Justine Sobieck

Senior Consultant at KYU Associés, Graduated from the Master in Sociology
  • Justine Sobieck, Senior Consultant at KYU AssociésJustine Sobieck, Senior Consultant at KYU Associés

You graduated from the Master of Sociology in 2016. Can you take us through your academic background? What inspired your interest in sociology?

Upon finishing high school, I joined the Dijon Campus, which specialises in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to the core Sciences Po curriculum, we took language, history and political science classes focusing on that part of the world. After the Undergraduate College, I spent my third year abroad at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium. Having just completed two years of multidisciplinary study, this year abroad was a chance to delve into the area I wanted to specialise in: sociology. I naturally enrolled in a French-taught programme at ULB, and was able to build up a solid foundation in the subject. I then applied to the Master’s in Sociology at the Sciences Po School of Research (formerly the Doctoral School), from which I graduated in 2016.

What are your memories of your school, class and lecturers? Which lecturer or course made the greatest impression on you?

I loved my sociology courses at the School of Research. Contrary to what you might think, I found them very practical. They required us to apply quantitative (data processing, analysis etc.) and qualitative (structured/semi-structured/unstructured interviews, observation etc.) methods to real-world scenarios as part of our research, while linking these to established theoretical analyses. The breadth of intellectual approaches was very rich.
I poured a lot of energy into my Master’s thesis. Initially, the thesis was focused on analysing a programme of extra-curricular educational workshops on gender equality among children run by the organisation Ligue de l’Enseignement in working-class neighbourhoods. The sociology of gender and education are two of the topics I am most interested in. Gradually, my thesis evolved towards an examination of the links between this popular education advocacy organisation and educational institutions, i.e. more of an organisational analysis of the situation. It was a fascinating academic journey, through which I was supported by my lecturers, particularly Agnès Van Zanten and Anne Revillard.

Where did your interest in consultancy come from?

Though the thesis experience was everything I hoped it would be, I knew early on that I did not want to continue to a PhD. That is why I put so much energy into it: I wanted to draw as much as I could out of the experience, but I did not see myself studying the same subject over several years, without a firm framework.
I discovered consultancy by word of mouth. I knew that the profession combined several of the skills I had gained through studying sociology and that it would allow me to explore a wide variety of subjects. I took the plunge and sent off a few CVs. I soon got an internship, which turned into a permanent contract. I have been working as a consultant since 2016 and the time has flown by; I rapidly gained new skills and responsibilities. I do not regret my decision to enter the profession, though I do often think back to my experience as a sociologist in training.

What skills did your years as a student at the School of Research (formerly the Doctoral School) give you?

Within consultancy, clients’ expectations are highly varied and evolving. Any answers you give to one question will necessarily give rise to others. The School of Research, and Sciences Po more generally, taught me to be adaptable and never to rest on my laurels, which is exactly what is expected of you in the consulting profession.

Do you have any advice for those hoping to launch a career in consultancy?

I would not say that all roads lead to consulting jobs, but almost all do. I currently work in a research and consulting firm (KYU Associés) that specialises in employment and training. We have previously worked with the design office sector, among others. Consultancy firms look for varied candidates from diverse and multidisciplinary backgrounds. There are numerous VSBs and SMEs in the sector, which specialise in numerous fields. Which means that everyone is guaranteed to find a consultancy firm suited to their interests.

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