"Sciences Po led me to become a versatile professional"

Hugo Ribadeau Dumas graduated from the Sciences Po Urban School in the Governing the Large Metropolis master’s programme in 2013. He also obtained his bachelor’s degree at Sciences Po, which included an exchange year at Jamia Millia Islamia University, in India, where he took classes from a master’s programme in Journalism. We spoke to him on where he is now.

What is your current job? 

I work for KPMG in New Delhi, as an advisor to the Government of India. My exact position within the firm is Assistant Manager. KPMG is an international network of audit and consulting firms.

I have been assigned several types of projects in fields as diverse as urban development, tourism and trade. In very broad terms, my job is to suggest solutions to challenges faced by the Indian administration in terms of planning, strategy and implementation.

Can you tell us about your personal and professional journey since graduation? 

Since graduating, I have decided to focus on the South Asia region, due in part to personal cultural affinities, but also to the considerable development challenges the region is currently facing. Over the last six years, I have worked in India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. In the process, I have learned several languages – Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Farsi – and have therefore deepened my knowledge of the region and its people. This has been a fascinating journey which I am keen to continue.

Professionally speaking, I have specialised in the development sector. I have had the chance to observe the sector from very different perspectives, through experiences with diverse stakeholders. I first started as a community mobiliser with NGOs in India, which involved heavy fieldwork. I was then hired by a French government agency, the Agence française de développement (French Development Agency), for whom I coordinated the implementation of infrastructure projects in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I then moved to Afghanistan to work for Altai Consulting, where I conducted research to assess the impact of donor agencies’ activities. It was after this experience that I started working at KPMG. 

How did your education at Sciences Po prepare you for this line of work?

The most useful skill I received from my education at Sciences Po is intellectual discipline. Whether it is in terms of analytical thinking or writing skills, Sciences Po definitely taught me how to be as rigorous as possible.

Sciences Po helped me to become a very versatile professional, capable of working on a variety of issues in different roles. This constitutes the major strengths of a Sciences Po education.

Did having a master’s degree make it easier for you to launch your career?

Yes, because a master’s in urban governance is still relatively rare in the job market, which I believe helped to differentiate me from other candidates. However, the fact that I received my degree from Sciences Po was not a decisive factor in South Asia, as the school is not yet very well known in India and other countries of the region.

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