Lessons learned choosing my thesis topic
Last updated: Apr 30, 2019
I hesitated for many months deciding the topic I want to write for my thesis. I was wondering whether I should write what that is practical or just inherently for the pure value of it. I decided then to write something that is practical, something that I can practice my skills and improve on it.
My mentor advised me to write a literature review of the topic I’m interested in and consider that a thesis. If just a thesis then I’m not training the skills I really want. Be aware of advisors and mentors: they can give very poor advice.
So I had been thinking about what types of projects I should do, I met Hoang and he is very tech and business savvy. He advised me to tackle churn, which is about customer retention and it’s relevant to business. It’s more than helpful because it really allows me to pitch about it to potential employers.
So then I realized if I don’t really have ideas on what to write about, the criteria I should choose are high impact problems from the point of view of society’s demand, instead of just trying to figure out a problem in vain.
Also many students I know chose topics that are from their prof’s ideas, but I feel their professors’ ideas can be interesting just in a very small scope, sometimes they advised students to write about things of a personal interest to them and might not be marketable once they graduate.
I don’t feel very regret choosing my thesis topic related to business. It helps me to think about businesses in a binocular way, which focuses on customers and companies’ interests. And yes, my thesis topic would sound really perverted to a lot of people at Quest who are interested in social justice and hard sciences. I’m among the minority one, but it doesn’t matter. My focus is different and career goals are different, so of course we are in different paths. But I can feel strongly now if I could chose a university again I’d never chosen Quest given the differences of values. I don’t know if I’ve changed for the better or not. But I’m glad that at least I have changed.