A while ago I gave a practice job talk at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University. It was not really intended for a real job, but for my own training to address the important issues of my dissertation to a general audience. The audience were a group of predoctoral fellows, geographically from Mainland China and Indonesia, who are enrolled in PhD programs at home and have come to Harvard for their research here as Rajawali fellows under the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia.
The talk was about 30 minutes on Chapters 1 and 2 of my dissertation, which were read by the fellows prior to the talk in advance. The questions that they posed during the Q&A sessions were very important to my future job talks. Some were already addressed concerns or questions regarding my project (that I had been receiving continuously throughout my research), and some were some new insights from a Chinese perspective in the forms of comments, and some questions regarding the institutional approach and fieldwork methodology that I have undertaken. Overall, I think that the slides were very much simple and understandable to the general audience, but I need to figure out a way to convey my messages in a more simpler and quicker format in the future talks. As for the PhD defense, the framework that I presented was basically it, but I’ll need to spend some time working on lessening the time required to explain the framework since I will also need to explain for my empirical findings.
In a nutshell, it was a learning experience I will never forget, thanks to my senpai, Kori-san, who invited me to give a talk there.