The Elevator Explanation of Your Dissertation

When my students were ready to go onto the academic job market, we practiced an elevator pitch. What in the world is an elevator pitch?

This is the explanation of your dissertation that you can give to another faculty member as you ride down a four story elevator.  You have enough time for 2-3 sentences to pitch the idea.  If the faculty member says:

Sounds interesting.

You have a viable project. If the person has to ask a number of followup questions to understand what you are doing, you need to go back to the drawing board.

I recommend that you use this same process with each member of your committee. Practice your elevator pitch. If they look interested, you will succeed with that idea. If they look puzzled, you either need to reformulate your pitch or find another project.

Too many people hold the false belief that a dissertation has to be complicated to be passable.  The truth is just the reverse.   Simple ideas that can be simply explained are the keys to success.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.

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