A practical overview – by Luca Carlone


These are the slides of a talk I gave at the Laboratory for Information & Decision Systems (LIDS) at MIT on October 6th, 2017.

The talk provides a practical overview of the faculty application process, from finding open positions to sending applications and interviewing.

The talk is part of a mentoring initiative we are currently offering to LIDS students and postdocs. I decided to prepare this material for three main reasons. First, I had the opportunity to experience the application and the interview process a few months ago, hence I have a fresh memory of the process and first-hand experience about the steps I describe. Moreover, I had the chance to visit multiple departments and universities during this process and I wanted to describe how the seminars and the visits, besides being part of an interview, are an extraordinary opportunity to meet outstanding scientists and passionate students, and take a glance at the research that is happening in those departments. Second, I was very fortunate to actually get my dream job: I’ll start as an assistant professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in November, and I’ve just started as a Principal Investigator in LIDS. Third, I wanted to use this opportunity to acknowledge the support of the extraordinary people who made this possible, including my wife Marina, the amazing Sertac Karaman and Frank Dellaert, Davide Scaramuzza, John Leonard, Henrik Christensen, and Giuseppe Calafiore, and many others. I am also very grateful to Eytan Modiano, Ali Jadbabaie, John Tsitsiklis, and Kalyan Veeramachaneni for providing great feedback on the slides and for their invaluable contribution to this mentoring effort.


Abstract: Applying and getting a faculty position involves a number of steps. Knowing where to find advertisements of open positions, what to expect during the different phases of the application process, and preparing for the interview season is crucial to succeed in a competitive academic job market. The slides provide a practical overview of the application process, from the preparation of the application material to the on-campus interview. The content should be of interest for both early-stage researchers, who are considering a career in academia, as well as senior graduate students and postdocs, who plan to apply for a faculty position within the year.


Disclaimer: The slides target academic job applications in engineering, and, while I tried to maintain some generality, they clearly reflect my experience and my research area (robotics, control). Moreover, my experience is limited to faculty applications for US Universities.

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