- Feb 14, 2009
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I figured that as this sub-forum grows and we start getting a lot of insight about different fields, it might be useful to have a thread for the M.S./Ph.D. folks. I'm hardly an expert on business, but I do have a lot of experience with graduate school so I'll put in my random thoughts as I collect them here and hopefully others can do the same. The first thing that comes to mind is that graduate school should be used as a time to find yourself. Not in the backpack through India sort of way, but to find out the most pragmatic use of your existing skills and where you can grow. You'll have a lot of free time in graduate school. Of course you'll work hard in a lab or library, but there's certainly a lot of free time to try new things. For me, one of the best parts was being able to easily access a network of so many different people. I'm an engineer, but I was able to reach out to people working on everything from public policy and finance to football and genomics which was just incredible. It often just started by chatting up someone in the hallways or at a coffee shop or bar near campus or asking my advisor to put me in touch with someone. Those sorts of interactions helped me personally in being able to talk to just about anyone. When you have a broad knowledge base, you can relate with a lot of people and you'll be better for it. In short, don't be married to your research. You'll learn a lot in any graduate program, but you can learn far more outside of your lab than you can in it. The time you spend in graduate school often contains the most formative years of one's life, so I'd suggest taking advantage of that in all manners possible. I'll elaborate with more specific examples in further posts.