* i was just taking my chances

Posted on October 2nd, 2017 by Alex. Filed under Funny Emails, India.

Many times I receive emails in which someone seeks research guidance. Most of the times, the senders are students at a university/institute and would like to start a research project. It is strange that the own university which the students are enrolled in and which takes quite a bit of tuition fee from the students, does not have the resources to support the student. So they are looking for guidance as if their university pays me my salary to do just that.

In addition, the subject in which to do research, remains very vague and unclear. The student just wants to do some research, probably because it sounds good and prestigious. However those requests are doomed even before the mail is sent. Research is hardly vague but an intense activity, which can be frustrating and without any reward for a long time. So the wish to do some “technological research” in some area, is not going to work out. However nowadays this is something that students nor universities do not want to recognize resulting that students merely “take their chances” by sending around spam:

Respected sir,

Thank you for the early response.I saw you were on leave and working as a research fellow at NTU which is really great. I was a bit confused because just like you I want to be a researcher and I didn’t find enough people of the same interests. I was just taking my chances.
Thanking you.

Yours sincerely
█████ ██████

On Sep 28, 2017 3:38 PM, “Alexander Fell” wrote:

Dear █████,

What do you define as “technological research”? If you had actually visited my website, you would have seen, that I am “presently on leave” and hence cannot guide you. In any case, you should receive guidance from IP University in Delhi.


On 28/09/2017 17:33, █████ ██████ wrote:

Date: September 28, 2017

Dr. Alexander Fell
IIIT Delhi
New Delhi-20

Respected Sir,

Trust you are doing fine. I got your contact details from IIIT Delhi Webpage. Your Academic profile looks really impressive and I am highly motivated in seeing your credentials.

Let me introduce myself, I am █████ ██████ a first year BTech (Computer Science) student at IP University Delhi. I got intrigued reading your articles and citations at Google Scholar.

The purpose of my writing this mail to you is to seek your valuable time for guidance. I would be highly obliged if you could spare some valuable time from your busy schedule to mentor me on how can I pursue my interest on Technological Research further.
Thanking You.

Yours sincerely,
█████ ██████
Contact: ██████████

2 Responses to “i was just taking my chances”

  1. Anony Says:

    I don’t think I agree with your point that you should not guide a student because his university is not paying you. If a student wants to work as a research assistant with you, that is more advantageous for you. In most cases, he is asking for some kind of work in some project that you are already working on. If you don’t like his profile then that’s another matter.
    And the point about no resources for a university to support a student is not the student’s fault. The complete Indian schooling and admission system is broken, due to which good people don’t get into good colleges and take up projects under respectable professors like you.

  2. Alex Says:

    Well, I do not agree to what you are saying. Guiding a student takes lots of time and resources, which are taken from a university that is completely unrelated to the institute, the student is enrolled in. In case a paper is the result of that work, the student’s university gets a free ride and the fame (since it is mentioned as an affiliation) for free.

    Regarding the enrollment of the student in a non-supporting university: I believe that in India a student is free to choose the university he/she wants to study in. If it is not the right university and the student figured it out within 1 month after admission (1st year BTech, which started last month), he/she should change the university. Because the student does not want to do so, the education nor admission system, no matter how bad they are, are to be blamed. Instead the student should have checked the papers published from IP University last month and figure out, if he/she wants to take admission there in the first place. Instead the student skimmed through my profile for a reason which escapes me. In the end nobody is forced to study or to take admission at a particular university. So in the end, it is very much the student’s fault.

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