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Why participate?

Many Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competitors have returned to compete again in future years because they have experienced the benefits that come with competing in the 3MT. Here are some of the many benefits that 3MT competitors have experienced.

Skills training

Participation in the 3MT competition allows students to develop many different skillsets, and former competitors have commented on the value of their experience in a variety of areas.

  • Presentation skills and public speaking: 3MT coaching sessions will allow students to hone their presentation skills before the competition occurs. Additionally, public speaking can be a nerve-racking experience, yet is required in many careers. Competitors have an opportunity to overcome public speaking anxiety and practice this important skill.
  • Research communication: Graduate students enhance their ability to effectively explain the breadth and significance of their research to a non-specialist audience.
  • Research perspective: Seeing how a research project fits within the larger picture is an important skillset. Distilling a research project into a 3 minute general audience presentation allows participates to gain new perspectives on their research and helps contribute to their research and writing process.

“[3MT is] a brilliant way to get students to concisely package their thoughts on their thesis, which can then be applied to the organization of the actual writing.”  - 2013 3MT competitor

Networking opportunities

The 3MT competition provides a valuable opportunity for graduate students to come together, get to know one another and talk about their research. It also gives undergraduates, alumni, industry partners and community at large the opportunity to be exposed to the breadth of research taking place at the University of Waterloo. Some competitors have even been interviewed by pubic media outlets!

“[3MT] is a great opportunity to network with other faculty members and students we wouldn't have otherwise met.”  - 2017 3MT competitor

Employment and careers

Competing in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) helps students build key skills that are highly valued by employers in many sectors. These skills, such as public speaking and communication skills, can be featured prominently in application documents. Here are some tips from a graduate career advisor to leverage your 3MT experience for your career:

  • To showcase these skills in application documents, students can discuss their experience with 3MT in a Relevant Experience section or an Extra-Curricular section, and highlight oral communication skills in their Summary of Qualifications. This is also an excellent experience to include on a LinkedIn profile.

For further advice leveraging these skills and incorporating this content into application documents, students can book an appointment with one of our Graduate Career Advisors at the Centre for Career Action.

 “I am so supportive of the 3MT- it has provided me with many opportunities and I think it even contributed to my current director deciding to hire me!”  - 2017 3MT competitor

Recognition and prizes

Participation in the 3MT competition looks great on a CV, whether you are a participant, volunteer or finalist.  Prizes are an important incentive for students entering the competition. The following prizes will be awarded at the University wide final 3MT competition in 2016:

  • First prize: winner will be awarded $1000 and will advance to the provincial finals to be held by the University of Waterloo on April 12, 2017.
  • Runner up: winner will be awarded $500.
  • People's choice: will be awarded a prize.

Overall experience

It’s important to take time away from the lab or office and the 3MT competition offers an experience that promotes professional development, while also being fun and competitive!

“Great experience overall!! I'm so proud that UW takes part in this competition.”  - 2015 3MT competitor

Looking for other professional development opportunities? Check out GRADventure for more events and activities designed specifically for graduate students!