After the PhD what's next?

Melody with her supervisor Dr Yulin Fang

Melody Zou is a Year 4 PhD student in Information Systems, who is now applying for academic posts. Fresh from a round of interviews, she talks to us about the interview process, and her academic experience overseas.

How do typical interviews proceed?

Well a standard interview procedure is a one-day campus visit. One gives a job talk, meets with junior and senior faculty, and senior management. At the end of the day, there might be dinner with the search committee.

It seems like both sides put in a lot of effort?

I guess we are trying to see if we would be a good fit for one another, especially in the research culture. Often faculty are concerned with personal and professional development – whether the candidate would adapt to the environment, and whether there are people in relevant research areas.

What kind of universities have you interviewed at?

Like CityU, they are research-orientated universities. They put an emphasis on research and value high quality research.

Have you had opportunities to study abroad?

I have been a visiting scholar in the US for six months in a college town. I had a productive time there and wrote some papers. Meanwhile, I learned how to live with myself. For example, I learned Ukulele, took an online course on Coursera, and practiced how to bake egg tarts, and lobster - not together!

Did you see other parts of the US?

With fellow students, we hired a car and organized a trip down to Florida. We stopped off at Orlando, visiting Disney, and Universal Studios, then to Kennedy Space Centre, and down to Key West at the tip of Florida. That was a great experience, planning a road trip by ourselves.

Do you see your future outside Hong Kong?

For me the opportunity to do high quality research is the main thing. But after being a loyal CityU student for 10 years – I did a BBA, a Masters and now the PhD - for my own personal development a switch abroad would probably be good. But the exact location is a secondary consideration.