"Management skills are crucial for anyone interested in public policymaking"

  • Paul Laurent at Bocconi University in MilanPaul Laurent at Bocconi University in Milan

Paul Laurent is a student enrolled in a dual Master’s degree offered by the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs and Bocconi University. He is currently completing his year at Bocconi University in Milan. Interview.

You’re studying management at Bocconi University this year. Can you tell us about your courses and about the educational approach at Bocconi University more generally?

Basically, the programme at Bocconi is based on two pillars, which are strongly interrelated: managerial tools, and policy analysis and evaluation.
The courses at Bocconi, and the educational approach itself, have a very applied, practical focus—studying public accounting, capital budgeting, performance management or public management is uncommon at Sciences Po. Group projects (in partnership with the Municipality of Milan, for example) and case studies are often central to course requirements, while research essays or presentations are less common. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s good to experience both approaches.
Bocconi also offers a wide range of courses beyond the scope of a traditional business school. It has renowned economics and social sciences departments, and I have been able to take courses in quantitative methods, policy evaluation, and public and development economics that were a real complement to the classes mentioned above.
Finally, we also have to write a thesis, either an applied or research thesis, which is a great opportunity to go in depth into a chosen topic under the supervision of esteemed professors.

You spent the first year of your dual degree studying public policy at Sciences Po. Why did you choose a programme combining public policy and management?

The idea to apply to Bocconi occurred to me after my gap year, during which I did two internships in the French administration. The first, at the French Court of Audits, made me realise I wanted to learn more about public policy evaluation; during the second internship, in a Parisian museum, I realised how important management and financial skills can be for the success of a public entity. Management and analytical skills are crucial for anyone interested in public policymaking.
Besides, Bocconi University is renowned for its healthcare management and economics focus (Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management (CERGAS), Department of Policy Analysis and Policy Management), which is the field in which I would like to work later. I was able to attend healthcare management and policy classes and I am currently writing a research thesis related to hospital management reforms.

What is life like at Bocconi? How different is it from last year at Sciences Po?

Life at Bocconi is very pleasant and academically fulfilling, like at Sciences Po, with many events, conferences, and associations; there seem to be fewer associations than at Sciences Po, with less political involvement, yet this may be due to my perspective as an international student. While the University itself is not aesthetically pleasing, it is close to the centre of Milan and surrounded by cafes, restaurants and all that encapsulates the dolce vita and Italian charm. More generally, Milan is a vibrant and welcoming city, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far.

What are your plans for the future?

Dual-degree students come from and go into very diverse fields, but I would say that many tend to work in consulting firms, international organisations or NGOs. As for me, given my interest in healthcare management and policy, I’m considering either taking the French civil service entrance examination to become a hospital director, or working in healthcare policy evaluation.

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Public Affairs Revisited

Discover the Experimental Programme in Political Arts
  • Students at the 2015 Make It Work simulation in Paris ©Martin ArgyrogloStudents at the 2015 Make It Work simulation in Paris ©Martin Argyroglo

The Experimental Programme in Political Arts, a one-year Master’s programme created in 2010 by French philosopher Bruno Latour, is positioned at the crossroads of the social sciences, politics, and the arts. Academic director Frédérique Aït-Touati explains the programme’s unique approach and the reasons behind it.

What are the programme’s objectives? Who is it designed for? 

The Sciences Po Experimental Programme in Political Arts intends to question issues surrounding “public affairs” by putting in place an experimental space that takes inspiration from pragmatist philosophy, sociology, the history of science and the history of art. 

The programme is positioned at the crossroads of the social sciences, politics, and the arts, as can also be said of the work of its founding father, French philosopher Bruno Latour. It is designed for young international professionals: social science researchers, artists (in the wider sense of the term, including architecture and design) and those working in the cultural or political spheres.  

What kind of educational approach does the programme adopt? 

The Experimental Programme in Political Arts has developed very specific teaching and learning practices over the years. Let me mention the three main ones. First, participants work in groups for a whole year on practical projects commissioned by external partners. The commissions concern real-world issues, and fulfilling them involves research, inquiry and creation. If we had to find a synonym for the programme, I would define it as a school of experiments or a school of situations, which are the basic aspects of the pragmatist approach. Ethnography–among other social sciences–art and visual culture are all part of the toolkit and things that students need to learn. 

Second, the notion of “becoming sensitive” is central. We encourage students to understand the locality and the situation in which they are working carefully so that they can choose their tools properly.

Finally, another important aspect is equality between different media: when you undertake an exercise or try to answer a specific question, you can choose your medium. You can use a theoretical piece of writing, an image, a map or a film… whatever you choose, we consider it a legitimate medium, including philosophical and sociological texts. What we try to do is to avoid regarding language as a kind of preconfigured tool; language itself has to be performed in a certain way, just like when you make films. 

This year, the theme is “Disoriented Peoples. Where Is There to Land?” Why was this subject chosen? How will you address it and what type of work are you expecting students to produce? 

This theme is taken from Bruno Latour's current thinking about how politics is deeply transformed by ecological matters. It’s been chosen for a year that promises to be very special and exciting for us, as we are going to hold a new political and theatrical simulation with our students at the Théâtre des Amandiers, performed as a public event in May 2018. The simulation will follow a similar protocol to Make it Work (an enactment of climate negotiations organised by the Experimental Programme in Political Arts in May 2015), drawing on the combined resources of design, performance and social science research.
It will be a way to "celebrate" May ‘68 without focusing on the past, but rather on the present political situation and how to redefine the older lines of class struggle when the question of ecological changes is taken into account (or denied as it is by the new US government). The theme suggested for this year, “Disoriented Peoples. Where Is There to Land?” is a very open question that will help us to recruit the most motivated students to design and devise this new political experiment with us.

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China's Peacekeeping Operations : motivations patterns and outcomes

April 5th, 2017 - 2:45 PM - Caquot Auditorium
  • Fanglu Sun ©Fudan UniversityFanglu Sun ©Fudan University

As a part of RCE (Rencontres européennes de Sciences Po / Sciences Po European Meetings)

A conference by Fanglu Sun, Assistant Professor, School of International Relations & Public Affairs (SIRPA), Fudan University, China.

This project intends to address a key question regarding China’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKO): how have China’s activities to provide security for the region interacted with its economic interests? 

Going beyond the intuition or anecdotes that economic interests are the primary drivers of China’s peacekeeping activities, Fanglu Sun intends to combine case study with statistical analysis to tease out  the direct and indirect linkage between China's eonomic interests overseas and its involvement in UNPKO.

The project is funded by United States Institute of Peace.

Fanglu Sun received a Ph.D. in political science in 2016 from Rice University. Currently, she is an assistant professor at the School of International Relations and Public Policy, Fudan University, China.

She specializes in ethnic/civil conflict and the reosolutions. Her research has been funded by NSF, USIP, and Fudan University.

Registration : click here


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A new dual master's degree with the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto

  • The Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of TorontoThe Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto

The Sciences Po School of Public Affairs and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto are launching a dual degree program between their respective Master in Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Global Affairs (MGA). 

Students will complete the dual degree program in 24 months, spending the first year at Sciences Po in Paris and the second year at the Munk School of Global Affairs in Toronto. All students will complete an internship (12-16 weeks) during the summer of the first year.

Studying at leading institutions in both Paris and Toronto, students will benefit from varied perspectives on public policies and global affairs in two different contexts (European and North American), thus enhancing their own global experience. Students may choose to study in English or French at Sciences Po. At the Munk School of Global Affairs, courses will be taught in English.

The first cohort of students in the dual degree program will start classes in Paris in September 2018 with an expected intake of 10 to 12 students.

More information on the dual degree with the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto

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Read the press release from 10 March 2017 (Pdf, 153 Ko)
Find out more about dual Master's degrees at Sciences Po
Find out more about graduate studies at Sciences Po

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Simulation: Challenges of a French maritime strategy for 2030

The School of Public Affairs, HEC and Forccast

On November 29 and 30, 2016, the School of Public Affairs, HEC and FORCCAST organized the first “Richelieu 3.0” simulation at Sciences Po on the challenges of a French maritime strategy for 2030. Roughly fifty students participated in this intense negotiation experience.

The event launched on November 29 with a roundtable on biodiversity and sustainable development issues. Participants included Biodiversity Minister Barbara Pompili and Hédi Larbi, a former Tunisian minister and professor at Harvard.

Find out more about this simulation (fr.).

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