I agree with all the other statements on this thread, but this one is only half true. If a PI has a history of prolonged graduation times, i.e. a majority of people leaving in 6-7 years, then I'd recommend staying away. Don't think that you're going to be the guy who finishes faster than all the others because you're better, faster, whatever.If the PI hints hints that they dont do a 3-3.5 year PhD or has a bad history of graduation times with students, I am not considering them.
The day you agree to work in their lab.When do you think is a good time to talk about expectations for graduation with one's thesis advisor? After passing the prelims? When writing the first paper? After publishing the first paper? Thanks a lot.
I discuss this as soon as I meet the PI to discuss summer rotations. I do not plan to stop reminding them at any point of my goals, and I fully expect them to be compliant with my goals (as long as I hit the minimum expectations). I pair this with advice of the MSTP directors who have a knowledge of how the PI handles his/her students. If the PI hints hints that they dont do a 3-3.5 year PhD or has a bad history of graduation times with students, I am not considering them.