Benoît Morgat, graduate of 2019
- Actualité Sciences Po
Benoît Mortgat, a 2019 graduate of the Master in Public Policy, tells us about his career path.
Can you describe your academic and professional background?
After a French high school diploma and a three-year scientific prep course, I joined École Centrale Paris in 2013. After one and a half semesters on the Châtenay-Malabry campus, I did an exchange semester at the ESCP business school in Berlin. Then, a gap year led me to do an internship in Finance at Société Générale (Paris and then Hong Kong) as an assistant trader, followed by another 4-month internship in a start-up business in the field of tourism. My last year at École Centrale Paris was an opportunity to specialise in IT. I then joined Sciences Po in September 2017, as part of the first class of the Sécurité et défense policy stream of the Master in Public Policy. My second year as an apprentice enabled me to join the security department of a CAC40 company, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, where I am currently on a permanent contract!
What were the main stages in the construction of your professional project?
When I arrived at engineering school, like many students, I had little idea of what I wanted to do as a job, or even in what field I wanted to specialise. I was then lucky enough, during my studies at Centrale, to be able to "try out" a wide variety of fields: an exchange semester in business school, an internship in finance, an internship in a start-up business, and finally to specialise in IT in my final year of engineering school! Progressively during my Centrale curriculum, my interest in security and defense issues grew and matured. In June 2017, I took part in the "grandes écoles" cycle of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale) which confirmed my appetence for this field. I then joined Sciences Po in the Sécurité et défense policy stream where I learned a lot about this field in a broad way.
Today, I have the ambition of a great career in this field, combining my technical skills as a Centralien engineer and my career at Sciences Po!
How did the recruitment process at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield go?
When I joined Sciences Po, I had in mind to complete my second year of my master in apprenticeship (alternating 3 days in the company and 2 days at Sciences Po). So I went to a Student-Business Forum in November 2017 with the idea of starting to find out about companies and public organizations that were recruiting on a work-study program. At the time, I was more attracted to the large defense industries, but meeting a friend on the Unibail-Rodamco stand (the takeover of Westfield only took place in June 2018) allowed me to get to know this company better and to learn that a secure work-study position was being created! HR then gave me the contact details of the Safety Director for France, with whom I had an interview. Then a few more exchanges with Human Resources enabled me to access to this safety work-study position.
So the recruitment process was quite unusual, but it shows that you should not put barriers in the way when looking for a job and widen the fields of research as much as possible, because our place is not always where you think it should be!
What are the main characteristics of your job today?
After my apprenticeship, I was recruited on a permanent contract at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield where I currently hold the position of European Security Analyst. I am fortunate to be able to actively participate in the development of a security department in a CAC40 company. Indeed, the awareness of the need to focus on security issues in shopping centres is quite recent and many processes remain to be defined and implemented. My role is to support the teams in European shopping centres (around fifty centres) in order to better manage their security issues. The subjects I deal with on a daily basis are very varied: preparation and follow-up of an audit on the security of the centres, management of security data to enable management and decision-making, crisis alert systems, communication, sharing feedback on incidents, drafting of policy documents, and more!
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is a large company in terms of market capitalization but is relatively small in terms of number of employees (only 3700 employees worldwide!). It makes it possible to be very agile and quick in making decisions, to be able to take initiatives and to be quickly in contact with the top management, which is really appreciated on a daily basis!
What advice would you give to a Master’s student or recent graduate looking for a first professional experience?
My first piece of advice would be to talk to young (or not so young) professionals from a variety of fields and professions! Whether you know perfectly well what profession you would like to work in or are completely lost, you should not hesitate to meet people from your personal or educational network (the Sciences Po’s alumni network is very handy for that!) and ask them specific questions about their daily lives. Next, it seems essential to me to apply for several job offers and to identify for each of them all the characteristics that are linked to them! Indeed, a job is not just a job but also an organization, values, a place, colleagues, schedules, a salary, etc... You have to learn to always weigh all this on the scale!
Sciences Po students are very valuable on the job market because they have strong analytical skills and can quickly understand the multiple issues at stake in a given situation. That is very precious for a company in a world that changes quickly and always needs to adapt!
Don't put barriers in your way!