I'm an undergraduate looking for research positions for the summer. Suppose there are two PIs who conduct researches that spark your interests equally. One is an "old" nationally respected full professor who has a lot of professors/postdocs working for them, the other is an independent young PI who recently finished his postdoc at a top notch institution. Assuming you had no prior knowledge of the PIs' characters, who would you rather work with? I talked to a professor about this and he pretty much said the pros and cons break down to: old full professor: pros: possibly strong letter of recommendations from someone of high position con: very unlikely that you get to directly work with him/her, but with whoever's working for them...I'm assuming this means it would be difficult to get a good letter of recc from the full professor. young professor: pros: most likely using "up to date" techniques. big possibility that you get to directly work with them. since they're younger they'll be around longer and serve as a future "connection" if you pursue similar stuff. cons: they can write a strong lor provided you did great, but not heavily weighted as one coming from a known professor. I know luck is a major factor in the outcome of how well research experiences go, but it feels like direct interaction with a young professor will probably benefit me a lot as a future researcher moreso than working in a big lab. However, as a potential MSTP student should I be concerned about "playing politics" and getting the strongest recommendation letter possible (in other words, give my best shot with the known professor?) Your thoughts? Thank you.