Is it ever okay to have tons of students?
I have been thinking a lot lately about the way that academia works. In general, it seems that grants are funded based on a number of factors, but merit of the idea is extremely important. Hypothetically, lets say that I am awesome and come up with tons of fabulous ideas. Hypothetically, I am also a fabulous grant writer and I get many of my ideas funded necessitating an extremely large lab (~ 20+ students and postdocs).
I have always felt negatively about labs of this size. It seems that the PI is not really mentoring the students, but rather the senior students/postdocs are mentoring the younger students. And that really isn't the point of grad school is it? But more recently I have been seeing this question from the other side of the fence. If I were so fabulous that I had tons of great ideas, and people were willing to fund them, shouldn't I proceed with their execution? And if that requires a large body of students in my lab, even if I am not mentoring them directly, is that okay? What do you think?
[Keep in mind this is an entirely hypothetical argument, and while I hope that I am a successful proposal writer, I am in no way delusional enough to think that I will be funding 20+ lab members any time soon.]