Two years in France, two years in Japan and friends for life

Marius Harnischfeger graduated with a dual Bachelor’s degree from Sciences Po and Keio University in 2016. On his way to visit former classmates in Paris, he shared his best memories from his time in France and in Japan.

Coming from a German family and having lived in the United States for a number of years, why did you decide to do the Keio-Sciences Po dual BA programme?

I grew up as a German in the USA, where I began studying French and Japanese. Because I wanted to learn about the complexities of the Japanese language and culture, I had decided to spend a high-school year abroad living with a host family in Japan. Building on that, the Keio-Sciences Po programme offered the opportunity to strengthen my language skills in Japanese and French, both inside and outside of the classroom. I applied what I learned in the language classes by engaging myself in the student government, along with other extracurricular activities. 

Potential employers, acquaintances and friends alike mostly react with curiosity and interest in response to the dual BA programme—a testament to both the uniqueness of this degree programme and the reputation of both institutions.

What did you find particularly rewarding about this experience?

Participating in the organisation of the Collégiades in 2014 was a true highlight!
The Collégiades is an athletic and artistic competition involving 1,000 students of 150 nationalities from all seven Sciences Po campuses. In 2014, we, the Sciences Po Campus in Le Havre, hosted this competition for the first time. I worked with a team of four students to develop and implement a financial strategy for this event. It was an unbelievable feeling when I saw all the participants in the 25,000-seat football stadium, which served as accommodation, performing arts infrastructure, and a sports field.
 
At Keio, I particularly appreciated the relationship I was able to form with my fellow research seminar students and professor. Outside of academics, I was touched by how the students in my volleyball circle accepted me as one of their own; I was the tallest, but the worst player on the team!

How would you describe the dual-BA community? Are you still in touch with former classmates?

After spending two years together at Sciences Po, the small group of dual-BA students goes on to study at Keio University. Even though we did not all know each other well at Sciences Po, we became incredibly close studying at Keio University and exploring the global metropolis of Tokyo together.
 
As I am writing this, I am on my way to visit dual-BA friends in Paris, a visit I have made regularly in the past years.

After receiving your degrees from Sciences Po and Keio University in 2016, you joined a Master’s programme at the University of Cambridge. Could you tell us some more about your studies in the U.K. and what your plans are following Cambridge?

At Cambridge, I expanded upon the economics foundation I had built at Sciences Po and Keio by studying finance, environmental economics, and econometrics. I accompanied this with further empirical research on global infrastructure finance, which I had researched for my Bachelor’s dissertation at Keio University.
 
I would like to work in a field where I can support sustainable economic development, while working in an environment that enables a steep learning curve. I intend to spend the coming years working in finance and management consulting. In the long term, I could see myself working for an organisation, such as the World Bank Group, that is guided by market economy principles along with specific economic, environmental and social goals.

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