A PhD Interview: Sharing the Experience

To begin with, this post will be opened by “Happy Ied Mubarak, everyone!” 🙂

Few days before Idul Fitri, I had an online interview with a professor in one of UK universities. Before facing the interview, I googled many things that I should prepare for. But, there are only few information about PhD interview in the internet, most of them are a-z job interview preparation. So, I think I’m gonna write a post about my first experience for having a PhD interview with my candidate supervisor, maybe this post can give an inspiration to you someday 🙂

When they ask you to have a skype conversation, it means that you have to install and get used to it quickly. One of the reliable resources to online installation of Skype, please visit skype.com and make a skype account for yourself. Double check the headset, including the microphone because you will gonna use it. For Indonesia and other low-quality-internet countries, you have to provide a good quality internet signal to have a smooth video conference.

Enough with technical preparation, here the questions I got from my supervisor, well it can be really difference with your subject but the main idea seems not really that far from these.

What country I am living in right now?

Of course I answer this with “Indonesia”, a country in South-East Asia.

Which part of Indonesia?

Java, particularly in the capital city of East java Province, Surabaya.

How good are you in Maths?

I answer this question implicitly, I answer this with subjects that I have learned in my undergraduate and graduate degree. Besides that, I also answer this with the subjects related with Maths that I have taught for 4 years in my University. For example, I answer this with “I had learned Introduction of Calculus (Kalkulus 1) and Advance of Calculus (Kalkulus 2), Statistics, Linear Algebra and Soft Computing when I was in College. I also teach Introduction of Calculus and Statistics in my job as a lecturer in my University”

Do you like Maths?

Well, I guess I had not enough to answer his question so that he asked me a similar question about Maths. Another possibility is, maybe he just want to know whether I really like Maths or just an obligation to learn and teach them. I answer this with “Ya, I like Maths and Statistics very much”.

Have u seen my homepage?

“Yes I have, I think you have a dynamical systems as your preferable research/topic”. Just mention what just I read from his homepage to prove that I really have seen his homepage 😀

So, can you make a computer program with Java?

I wrote Java as my ability to code instead of writing a php or jsp in mu Curriculum Vitae, because I only focus on Java core programming with Mathematical function not design the interface. I prefer coding a mathematical core and logic to make a beautiful and interactive interface 😀 “Ya, Java and Matlab”

Why do you want to continue a PhD study?

Really you can find the perfect answer to this question. But I think the best one is the honest answer that make you want to have a further education. Just answer it with your heart and because my heart is only one, I will not share my answer to this post :p

Is Indonesia not an English speaking country?

This is related to my previous answer.

Do you mind if I ask you to publish some papers as a PhD requirement?

Maybe he thought that Indonesia higher education don’t require a publication to graduate. So, I answered this question with “I really don’t mind, I’d like to publish my research as you can see in my timeline proposal”

How good are you in English?

I started answering this question with laugh, I said that it depends on what skill 😀 I told him that my ability in English is varied, really good at Listening, good enough at Reading, poor at Speaking and really poor at Writing. Then he laughed at my IELTS score T.T He just wondered how come, but finally he understood my condition 🙂

When will you re-take the IELTS?

I will take my second test at 12th of October. He wished me a good luck, then.

Why do you choose this University?

To answer this question, it is better to you if you already googled your preference department/school then you have compared them by their research centres and the eligibility of professors. I think they don’t expect you to be brown-nosing person, but logically explaining why you chose this University among the others.

Give comments to your proposal.

He will give you comments about the strength of your proposal and he suggests you several possibilities to convey the problem.

Are there any questions from me to him?

Once, I read and heard that you should take a benefit from this questions and don’t miss it, they will measure your curiosity by this questions. How far you want to know them and please do not ask the questions that have been explained in their website.

How will you fund your PhD?

You can list your options here, for me I gave him my plan to pursue a scholarship provided by my country.

In brief, there are three main points: my background ability (Maths and English), my motivation, and how far I am to plan my PhD study. This is only one experience, you definitely can obtain the others by asking your colleagues and friends who have performed online interviews in advance.

Well, good luck for your upcoming PhD interview 🙂

5 thoughts on “A PhD Interview: Sharing the Experience

  1. Postingannya bagus ni mbak, membantu yg pengen lanjut sekolah lagi. Postingan tips n trick untuk IELTS nya aku juga sukaaa 😀

    btw i’m your silent reader 🙂

  2. Pingback: PhD Application Steps and Tips | Vhyn's Zone

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