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Fewer than 25% of MIT Ph.D. students will continue on to professorship. Most of them will work in private industry, in the US and abroad. My vision is that Ph.D. students would be prepared to become industry leaders when they leave their labs. They need guidance toward job placement, and training in the kinds of skills (beyond lab skills) that will make them capable of success in their organizations. They also need resources to help understand the industry marketplace for their skills.
What would the future of MIT look like if Ph.D. students were better prepared and trained to rise to industrial leadership? More potential collaboration with MIT labs, departments, centers, and academic courses over the alumni's career lifetimes. A stronger alumni network for future generations of students to find jobs and obtain industry partners, collaborators, and mentors. A more efficient pipeline for MIT's research to impact the world. More potential alumni donors of financial resources, time, and specialized participation.
I would like the MIT administration to believe that training its Ph.D. students for industry leadership is compatible with them doing excellent scientific work during their time at MIT. Graduate student advisors are too busy to prepare Ph.D. students for a collaborative, globalized scientific and technological workplace, nor do they have this special expertise. The challenge can be met by improved career services, that are best-in-class or even breaking new ground among national research universities.
By comparison, MIT has a tremendously strong ecosystem for Ph.D. students (and undergrads) who wish to start companies. This includes the 100K competition, many entrepreneurship classes, internship and externship opportunities, multiple centers, the venture mentoring service, on campus mentorship, and project funding opportunities. It would be wonderful if there were such a strong ecosystem for Ph.D. students who wish to work in established companies. Thousands upon thousands of MIT Ph.D.s will work in US and global companies. Let's prepare them to change the world out there -- and strengthen our institute in the long term.