Wissem Saïle, Class of 2021

Wissem Saïle, Class of 2021

From the Master in Public Policy, Public Administration policy stream and an apprenticeship, to a position as a Spokesperson Officer for the French Ministry of the Interior
  • Wissem Saïle © Sciences PoWissem Saïle © Sciences Po

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND? 

After a scientific baccalaureate, obtained in 2016, I joined the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of the University of Lille to study a law degree. Those years of studying public law, social law, economics and business law allowed me to develop a real legal understanding and point of view. On a daily basis, and in the different jobs I have done, it has been very useful to benefit from the in-depth knowledge of legal standards and their functioning. 

With the objective to better understand the reality of legal practitioners, I completed several internships in law firms. These internships allowed me to assist a lawyer in the treatment of a case related to foreigners' rights, to analyse cases in labour law and commercial law and to study the penal implications of certain cases and to attend a police custody.  

Alongside my studies, I worked from the third year of my degree for a deputy from the Nord department of France, who was a member of the Social Affairs Commission of the National Assembly. Fully integrated into the team of this deputy, who was a specialist in labor law and in the transformation of our social model, I have experienced the day-to-day work of political collaboration and thus gained a better understanding of the effective implementation of public policies.  

In order to broaden my skills and in line with my fondness for public service and public policy, I joined the eponymous master's programme at the School of Public Affairs in 2019. Despite the unprecedented health crisis we are going through, the School's responsiveness and the commitment of its teachers have allowed me to fully live the Sciences Po "experience" and to make the most of these two years to understand how public affairs works, to grasp the transformations underway and to be an actor of these changes.

I also took the opportunity to do the second year of the master's degree as an apprentice. Having already a good understanding of the public sector and public administration due to my studies, I decided to work in a consulting firm in order to open up to the private sector more. This seemed necessary to me at a time of increased dialogue between the public and private spheres. In parallel to this second year of the Master's programme, I studied a university diploma in ‘Taxation and Accounting’ in order to better understand the grammar of the business world while developing analytical and quantitative skills.  

Since September 2021, I have been working for the spokesperson of the Ministry of the Interior, Divisional Commissioner Camille Chaize. It's a great mission, and one that I will probably go back to, experiencing the day-to-day of a great ministry and its officers, all while developing a culture of security. In parallel to this job, I am continuing to train in public law.  

WHAT WERE THE MAIN STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL PATH? 

At 22, I am well aware that my professional path is still under construction! The first steps of this path were built through a series of decisive meetings. Exchanges with professionals, internships and discussions with teachers have helped me draw the first steps of my professional life.  

From my first "summer jobs" to my current job, I have tried to make an assessment of each professional experience to better calibrate my aspirations and expectations.  

In fact, it is largely thanks to Sciences Po that I have been able to evolve, in just a few years, within a wide variety of sectors: the legal field, political collaboration, consulting and public administration. 

At each step of this journey, I have tried to take full advantage of all possible opportunities to understand the specificities and codes of each sector. One of the ways to do this was to immerse myself in the Police Headquarters, and more specifically in a Parisian police commissariat.  

HOW DID YOUR MASTER 2 APPRENTICESHIP YEAR GO, BOTH IN TERMS OF YOUR STUDIES AND YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN A CONSULTING FIRM? 

The Apprenticeship programme is a very good opportunity to combine a long-term professional experience with the acquisition of academic knowledge. Beyond its multiple benefits in terms of combining knowledge and practice, this year has been very formative in terms of the "transition" between the life of a student and that of a young professional.  

In concrete terms, this "long-term" experience allowed me to fully integrate into the life of the firm and to focus on a few clients, such as a company operating in the gas sector, a large French bank, a new insurer or a health start-up. Specialised in executive coaching, the firm where I was an apprentice aims to improve the image and influence of companies in order to support their growth and transformation. By staying there for a full year, I was able to observe the results of the recommendations we had made and I gained the trust of my superiors and the partners of the firm. This long-term experience also gave me access to meetings with clients, to whom I was able to present several of our deliverables.  

The Apprenticeship programme is obviously a demanding one since it requires combining the fast pace of our host company with the academic requirements of the master's degree. But this challenge gives rise to developing a capacity for organisation, and more importantly the two experiences - academic and professional - have a positive influence on each other. I thus fed my academic work with the knowledge acquired in the company. 

Conversely, the lessons on the management of health establishments or social issues were very useful for supporting an e-health start-up, for example. In addition, the modules specific to the apprenticeship programme - particularly in IT, management and administration - can be used immediately in the company and enable us to become effective immediately. Finally, the help of the educational tutor and the administrative manager of the apprenticeship, Mrs. Jean, was more than indispensable in a year where Covid-19 played a disruptive role on several occasions.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR POSITION TODAY AS A PUBLIC SPEAKING OFFICER TO THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR?  

Typically described as the ministry of emergency and crisis management, the Ministry of the Interior is also the ministry of diversity: no one day is like another. Since September, I have been working for the spokesperson of the ministry as a contract employee.  

From a seminar on the stakes of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, to the organisation of a media programme on the digital transformation of the tools for alerting the population, to the writing of elements of language intended for the Minister in charge of citizenship or the preparation of an interview on the work of investigation in the fight against terrorism with the Central Director of the Judicial Police, the days are full! 

On a daily basis, the main mission consists in following the implementation of the ministry's public policies and the evolution of the public discourse on them in order to write notes for the spokesperson. When a crisis occurs, my colleagues and I gather all the relevant information from the departments concerned in order to inform the spokesperson, to enlighten them on the subject and to prepare them, both in terms of content and form, for a media presentation.  

Alongside this general mission, this work also allows me to be a source of proposals for in-depth subjects on a specific theme, for example on the fight against terrorism.  

WHAT CONTRIBUTIONS DID YOUR STUDY AT THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, MORE SPECIFICALLY THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION STREAM, HAVE ON THE POSITION YOU HOLD TODAY?    

The contributions of the training are numerous, both in terms of knowledge and skills. 

First of all, the Public Administration stream allowed me to develop a very broad vision of public policies. For the position I hold, it is necessary to have this holistic view in order to grasp a subject very quickly and to be able to deal with variety: the '10,000 young people' plan one day, migration policies the next, and crisis management the next. Far from being the only ministry of the Police and the Gendarmerie, the field of the Ministry of the Interior is extremely vast, and the Public Administration stream is a perfect preparation for the range of competencies needed for the role. 

Moreover, the curriculum at the School of Public Affairs leads us to develop synthesis skills, writing skills, and press literacy. These are all important points of strength in my current job. Beyond these few key skills, teamwork, change management, and project management were at the heart of the master's programme and are very useful in the professional world. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO GIVE A STUDENT OR A FUTURE YOUNG GRADUATE?

Sciences Po is above all an education in curiosity.  

The advice I would like to give is therefore simple: continue to be curious, as you have always been throughout your studies.  

Whether in your future job, in your personal life or in your free time, continue to learn, exchange with colleagues from other horizons, immerse yourself in other departments, meet professionals, listen to podcasts, take MOOCs or continuing education courses... In short, live your professional life as intensely as you lived the "Sciences Po adventure"! 

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