As part of a programme of initiatives designed to introduce students to the wealth of professional pathways open to them upon graduation, Sciences Po organises each year a Careers Forum that brings together major employers and their potential future employees. What did the employers present at the Forum have in common? All share an interest in the open-mindedness, multi-disciplinarity, and breadth of knowledge that characterise the Sciences Po profile.
Introducing Sciences Po’s Graduates
The results of our 2018 Graduate Employability Survey revealed that there are about as many career paths as there are Sciences Po graduates. But amongst this variety lies a common denominator: a capacity for adaptation and fervent agility recognized by all recruiters as the Sciences Po "trademark". This is not however, the graduates’ only meeting point. Beyond their versatility, what other qualities unite these young professionals reared on the Saint-Germain-des-Prés campus? In their remarkable diversity, what is the je ne sais quoi that makes Sciences Po graduates like no other?
Agility and adaptability
One of the qualities most frequently cited by recruiters is also that which makes them difficult to label. Graduates of Sciences Po stand out for their extraordinary ability to adapt, coupled with a quick intuition that leads companies to speak commonly of "agility". "This is an essential quality in today’s professional world, which is subjected to the constant shocks and changes of globalization”, explains Nicolas Gros, Vice-President of Human Resources at Air France-KLM North America. “We want to recruit graduates who are conscious of such global issues and challenges and that come to companies ready to help them evolve, not reproduce the same recipes". Agility finds its source at the very heart of Sciences Po’s educational project, in the interdisciplinary nature of courses and focus on fundamental principles of the social sciences. Since the institution’s establishment, its curriculum has been designed to unite all perspectives, without compartmentalising students’ interests and abilities.
Closely associated with these qualities, and just as frequently cited: an analytical and critical eye capable of finding solutions to any issue. This is particularly relevant in the entrepreneurial profiles emerging from Sciences Po. Aided since 2008 by an incubator which takes on 15 start-up projects each year, founders of business are no longer considered an anomaly amongst the graduates of Sciences Po. "Their spirit of synthesis, forged throughout the training, prevents them from getting lost in the details and helps them to make the right decisions," says Maxime Marzin, Director of the Entrepreneurial Centre at Sciences Po.
The profiles of Sciences Po’s entrepreneurs are thus at once "complete" and "balanced". They understand how to react to a problem or problematic, before finding a working solution. This capacity for self-led problem solving, or what Marzin calls the graduates’ "learning to learn" faculty, is nurtured rigorously at Sciences Po in order to thrive throughout the students’ working lives.
A seamless entry into working life
More recently, the university has added to its uniquely multidisciplinary brand of pedagogy a commitment to putting theory into practice, making professional training an integral part of all its programmes. Opportunities to pair work with study are fully integrated into courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, with undergraduate students encouraged to take up internships during their third year abroad and many Master’s programmes providing the option of part-time study alongside an apprenticeship. This is complemented by possibilities for networking at every stage of study. Coupling a teaching staff that comprises a large percentage of leading professionals from the public and private sectors, with a programme of events drawing high-profile invitees, Sciences Po provides its students with a unique exposure to those already engaged in putting the theory on their syllabus into practice.
Sciences Po graduates are quickly operational and, once integrated into the job market, are capable of taking positions of responsibility across sectors and professions. So, despite the diversity of their collective career paths, each employee in a cohort of Sciences Pistes is sure to adapt quickly to whatever professional domain he or she is thrown into.