Just came back from a quick trip to Paris where I was a member of a PhD jury for Jan Eilhard. A great exprience. In many ways the Finns could learn from the process.
I arrived on Friday afternoon flight and took a RER to the hotel. The thesis was waiting in the lobby. Picked it up and headed to the university defense hall. It started curiously at 4:30PM, on a day which was a public holiday as well.
Upon arrival, I had no idea what was expected from me. I had submitted a 2-page report on the thesis one month beforehand. It turns our I am “rapporteur” together with Marc. Two Erics go with the title “examinateur.” So the Erics are the main opponents, I ask? No, you and Eric are what is needed, Francois responds. So you have a 10-15 minutes prepared speech, and you go first, ok? Okay…
Jan went off with a half an hour presentation of what he had done. The set went great and my commentary fit well with the others. The thesis was very good so the task was easy, and the whole event relaxed. Every jury member commented in turn. Supervisor Francois was the last one, and his comments were nice and personal. After two hours the candidate and audience left the room, the the jury discussed a final statement and signed PhD approval papers. People were called in. We went all to the stage and Marc gave the final asseesment. The candidate walked out as a PhD and served champagne to everyone. No Finnish post-process is expected.
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