Italian Msci Student

ITAphys88
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:30 am

Italian Msci Student

Postby ITAphys88 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:52 am

Hi everybody,

i am an Italian student who's seeking some advice in order to evaluate in a proper way his career plan for the future.

I have a Bachelor in Physics, 110 out of 110 summa cum laude (the highest grade with praise)
with a research experience in micro/nanofabrication at probably the most important italian research center on the topic, IOM- CNR.
I am currently working towards a Msc in Materials Science (in Milan) and i expect to graduate next year (around october) with 110/110 summa cum laude (my exam grades are really really good).

Granted that i seriously need to expatriate from Italy (which is a mess, no funds for research and development, no funds for schools, a stupid government and a horrible economy with 30% youth unemployment and low salaries), i'm still trying to figure out if i want to be a researcher or not (working in the industry or in finance).

my Msc thesis (during 9 months) is going to be about nanoelectronics or spintronics devices, but i have not decided yet if it's going to be computational (i have strong maths/statistics/computational skills) or experimental (as my Bsc thesis was).
which of the two is more appreciated by industries? and by the financial world (granted that i would like to do a numerate/computational Phd in Physics/Materials)?

i've got another question =)

with this kind of CV:

- max grades at High School (100/100)
- 2 months internship at a private "translation and interpreting" Office
- "Tech-Stage" summer school at Politecnico di Milano (during high school)
- five time winner of merit and income-based bursary (500 euros)
- max grades on both Physics Bsc at University of Modena and Materials Science Msc at University of Milano-Bicocca (110/110 summa cum laude)
- a 2 months internship at IOM - CNR, partially funded, as a part of Bsc Thesis.
- a 9 months research thesis (probably at MDM - CNR in collaboration with STMicroelectronics)
- six time winner of merit-based and merit and income-based University bursaries, ranging from 500 to 5000 euros
- merit and income-based tuition waivers awarded throughout my stay at University
- 2 years working in International Affairs Office of University
- 5 years private teaching and 5 years volunteering.
- Strong maths, statistics, computational (fortran and Matlab) skills
- Strong PC skills (web development, advanced ECDL, 3dsmax, AutoCAD, Linux)
- C1 in English, B1 in French
- Strong relationship and communicative skills

i'm probably forgetting something..

Can i have a shot to top-tier universities (both American and European), especially good graduate schools?? like worldwide top 10? top 20? top 50?

thanks a lot =)

User avatar
midwestphysics
Posts: 444
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:37 am

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:19 am

Honestly, just look at the profiles for internationals, because while I think that if you do really well on the PGRE you have a real shot we can't do much more than tell you to knock that out and it will give you a chance. You're on the right track, you need a really good record to be considered but beyond that admissions can be a strange mistress so to go from considered to admitted is hard to say. Just keep it up, do well on the PGRE, and send in some apps.

ITAphys88
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:30 am

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby ITAphys88 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:23 am

thanks a lot. PGRE is my next target!

pymtab
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:19 am

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby pymtab » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:24 am

I think you have a good shot at a top 20 institution, maybe even top 10. Just make sure you do well on the PGRE. Also, keep in mind that for a given level of research, it's much harder to be accepted in the U.S as competition can be fierce, especially among international students (everybody wants to study here).

If I were you, I would prefer the U.S over Europe, not only because the pay is better and most excellent universities are here, but also because if you want to stay after your PhD you will have better financial prospects.

One advantage to studying in Europe, is that a PhD will take less time to complete, since you are already working on your masters degree. Anyway, you should inquire about advanced standing at U.S universities.

Good luck!

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby grae313 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:46 am

ITAphys88 wrote:Hi everybody,

i am an Italian student who's seeking some advice in order to evaluate in a proper way his career plan for the future.

I have a Bachelor in Physics, 110 out of 110 summa cum laude (the highest grade with praise)
with a research experience in micro/nanofabrication at probably the most important italian research center on the topic, IOM- CNR.
I am currently working towards a Msc in Materials Science (in Milan) and i expect to graduate next year (around october) with 110/110 summa cum laude (my exam grades are really really good).

Granted that i seriously need to expatriate from Italy (which is a mess, no funds for research and development, no funds for schools, a stupid government and a horrible economy with 30% youth unemployment and low salaries), i'm still trying to figure out if i want to be a researcher or not (working in the industry or in finance).

my Msc thesis (during 9 months) is going to be about nanoelectronics or spintronics devices, but i have not decided yet if it's going to be computational (i have strong maths/statistics/computational skills) or experimental (as my Bsc thesis was).
which of the two is more appreciated by industries? and by the financial world (granted that i would like to do a numerate/computational Phd in Physics/Materials)?

i've got another question =)

with this kind of CV:

- max grades at High School (100/100)
- 2 months internship at a private "translation and interpreting" Office
- "Tech-Stage" summer school at Politecnico di Milano (during high school)
- five time winner of merit and income-based bursary (500 euros)
- max grades on both Physics Bsc at University of Modena and Materials Science Msc at University of Milano-Bicocca (110/110 summa cum laude)
- a 2 months internship at IOM - CNR, partially funded, as a part of Bsc Thesis.
- a 9 months research thesis (probably at MDM - CNR in collaboration with STMicroelectronics)
- six time winner of merit-based and merit and income-based University bursaries, ranging from 500 to 5000 euros
- merit and income-based tuition waivers awarded throughout my stay at University
- 2 years working in International Affairs Office of University
- 5 years private teaching and 5 years volunteering.
- Strong maths, statistics, computational (fortran and Matlab) skills
- Strong PC skills (web development, advanced ECDL, 3dsmax, AutoCAD, Linux)
- C1 in English, B1 in French
- Strong relationship and communicative skills

i'm probably forgetting something..

Can i have a shot to top-tier universities (both American and European), especially good graduate schools?? like worldwide top 10? top 20? top 50?

thanks a lot =)


I think if you ace the PGRE you have a great shot at any university you apply to (as long as they are strong in your research interests). I say this because you are what they call an "underrepresented" international. Whether it's because it makes you stand out in the application pool or because there is a concerted effort to increase diversity in this way I don't know, but I consistently see admissions favor these applicants. I think that because they see so many fewer quality applicants from some countries, when a really strong applicant like you does come along, they take note.

For some of your other questions, I would guess experimental/clean room skills are more valued by micro/nanofab industry, whereas computational skills are more valued by the finance industry. Most of the users here are undergraduate students, however, and not in a good position to comment as to what the industry is looking for, so take your responses here (including mine) lightly unless someone says they have genuine experience to back them up.

You state later that you want to do a numerical/computational PhD, in which case it only makes sense for you to start focusing on that now.

ITAphys88
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:30 am

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby ITAphys88 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:49 am

if i have:

- 990 GRE PHYSICS (the test seems easy)
- 800 GRE QUANT, and really strong GRE verbal and analytical (but not maximum)
- 4.00 GPA for my master degree (and 3,91 for my bachelor): both of them with final mark of 110/110 cum laude
- IELTS 8/8,5/9 out of 9 (i'm really focusing on getting at least 8!)

BUT

- insipid letters, as in Italy LORs do not exist and are not required, at all! they've never been used.

can i have a shot to top-tiers?
thanks!

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:31 am

ITAphys88 wrote:if i have:

- 990 GRE PHYSICS (the test seems easy)
- 800 GRE QUANT, and really strong GRE verbal and analytical (but not maximum)
- 4.00 GPA for my master degree (and 3,91 for my bachelor): both of them with final mark of 110/110 cum laude
- IELTS 8/8,5/9 out of 9 (i'm really focusing on getting at least 8!)

BUT

- insipid letters, as in Italy LORs do not exist and are not required, at all! they've never been used.

can i have a shot to top-tiers?
thanks!


If your letters aren't negative, sure. But if they are, there's no way you're getting in to a top 20. There's no incentive to take a risk. You should explain the process of a LoR to your PI/supervisors, and I doubt they'll be horrible--you seem like a focused physicist.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby grae313 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:41 am

Your collective research experience and letters of recommendation carry as much if not more weight than your grades and test scores. To elaborate, I see people with average grades and average test scores but excellent research experience and strong letters of recommendation get admitted over people with top scores but no research experience. Of course, if you have great scores and grades AND good letters and research experience that is ideal, but I cannot overemphasize how important research and letters are. If you don't include these at all, your application will be viewed as incomplete and will not even be evaluated. You must communicate to your professors and research advisers how vital this is to your application, and I'm sure they can help you out by writing you strong letters if you have impressed them with your work.

Your posts here so far all focus on your test scores and grades, which are great, but they are only part of the story for US admissions. Preparation and the rigor of a program can vary from place to place -- a 4.0 can mean two completely different things from two schools on the opposite side of town from each other, let alone in a different country. You need people who can compare you and your abilities to other students, and you need a track record in research to show that you can be successful in that environment. Given that I think, as I said before, you are going to do really well and I think you have a great shot at top 10 schools.

ITAphys88
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:30 am

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby ITAphys88 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:56 pm

about LoRs.
it's not like they're gonna be negative. NOT AT ALL.
i think they're just going to be uninspired, bland.
We're not accustomed to LoRs and we're pretty cold and uncaring when it comes to gratify someone, or underline his qualities.
they're gonna be like "he is good, done good, behaves good, works hard"
not like "OMG, this is it, this is a rare opportunity for <Name> to shine like it should, like the brightest of the stars"

do you understand my point? everywhere i read something about Grad Schools, LoRs are seen like fundamental and DECISIVE, and i want to know more about this, because i really do not want to compete with this disadvantage.

about research. in Italy there are NO opportunities like REU, summer schools, there's NOTHING in this nation,
no undergraduate research, bsc thesis apart.
I did 3 months of research for Bsc thesis, and i'm gonna do 9/10 months from september 2011 to july 2012 for Msc. thesis.
Nothing else. hope it's at least decent.

Do you think American professors will know about this peculiar Italian situation?
should i write something about that in the SoP?

My strategy is to increase to the maximum the objective scores,
so that maybe they will recognize that i was born in the wrong country.
thanks and sorry for this stupid rant.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Italian Msci Student

Postby grae313 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:35 pm

Know that US universities are aware that undergraduate research is much harder to come by in other countries, but as I'm sure they have dealt less with Italian students in the past, it may be worthwhile to briefly mention it in your SOP. I wouldn't spend too much time on it and I wouldn't worry too much either -- you've done very well with the opportunities you had available to you and I think that will come across.




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