reserved for PI 1 and 2, I've also met PI 3 in February.

So my day began. I really enjoyed the conversation with everybody I spent time talking to. Especially when I spoke to the professors, they were able to have intelligent and scientific discussion while still giving me the decent share of attention. This is quite important in my opinion. I believe how your future boss treats you can be hinted by his/her behavior during the interview session. To be honest the interview for my last PhD position was a bit strange. There were clear signs that something was not right, but I didn't pay attention. After a whole day of activities, I think I liked what I saw. The group was doing interesting things, they had very good collaborations as a science lab should do. I believe I made a good impression overall with my presentation and chatting with the fellow researchers. One of the senior researcher I talked to, if I'm not gravely mistaken, I think he likes me. To make it sound overly optimistic, I feel the team chemistry is already there even before I start. My heart tells me I would like to work there.

Now I'm still waiting for the professors to come back to me and tell me they'd hire me. Even though this is not the only lab I'm applying to, this is certainly one of the best. Everyday that went without them giving me an answer is driving me crazy. I want to ask them about their decisions, although I don't want to push them in any way that makes me disservice. If I still don't get reply within the next few days, I'd send them an email to ask. In the meantime, I'm asking you, my reader, to give me your blessings. Wish me luck and wish me have enough good karma to get an excellent PhD position!

Thank you!

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