What does it mean to have a right supervisor?

One day I was having a conversation with a peer research student about “How to choose a correct supervisor?” I met my supervisor, Jennie, at first round so I didn’t have major problem with finding a supervisor. I went to her because of her area of research suited what I wanted to do at the time. I still question today why she agreed to take me as a research student then.

Our conversation started with a recent experience of this peer student when she had trouble with her principle supervisor and decided to graduate her principle supervisor. Now, she had to find a new principle supervisor for her research study. Well, to complicate this issue further, her co-supervisor is a good friend of her ex-principle supervisor. However, her co-supervisor located in another university. She explained how distressed she was because she thought her principle supervisor was a good friend of her; however, it seemed like this wasn’t the case. She said that she looked at her supervisor as a great mentor but this wasn’t the case too.

This was another case that showed me how fortunate I am to have such supervisor. I believe such relationship with your supervisor is two-way relationship. My relationship with Jennie wasn’t just a smooth ride. We still talk about those hard times but we moved on.

Great boss challenging people in the right way.

Leading, not managing.

Supporting them by giving them both a platform they can count on and expectations they can stretch for.

Seth Godin

When Jennie first took me as a research student, I was still very weak in English proficiency. I guess, it is fair to say we had some problem with communication. I wasn’t a top mark student nor very committed student. I was probably lower than average student.

I still remember that day when I first approached her to discuss about research degree, she listened to my inquiry then said “You think about your research degree for a semester (6 months). If you still want to do this, let’s discuss it further.”
Well, 6 months later, when I wanted to talk to her further, she had to cancel our last class where I was planning to discuss this further with her. We met afterwards and developed further about my research idea.

Good supervisors can take you to incredible heights.

They help you learn to fly, providing the wind beneath you, and providing a net for when you fall.

Nancy White-Gibson

I have a supervisor who know me more than I do, who saw my potential, and believed in my ability. With such supervisor, I can imagine that I will proudly walk across that stage with big smile on my face.

What kind of supervision do you seek?
Are you having a right supervision?
How far can you progress with your supervisor?

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