This was my first time of supervising a Masters student full time. Having done two internships (of about 5 months each), I evaluated the student’s performance and sent her the following about her strengths and thinks I think she needed to improve upon as a researcher. Bear in mind she is an extremely young researcher and hasn’t had had former experience working in a research environment. I thought about it a lot whether she would be offended and take what I say as harsh criticism. But, to my surprise, She took it extremely well (see her reply below) and promised to work upon them ! I was really glad to see that. She is going to be continuing working with us for her Masters thesis and I am looking forward to seeing her improved self !
Here are your strengths
- Your presentation skills are quite good – you are composed and flow through the presentation well
- Your programming skills are also good
- You are curious and ask the right questions
- You are ready to learn new things
- You understand the problem you are working on
Here are some of the things that I think need to improve:
- be more organized in terms of tasks, documentation and overall goals (not spread across several documents) and also saving files: make specific folders with clear names & name the files with meaningful titles right from the start
- make clear notes (at one place – refers to point 1) that you understand yourself and can remember what was discussed – write down everything – all the tiny steps that you are doing (maybe each day or as and when you are performing tasks) – to make sure some one else can reproduce them and so that you remember them and can explain them when some one asks you next time
- when you are giving a task, first you need to try it yourself & after several hours you still cannot solve it, then ask some one else to help you
- be thorough about the theory: always ask why. why those methods? Why those results? do the results make sense? if not, why not? you should be able to explain and answer questions about your work; you should be able to defend your work
- be extremely careful to pick & choose which events you want to do and how you want to spend your time keeping your goal in mind; always keep your project goal as no. 1 priority and ask yourself: is attending event x really helping towards achieving my goal or is it going to take time away from it?
- be proactive & look up/read about the task before hand instead of having some one tell you what to do; you need to spend time in reading and getting really into the detail of things
- be curious, dig into it, ask questions – dont wait for some one else: if you arent getting an answer, explore the task yourself…more often than not, you can come up with a solution yourself
- always mark me in cc in all emails and communications since I have to report about it as well
- improve on your concentrate – set goals for yourself for e.g. for the next 1-2 hours I am going to perform this task and be completely immersed in it. Also, improve on concentration during meetings.
This was her reply:
Do you supervise Masters student? What was your experience? Do you have more tips? Let me know !