Tag archives for PhD

The story of becoming a PhD student

Are you planning to do a PhD? I have heard this question many times, when I was close to finishing my studies. In the end of a day it didn’t feel as a bad idea. If you do it in Sweden, it gives you job security for 4 years (sometimes even more, if you teach and do some other tasks) and a decent salary, and you have a chance to continue doing research (if you like it, of course). The employment conditions of PhDs vary across departments and universities, but generally they are good compared to other countries.

PhD ring

a PhD ring

That was my logic in 2010, and I embarked on the getting a PhD position. In the first place, I tried to continue in the same research center, where I worked during my master level studies. I participated in a project, and, after we had finished our manuscripts, there were several PhD positions available. I crossed my fingers and applied for one of them, and it went quite well in the beginning, as I was shortlisted and interviewed. But, in the end it didn’t happen!

The safest plan didn’t work out (getting a PhD post with someone you know is probably the easiest way to get one), so I started my project of sending applications to other universities. All in all, I made 16 applications within one year. Some of them were clearly hopeless, others more realistic. Out of these 16 applications I got 4 interviews and 1 job offer, and the latter transformed into my current employment at Uppsala University.

Uppsala University

Looking backwards, I can say that all was about knowing right people. The departments, where people didn’t know anything about me never contacted me back, whereas all interviews that I got were one way or another connected to my Stockholm studies, where I did my master. I suppose that it was easier for the selection committees to rely on the opinions of people they knew personally, rather than on my CV or motivation letter. After 1.5 years of working as a PhD student, my conviction about the importance of social capital is even higher. In the hierarchies and bureaucracies such as universities, it is really important to be attached to someone “senior”, who knows other people and help by “pushing” your career forward.

This weeks Alumni profile is Dr. Evans Osabuohein from Nigeria

Name: Dr. Evans S. Osabuohein

My studies in Sweden:

Evans in being delat by snow!

Evans in being dealt by snow!

The Fellowship was awarded by Swedish Institute under ‘Guest Scholarship Programme’ at PhD level for 2009/2010. I spent six months during winter at Dept of Economics, Lund University, Lund as my host Institution. I used the period to carry out empirical analysis for my Ph.D Thesis.

I also took a course -Mathematical Statistics/Survival Analysis at Mathematical Centre with a view to strengthening my analytical skills. I did the final examination and passed on 2nd February,2010.

Current occupation & work:

With my wife during my Ph.D Convocation Ceremony

With my wife during my Ph.D Convocation Ceremony

I have continued my teaching and researching in my University (Department of Economics, Covenant University, Nigeria). I got a postdoctoral fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2012. Thus, am currently a Joint Postdoctoral Researcher at German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg and German Development Institute (DIE), Bonn.

Strongest memory from Sweden:

The strongest of them was when I had the privilege of meeting and talking with a Nobel Prize Winner in Economics – Oliver Williamson during his guest lecture at Lund University.

Evans with Nobel Prize winner of Economics 2009 at Lund University

Evans with Nobel Prize winner of Economics 2009 at Lund University

Another strong memory was when I did an oral examination for course (Mathematical Statistics/Survival Analysis) at Mathematical Centre. It was the first time to do full exam of a course orally.

I will never forget the gesture of my host Supervisor (Prof Gote Hanson) who came all the way to Copenhagen 6th September, 2009 to receive me at the airport when I arrived. It was first and lasting impression.


Your best recommendation to new students in Sweden?

Stay focused. Maintaing a close and healthy rapport with your supervisor is highly recommended. There are lots to learn, which may be very useful for your future life pursuits even after returning to your home country.

 Being hosted to a send forth Dinner before I left Sweden

Being hosted to a send forth Dinner before I left Sweden