Home>Estelle Elizagoïen, Class of 2019


Estelle Elizagoïen, Class of 2019

Estelle Elizagoïen (crédits : Commission européenne/European Commission)

Can you describe your academic and professional background ?

I joined Sciences Po at university college on the Euro-American campus in Reims, then did my exchange year in Vermont in the United States.

On my return to France, I joined the dual master's programme at Sciences Po and HEC in Corporate and Public Management in order to gain a better understanding of how a company works and the challenges facing the private sector through management sciences, while continuing my training in public policy. This led me to do two internships with Michelin in South Carolina. At Sciences Po, I chose to specialise in environmental issues, doing a traineeship in public affairs at the Danone group in Paris and writing my research project on an offshore wind farm in northern France. 

In parallel with my final year of studies, I took the competitive examination to become a civil servant in the European Union. As this entrance exam took several years to pass, I went to work for Air France - KLM in New York, and then took a year of preparatory classes for the French civil service entrance exams.  

After passing the EU administrator's competition, I have been working for 2.5 years in the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment.

What were the major stages in building your career plan ?

Two major steps come to my mind :

  • The environmental policy course I took in my Masters at Sciences Po Paris convinced me to focus my career on environmental and climate issues. I found it a way of combining meaning and impact, in a field that is motivating on a daily basis. 
  • My internships at Michelin and Danone had a major influence on the development of my career plan. They enabled me to confirm my preference for working in the public sector, and to gain a better understanding of the levers available in the private sector to support the ecological transition.

What are the main aspects of your current job ?

At the Directorate General for the environment, I work on circular economy policies. 

I really enjoy my job because of the subjects I work on, which are both very tangible and at the heart of today's major issues, but also because of the wide variety of cases I work on and the people I interact with. 

There is some background work to contribute to the development of public policies, some support tasks for the hierarchy, and a lot of coordination both internally and with other European institutions and agencies. I meet very frequently with companies, NGOs, public authorities of the member States and international organisations. 

All this takes place in a profoundly multicultural working environment. You have to be versatile and adaptable. 

How did your training at the School of Public Affairs, and more specifically in the Corporate and Public Management dual degree with HEC, contribute to the position you hold today ? 

The Masters in Public Policy at Sciences Po enabled me to specialise in environmental issues and acquire knowledge that is highly relevant to the EU in general and to my current position. Thanks to the HEC training, I have taken courses and had access to internships that were crucial to my understanding of public-private interactions and business models, which are central to circular economy issues. 

Would you have any advice for a student or future graduate ?

I'd recommend that students don't hesitate to contact and talk to professionals whose work interests them. This gives them a better understanding of the realities of the job, helps them make contacts and sometimes creates opportunities. 

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