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TiTech Research Student

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9 Jan 2017
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Hi everyone,

I've got several questions regarding research students at TiTech. But first, let me explain you my somewhat unique situation. After graduating from university in my home country (that is, in Russia) in CS I spent 10 years working as a software engineer. Out of these 10 years, I spent 6 in Japan, experienced the culture, learned the language and got JLPT N2. My experience in the industry led me to understanding that the only way to pursue my passion is to get into academia and do genuine research in CS rather then spend my life tinkering with legacy code.

I decided to get an Ms and the a PhD in Artificial Intelligence at TiTech, but passing the entrance examination for Ms after so many years in industry is obviously out of question. Whatever research I did for my bachelor thesis is not relevant anymore and in any case it was in image processing, not in AI. Getting a recommendation from my university would also be hard, if not outright impossible - the professors and the dean are different from the time when I studied, and I doubt anyone remembers me there anymore.

So I decided to start as a research student first, and then move to masters degree (this seems to be a general advice to prospective graduate students anyway). So here come the questions:

1. Is it at all possible to start as a research student after 10 years in industry? I should probably contact professor first and ask him, but I would like to know in advance if this, in general, is a futile enterprise, instead of wasting professor's time.

2. Do I need a research proposal? Or do I have to contact the professor and ask him about whether I need to prepare one in advance. To be precise, I want to apply as a privately-funded student, not the MEXT one.

3. I found a professor I would like to work with, but he is a visiting professor at TiTech. Can a visiting professor be my mentor there?
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