Finding your ideal examiners is, I think, like seeing someone who is perfect in a play. Someone with exactly the right qualities for the part.
You might have a highly specific list of requirements for your examiners. You might know exactly who you want them to be:
- An expert?
- Someone you’ve referenced?
- Someone new to academia?
- Someone experienced?
- A famous name?
- A professor?
- Someone who could write you a reference in the future?
You could want some of these features or none, and you could be really certain on who you want…
…and not got them.
Your dream team might not be available. Or one of your examiners might pass. And your supervisor could have a different idea to you.
For most candidates there will be the option to suggest names or ideas, but your supervisor makes the decision. They will be the one to nominate, and after that potential examiners get to decide.
Yes, it’s useful to share ideas and propose names, but given that the choice is far out of your hands, it’s not worth investing all your energy into casting the perfect people to join you in the one-act semi-improvised play that is your viva.
After your examiners are chosen you can learn more about them if needed. Explore who they are and find useful ways to direct your preparation; but before submission, before selection, the most you can do is share a few ideas, have a conversation, then step back and focus on other things (like your thesis).
Most candidates won’t find their dream examiners. The viva will still work out fine.
The show must go on.