Philip Guo (Phil Guo, Philip J. Guo, Philip Jia Guo, pgbovine)

Advice for first-year Ph.D. students

(40-minute guest lecture)
Summary
Here is a 40-minute talk on advice I would've wanted to hear back when I was a first-year Ph.D. student.

I gave a guest lecture in our department's Intro. to Ph.D. seminar class that all new Ph.D. students take during their first semester on campus. I focused on advice that's most relevant to first-year students rather than general Ph.D. life advice.

Here is a series of short videos extracted from that lecture. The editing is rough since I had to cut out a lot of impromptu discussions to make the videos crisp. Enjoy!

Part 1: The One-Dimensional Model of Research

Part 2: The N-Dimensional Model of Research

Intermission: My Main Tip for Productive Meetings with Your Research Advisor

Part 3: Twelve Sticky Notes

Back when I was a Ph.D. student, my advisor kept on giving me the same tips over and over again, so I condensed them into twelve sticky notes that I pasted onto my office computer monitor:

I stared at those tips every day while I was working, and now I'd like to share them with you ...

  • Tip 1. Start simple
  • Tip 2. Look at raw data
  • Tip 3. Be concrete
  • Tip 4. Incremental results


  • Tip 5. Find something interesting
  • Tip 6. Push hard on clean signals
  • Tip 7. Actionable
  • Tip 8. Comparative advantage is key


  • Tip 9. Find solid levers to pull
  • Tip 10. Document successes and failures
  • Tip 11. Inspect outliers
  • Tip 12. Eliminate sources of bias
Created: 2015-11-05
Last modified: 2015-11-05
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