If you are thinking the student can decide his/her own future, let me tell you, you are wrong!
When looking for postdocs I’ve made the mistake several times to contact directly PhD Students that were about to finish her PhD in order to see if they were interested in applying for a postdoctoral position in our group after defending the PhD thesis.
Sounds reasonable right? Well, that’s what I thought before getting angry messages and having harsh conversations with a couple of supervisors for not having asked them permission before contacting the students.
It seems that they already had other plans for them (even if sometimes the PhD student was not even aware of those plans and/or they were worse in terms of money and career evolution) and they saw me as a clear threat/enemy. I was so naive to think that as supervisors we should wish the best for our PhD students even if that meant they would not be our “slaves” anymore! I’d like to thank those angry supervisors for opening my eyes! 🙂
I honestly believe this policy closes many doors to students since researchers don’t want to damage their relationship with other colleagues fighting over a student. Crazy but true.
Of course this only happens in countries where the university system favors endogamy but this is a topic for another post.