This story started 6 months ago on my first day as a Ph.D. Candidate at the Eindhoven Technical University and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow within PERFORM. Although it possibly started more than 8 years ago, when I was eager to learn physics and enrolled at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Or even in my childhood, when something piqued my curiosity about the things around, so I wanted to know the way of how the world works. Nevertheless, this is not a story of the journey, that led me to this point, but rather the depiction of my current destination.
As noted above, I studied Physics and Mathematics in Moscow, and my background was mainly theoretical at the time. Then I gained more applied knowledge in management and operational research during a Master degree. And I decided to work on a problem that is not purely theoretical like a spherical cow but can be implemented in a foreseeable future. Something that is about our daily lives, that interacts with industry and customers, that may positively affect on the society… hmm, I think, that this explanation is quite close to the motto of our university research group projects.
I am a part of Operations Planning and Control group, which is hosted by Eindhoven Technical University as a Ph.D. student. Last year I moved to the Netherlands, learned the art of biking with no handlebars, but still, I am not used to cheese sandwiches for lunch. I live in Eindhoven, that is probably not the most charming, but definitely one of the most comfortable and well-organized cities which I had a chance to visit.
As well as this, I am a part of PERFORM community. Indeed, for me PERFORM is not just an organization or research project, this is rather the community. We work in the one mutual project, in a similar area, we build similar knowledge in this topic and we communicate fruitfully during our meetings. So, we are a team of people with similar ideas moving in one direction. However, it needs to be said that the opposite would also be true. Our researches are so diverse, that sometimes I wonder, how PERFORM project can cover so different topics? Somebody study consumer behavior in retail, the other works in the field of retail logistics. And I feel that diversity matters: we perfectly achieve synergy between such opposite areas of the one object.
I take comfort in the recognition that there are a dozen and one person who deals with the same problems, who understand me and will send words of support or a nice joke at any time. This helps and motivates. We work together. We have fun together. I hope, we will meet each in the one project in the future. Although I am not sure that we will choose similar directions hereafter.
Before my experience in this position, I was completely sure that I need a Ph.D. degree in order to gain enough specific knowledge for working under interesting problems in the industry. However, after a few months of working here, I took a little glimpse into the fascinated scientific world. And realized that it is not so divorced from reality and restricted by rules as I thought. Meanwhile, I took my time to make a decision between the academic and industry career. I just set several scientific specific milestones, which will show at the end of my Ph.D. if I am skilled enough for academia or it will be wiser to specialize in some specific area in the industry.