Working within my group for your MSc thesis

You start your MSc thesis in my group, lucky you, me and my group! I hope every thesis is a win-win situation where the supervising staff (the researchers in my group and me) learn from the student as much as the student learns from us. To create such situation, I think the best way is to have a good organisation. Here are how we will work. These advices comes together with my other post on the 9 laws towards a successful MSc thesis.

Most if not all MSc thesis will be performed within the current research topics of my group. Of course, we sometimes want to explore new ideas and some theses will be on the fringe of these topics. Nonetheless, every student will have a mentor—a PhD student supporting them. This will be their first contact person to help them and will ensure a quick feedback.

In practice, I want regular meetings organised between the students and their mentor. Once every week (at least), the students should send an update and organise a meeting with their mentor. Similarly to being agile in projects, these meetings should help moving things forward throughout the year. Once every month, the student will also organise a professional meeting including me. The purpose there is to train you on three things: prepare such a meeting with an agenda, present your latest findings, and write documents. The last two are particularly important as you will have to defend your thesis and write a manuscript. Starting early with both is key to success.

I understand your learning programme won’t allow you to have the same intensity all the time. You might also be abroad with many courses to attend. But I insist, the best thing for you is to work on your thesis regularly and during the full year. We see a strong difference in maturity and quality when the student works earlier on the thesis. Moreover, the supervising staff has much more opportunities to give feedback. We are frustrated not to give you more inputs when everyone sends something at the end of the academic year. You will be frustrated too and your score will definitely be affected.

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