At the end of your PhD, you are expected to be an expert in your narrow field. In fact, you should know more about your little field than your professor. On the other hand, your supervisor is expected to have the overview of a broader field where your project fits.
What a professor is for
– Discussing the solutions you are proposing to a problem you have. But remember that you have to propose solutions, otherwise you are wasting his time.
– Giving you the green light and signing: recommendation letters for student bursaries to attend a conference, travel expenses, collaboration agreements.
– Making use of his reputation to open doors, “I work in the group of Prof. …”.
In summary, a professor is a catalyst.
What a professor is NOT for
– Teaching you the ins and outs of your field.
– Deciding for you.
– Providing blazing fast feedback, he is rather busy.
In summary, YOU have to do the work.
As it turns out, knowing how to manage your professor will determine how much success you will achieve during your doctorate. Provide the ingredients he needs to perform his magic and don’t expect the unexpected form him.
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