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ETH Zurich PhD Student Interview Questions

Updated Feb 18, 2015
Updated Feb 18, 2015
11 Interview Reviews

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PhD Student Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
Application Details

I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at ETH Zurich in February 2014.

Interview Details

First step: approached a professor directly (cover letter as email body, plus CV attached), and inquired about an available position. Second step: personal, mostly informal meetings - one-on-one meetings with every member of the research group. Third step: gave a presentation (topic: free of choice, about a previous work) in front on the whole research group, then one-on-one meetings.

Interview Questions
  • What is the biggest scientific/technical question for me, which I would like to answer/solve in my life - maybe independently from the actual PhD application.   Answer Question
Negotiation Details
No negotiation happened. The only negotiable part is the percentage of employment - it effects the working time and the salary, but based on the percentage it is still predefined (as well as working conditions) by govermental laws and/or university.
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Average Interview

Other Interview Reviews for ETH Zurich

  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at ETH Zurich in February 2013.

    Interview Details

    My initial plan was to stay at my current department for a PhD (ee@ETHZ) , but my current thesis advisor insisted that I apply for multiple positions to increase my chances. By chance, I stumbled upon a opening for a project on synthetic aperture radar, one of my secret passions. Since the opening was almost two months old, I contacted them via email to see whether the position was still available. They encouraged me to apply, I had to write a motivation letter and a brief statement of my research interests. After two weeks, I was contacted via email for a interview on site. I happen to be a EE student at the same school, so it was no problem to meet the whole research group for a afternoon. I first met the professor and a senior scientist. Very nice people, we briefly discussed my current situation, my motivation for pursuing a PhD and my plans. I was already told that being the only student from the ETHZ my chances were good. Afterwards, I gave a brief presentation of my previous research experience and we had a very stimulating question time. Finally, I had the opportunity to discuss with some PhD students and Post Doc. on their current research. I was told to wait a week for a decision, and afterwards I got an offer.
    Overall I had a very good impression. Needless to say that I accepted the position
    Update: we have discussed the terms of my employment. The projects starts from june. I'll write a review as soon as I start working.

    Interview Questions
    • Why do you want to pursue a PhD? Are you aware that as an engineer there's plenty of well paid jobs in the industry?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation. The salary is standard as advertised on the opening.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took a dayinterviewed at ETH Zurich.

    Interview Details

    direct employement after graduating from Eth masters

    Negotiation Details
    none
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at ETH Zurich in January 2013.

    Interview Details

    Apply by email. I was selected mainly because of my good references

    Interview Questions
    • Technical questions, which approach would I follow to tackle a given problem   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation phase, simply you accept their conditions or not
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    I first contacted directly the professor, as I got to know him during a lecture at another university. After some email exchange where I also sent my grade transcript, we agreed to meet for an interview. I had to prepare a short presentation about what I have been working on in those years.
    As the interview went well, he confirmed after a week or so that he would hire me. From that point, everything went really fast and I signed my contract a few days afterwards.

    Interview Questions
    • Why do you think you may be a good candidate as a PhD student?   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
  6.  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at ETH Zurich in November 2011.

    Interview Details

    About half an hour phone interview first. Was invited to come to the lab afterwards. All expenses paid. Chat with supervisor and all group members, as well as some other PIs from the institute. Presentation of master thesis in front of whole institute. Very informal.

    There was no HR or similar involved. No behavioural questions. Just a nice chat.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  7.  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took a dayinterviewed at ETH Zurich in September 2011.

    Interview Details

    ETH has the continental european system of doing a PhD. As compared to the anglo-saxon system where people get a Bachelor's degree and then apply for grad school followed by some years of research, at ETH you have to have a Master's before starting the PhD. The PhD itself then doesn't include any courses or quals and consists only of research. Application normally happens directly with the professor you'd like to supervise your thesis.

    Interview Questions
    • Generally you're asked to give a presentation of a topic of your chosing, typically your Master's thesis.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    There's not much room for negotiation as the salaries are basically fixed. The only thing to negotiate is whether you have a full-time position or not.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at ETH Zurich in November 2010.

    Interview Details

    Usually, all the candidates needs to come here in Zurich to face their final interview.

    Interview Questions
    • The most difficult part of Zurich or ETH Zurich is to resolved the housing problem.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I didn't negotiate anything, because I found my offer was quite good compare to other offer what I had before.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Zürich (Switzerland)
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took a dayinterviewed at ETH Zurich in April 2010.

    Interview Details

    - Applied directly to the professor (hard copy)
    - Got invited for a face-to-face interview 2 weeks later (was not refunded for the flight)
    - Met with the professor for a short interview (standard questions)
    - Had the chance to interact with selected PhD students (projects related to my interests)
    - Shared lunch with potential future colleagues (basic lunch at the canteen)
    - Left after coffee and short closing discussion with the professor

    Negotiation Details
    Not negotiable
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    PhD Student Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Lugano (Switzerland)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Lugano (Switzerland)
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at ETH Zurich in September 2009.

    Interview Details

    Sent a mail enquiry, sponsored by an internal known employer.
    Got an interview on site. Seminar to the group. One-to-one interview with the members of the lab. Final interview with the head of the lab.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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