Thinking of applying to the School of Public Affairs?

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  • All you need to know about the School of Public AffairsAll you need to know about the School of Public Affairs

On Wednesday 13 January 2021, a student from the School of Public Affairs and Yann Algan, Dean of the School of Public Affairs answered questions from prospective students during a live interview.

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You were unable to attend our past Open House Day?

 > Read the recap of our Graduate Schools' 2020 Open House Day

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Public Administration: A historic and a cutting-edge discipline

  • Administration Publique © Matej Kastelic/ShutterstockAdministration Publique © Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock

What is the Public Administration policy stream?

The Public Administration policy stream is the most renowned course option offered at the School of Public Affairs. That’s undoubtedly thanks to it being the oldest programme at Sciences Po – what fewer people realise, however, is that it is also one of the most modern!

Every year, the Public Administration stream attracts a huge number of students from immensely varied horizons. Naturally, some are these are keen to launch their careers within the public sector, while others are more interested in the private sector or institutional relations. Others still decide to go into national, European or international politics.

The stream equips its students with a base of fundamental, multidisciplinary knowledge in French and European public law, public finance, economics, social issues and all aspects of public affairs. This complements invaluable professional skills in management, negotiation, project management, public innovation and design thinking.

It is primarily designed for students who wish to enter the senior French and European civil service, either through competitive recruitment exams or by applying to contracted positions. At the School of Public Affairs, we offer preparatory classes for 14 recruitment exams. But the stream also provides excellent training for a host of other professions: public affairs departments in French or international businesses, consultancy firms, or even budding start-up creators! Did you know that more than half of students in this policy stream go on to work in the private sector?

Graduate School, Master’s programme, policy stream: let’s break it down…

The Public Administration stream is a course option for students on either of the two two-year Master’s programmes taught at the School of Public Affairs: the Master in Public Policy and the Master in European Affairs.

When they join the School of Public Affairs, students choose one of two Master’s programmes and one of 11 policy streams, including the Public Administration stream. Choosing this option gives students access to a range of stream-specific courses relating to the field of public administration. The structure and breadth of teaching at the School of Public Affairs means that students can personalise the curriculum right the way through their degree, adapting it to their own career plans. The further students progress in their chosen programme, the more opportunities they have to personalise their studies.

What does one learn on the Public Administration policy stream?

All students on the Public Administration policy stream take the five core courses attached to their chosen Master’s programme.

These are grounded in concrete case studies, which give students in-depth, comparative and interdisciplinary knowledge within the broader field of public affairs. They blend economic, legal, ethical, historical, political, managerial and digital perspectives. Students also conduct a deep dive into one particular case study. By immersing them in a complex problem-solving situation, this study gives them real-life insight into decision-making and policy implementation processes across different sectors (both public and private).

Students then take five courses relating to their own policy stream: Public Law, European Public Law, Public Finance, Economic Policy and, finally, Social Issues.

The School’s Policy Lab provides a collaborative space for students to examine case studies, participate in simulations and design and implement public policy projects within the Public Policy Incubator. This is a chance for them to develop the practical skills they will need in their careers: teamwork, negotiation, change management and leadership.

This core learning is enriched by three additional elective courses, which students choose from over a hundred options on offer each semester. Students on the Public Administration policy stream also take language classes and two courses from Sciences Po’s Common Academic Curriculum.

Every semester, as in all policy streams at the School of Public Affairs, students on the Public Administration pathway can also choose to attend additional optional classes to prepare them for competitive civil service recruitment exams.

These optional classes cover general knowledge, international affairs, European affairs and advanced economic issues.

Students spend their fourth and final semester completing either an end of degree internship, an academic exchange at one of Sciences Po’s partner universities, a personal project or a master's thesis.

They may also wish to take a gap year between the two years of their Master’s to complete an internship or academic exchange. The other opportunities available to them include an integrated apprenticeship in the second year, the chance to get involved with the public policy incubator, a packed calendar of events, a long list of student associations and Sciences Po’s vibrant student life.

All core and elective courses offered at the School of Public Affairs are designed to open students’ minds to contemporary challenges facing politicians, civil servants and stakeholders across public affairs:  deontology, digital transition, inclusive and sustainable policy, democratic challenges. These are just some of the issues to which our students are trained to respond.

What happens afterwards?

The career paths unlocked by the Public Administration policy stream are as varied as its course options. 58% of graduates from the Class of 2018 went on to work in the private sector, 39% entered the public sector and 3% joined international organisations.

The public sector route

A significant proportion of students aspiring to enter the senior civil service in France or Europe choose to sit competitive recruitment exams. The School of Public Affairs offers preparatory classes for 14 of these, including those for the ENA, the INET, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the French Parliament, the Banque de France and so on. It also offers preparatory classes for the EU’s own civil service recruitment exams.

Every year, some of our graduates go on to careers in politics, as parliamentary attachés, ministerial cabinet secretaries, local government employees etc. Their workplaces include ministries, parliaments and the European Commission.

The private sector route

The majority of our graduates from the Class of 2018 now work in the private sector. They are employed in the public affairs departments of French and international businesses, at leading consultancy firms or else in the non-profit sector, think tanks, start-ups and more.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Key figures of the Public administration policy stream (from the 2020 Graduate Employability Survey asked to the Class of 2018) :

  • 88% of graduates are employed less than 6 months after graduation
  • 58% in the private sector, 39% in the public sector and 3% in international organisations
  • Job opportunities by profession: Public sector consultants, Parliamentary attachés, Institutional relations officers, Hospital directors, French and European public administration officials, Public law and regulation advisors, Consultants to firms, Managers of cultural institutions, Central administration directors, Development analysts
  • A few major employers: Ministries, Parliaments, The European Commission, consulting firms (EY Consulting, Capgemini, Accenture, Mazars, BCG, KPMG, etc), Public affairs divisions of major companies, etc.

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Students launch their start up following their participation in the public policy incubator

YOU ARE JUST LAUNCHING YOUR START'UP, PUBLIC +, HOW DID YOUR PROJECT COME ABOUT AND COULD YOU TELL US IN A FEW WORDS WHAT IT IS ABOUT?

Our project was born from a challenge launched by the préfecture of Ille-et-Vilaine for the Sciences Po Public Policy Incubator in January 2020. The project consisted of shaping and developing an "innovative" France Services system for the town of Châtillon-en-Vendelais in Brittany. The France Services policy makes it possible to bring together within hosting structures (town halls, prefectures, etc.) various public services, through two administrative agents capable of responding to the majority of citizens' requests. It is a system introduced by the French President after the Great National Debate, which revealed that only 52% of French people have access to the public services they need. 

Public + was born to respond to this reality, creating an amplifier of public policies with the ambition of a public service that is more human, more innovative and more efficient. During the project, we developed a double-entry portal to expand France Services. "Mon Espace France Services" provides better access to user information and support for the day-to-day work of staff. 

IN CONCRETE TERMS, IF I AM A PUBLIC SERVICE USER, WHAT CAN THE PUBLIC + SOLUTION DO FOR ME? IF I AM A PUBLIC SERVICE AGENT, WHAT CAN THE PUBLIC + SOLUTION OFFER ME? 

For users, the Public + solution makes it possible to centralise information, personalise and modernise the public service. For example, thanks to a geolocation tool, I can access information from the nearest France Services. A simple appointment scheduling tool and an automatic document generator allow me to prepare my appointment in advance. Lastly, video-conferencing and the France Services evaluation form make it easier to access France Services from your living room and to continuously improve public services.

Through a survey conducted among 250+ France Services multi-skilled agents, they expressed their desire to have tools to provide better support, better organisation and better training. In order to give them the means to carry out their missions effectively, we provide them with an appointment management tool, and a generator of "administrative reports" (a pre-filled document summarising the key points of the appointment, given to the user). Agent training is at the heart of our solution. In order to compensate for the lack of training felt by many agents, we have integrated a continuous training path through the centralisation of technical data sheets, online training on cross-functional subjects, and fun quizzes to test and refresh their knowledge.

HOW DID THE COACHING YOU RECEIVED DURING THE PUBLIC POLICY INCUBATOR WORKSHOPS HELP YOU SET UP YOUR PROJECT?

Our start-up is based on innovation and it was at the Public Policy Incubator that we really learned how to innovate. First of all, the workshops allowed us to discover the methods of design thinking in order to elaborate user paths, create personas... These methods of reflection took us out of our "academic" framework by conceptualising our ideas in a visual, anticipatory and agile way, in order to allow the shaping of a relevant and functional project. Starting from the field, listening and creating synergies between the actors are the keys to the success of all of our projects. In a way, at the Public Policy Incubator we have learned how to become the engineers of tomorrow's public services. 

STUDENTS AND ENTREPRENEURS, HOW EASY IS IT TO MANAGE?

We see it rather as a strength. The knowledge accumulated during our studies allows us to integrate theoretical elements into a concrete practical case and enrich it with our experiences. The idea is to put our Sciences Po backgrounds at the service of everyday life for the French people. Moreover, our profiles are different, but they are united in the desire to think about and improve the public services of tomorrow. Public + is the project of 5 young people who want to serve the common good. But we're not going to lie to you, it helps to be 5 co-founders when several appointments follow one after the other and one of us has a public law presentation to finish! 

AT WHAT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT ARE YOU AT AND WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DEVELOP?

Public + has now been set up and is in talks with various institutional players in order to launch an initial trial of our digital tool "Mon Espace France Services". In the short and medium term, we hope to roll out our digital portal nationwide to enable the France Services system to reach its full potential. We are also initiating a diversification of our activity beyond the scope of France Services in order to improve other public policies. Our digital portal can be useful for other public policies and we are ready to work with stakeholders in the field to enhance their public policies. 

We don't want to leave the “house” any time soon and we are considering integrating Public + into the Sciences Po incubator to help us achieve these goals.

WHAT VALUES IS YOUR PROJECT BASED ON?  

The whole project is based on the ambition to make Public + service more human, more innovative and more efficient. To achieve this, we have committed ourselves to 11 points in a manifesto that guides all our decisions and helps us guarantee our freedom to innovate. We believe that innovation in the public sector is a result of this commitment, which has always created a relationship of trust with all our partners. This backbone will be the guarantee of our success as a full-fledged player within the ecosystem of public innovation.  

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Looking back at the Masterclass with Aloïse Sauvage

  • Aloïse Sauvage © Shelby DuncanAloïse Sauvage © Shelby Duncan

Last October, we welcomed Aloïse Sauvage in the framework of the Masterclasses of the Culture/Cultural Policy & Management stream. The students of this stream as well as other School of Public Affairs students had the chance to listen to the testimonial of the artist who excels in many fields. A few selected students had the opportunity to ask Aloïse Sauvage about her work as an artist, shaken by the health crisis, and wrote the article that follows. 

On 14 October 2020, within the framework of the Masterclasses of the School of Public Affairs specialising in Culture and Cultural Policy & Management, we had the opportunity to meet the artist and singer Aloïse Sauvage, accompanied by one of her two managers, Elodie Filleul. This was a real opportunity for the students of the policy stream to engage in a direct dialogue with the actors and creators of the music industry in 2020. 

Because of the health restrictions, Aloïse Sauvage told us about her career path and her rich experience in artistic circles from her kitchen, via Zoom. Indeed, the 28-year-old circus-trained singer and dancer has already appeared on the small and big screen and has released an album, Dévorantes. With multiple strings to her bow, Aloïse Sauvage is a complete artist who yet shows great humility about her success. She talked to us with enthusiasm about her artistic approach, her commitments, but also about the difficulties of artistic emancipation in the complex environment that is the music industry. Elodie Filleul, her co-manager (together with Melissa Phulpin), joined us in this round table to shed light on the "management" aspect of the creative process. She has been active for more than twenty years in the music industry and has worked with major labels while maintaining her independence, which is an important aspect for Aloïse Sauvage. Her experience also allowed us to talk about the profound transformations that the music industry has gone through, especially in the digital era.

We then discovered an artist whose music reflects a great vulnerability and who fully assumes it, even if this implies a counterbalance to the trends within the music industry. When the means of promotion, distribution and even production are becoming digital, our two speakers also expressed the need for proximity with the teams that surround the artists. This is especially important for a multidisciplinary artist, who asserts herself through both singing and rap but also through her body. She talked about her famous "magic microphone" which allows her to mix different disciplines on stage, especially circus and dance. 

The album Dévorantes talks about codes, norms, and stereotypes as well as the labelling that this new generation of musicians, including Aloïse Sauvage, is trying to break down. However, Aloïse does not present herself as an activist when she makes music, she shows what she is, without codifying or classifying herself. It is by assuming and asserting this freedom that she considers her art to become an emancipatory vector with a real societal impact.

Aloïse Sauvage lends herself perfectly to the exercise of presenting the daily life of a contemporary music artist, especially during the carte blanche of the School of Public Affairs students. She discussed new forms of the creative process (toplines, definition of musical genre, writing ...), as well as modern issues for an artist in the music industry. She discussed frankly the difficulties involved in signing with a major label, but also the complex relationship she has with the promotional system, addressing the question of interpretation and the sometimes irrelevant journalistic appropriation of her work. With simplicity and casualness, Aloïse Sauvage and Elodie Filleul enabled the participants of the Masterclass to understand the current issues facing contemporary music artists who are far removed from the process of creation, production and exploitation.

Article written by Amor Belhiba, Chama Squalli & Anais Velle.

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Gesine Weber, class of 2019

Program assistant at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, graduated from the dual degree Sciences Po Master European Affairs, Europe in the World / Freie Universität (Berlin)
  • Gesine Weber © GWGesine Weber © GW

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?

I have always been passionate about international politics and Europe. After three months in China following my high school graduation, a year of law studies and completing a French-German bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Freiburg and the IEP Aix-en-Provence, I wanted to focus my studies on European affairs and international relations without having to choose between these two disciplines. The Master in European Affairs at the School of Public Affairs was therefore almost a natural next step for me: thanks to the policy stream “Europe in the World” in partnership with PSIA and the dual degree between SciencesPo and Freie Universität Berlin, I could specialise in the field of European external relations and security while strengthening my French-German profile. 

From the very beginning of my studies, it was very important to me to complement my academic pathway with professional experiences. This is why I interned at the political affairs department of the German embassy in Paris during my Bachelor, and completed several other internships during my Master, for instance at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN in Geneva, the German Federal Press and Information Office in Berlin and at the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in Kosovo. When I was writing my master's thesis at Freie Universität Berlin during the last semester of my studies, I also worked as a policy advisor in security and defence policy with a deputy at the German federal parliament. Although I could have continued to work in this function, I decided to take the unique opportunity of participating in a scholarship programme promoting expertise on China among outstanding young graduates, which is funded by the German government. After ten months of Chinese language classes and an interdisciplinary career-building programme, I worked as a consultant for Chinese geopolitics and domestic politics for the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in Berlin and Shanghai and then joined the German Marshall Fund of the United states, a transatlantic think tank, in Paris as a Program Assistant. At the same time, I just started my PhD thesis on European security and defence cooperation at King’s College London. 

WHAT WERE THE MAIN STAGES IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL PROJECT?

I grew up in a very rural region in Germany, but I have already considered myself a convinced European in high school and always dreamed of an international career - and my first long stay abroad in China, during which I contributed to several German-Chinese projects, confirmed this aspiration. A decisive stage was for sure enrolling for French-German academic programmes from the beginning of my Bachelor because this allowed me to internationalise my personal profile. Moreover, my previous internships were highly enriching experiences for me as they conformed my interest for a career in the public sector and made me become aware of the diversity of opportunities in this sector. At the beginning of my studies, I was completely convinced that I wanted to become a diplomat right after obtaining my degree, and this remains a highly attractive option for me on the long-term. However, I also realised that I highly appreciate the level of intellectual stimulation of working in a think tank thanks to the combination of a hand-on mentality for project management and in-depth research for publications and studies. Therefore, I decided that I want to start my career in the think tank universe. 

HOW WAS THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS AT THE GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE UNITED STATES?

After finding the job offer on the career’s website of SciencesPo, I sent my CV and a cover letter to the GMF Office in Paris. During my first interview, the program coordinator and the office manager explained the thematic focus of the office and the working methods to me, which boosted my motivation for this job even more. The second interview with the director and the deputy director confirmed this impression - and that is why I accepted the job offer without hesitation.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR POSITION TODAY?  

As a Program Assistant, I am involved in both project management and research activities; consequently, the variety of tasks requires efficient multi-tasking and identifying priorities. Having joined the office in September during the COVID-19 pandemics, my daily work relies heavily on the use of digital tools because the projects that we are managing have, as in many other sector, been digitalised. Concretely, this means that I am organising virtual meetings and seminars with the other members of the team, which includes classical planning processes, inviting participants, preparing the agenda and the logistical setup. In addition to this work, which mostly requires organisational skills, I am also in charge of analysing current political events or conducting in-depth research, for instance for compiling background research for other members of the office or preparing publications. Another important aspect is the cooperation with our other international offices, as GMF is a truly transatlantic think tank committed to strengthening transatlantic cooperation and aiming at promoting respective knowledge in France and Europe, but also in Washington. An important characteristic of my daily work is that it is completely bilingual - that is something I personally enjoy enormously. 

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF YOUR ACADEMIC BACKGROUND AT THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS TO THE POSITION YOU HOLD TODAY? 

I benefit in many different ways from my academic background at the School of Public Affairs. First of all, the knowledge I acquired during my studies is very important for my daily work because especially my tasks relating to policy analysis and research require a good understanding of EU security and defence policy, French foreign policy and international relations in broader terms. With regard to the classes I took at the School of Public Affairs, especially the class in Culture Générale is a clear asset for my work. This class, which was probably the most challenging of my entire academic path, has allowed me to develop a better understanding of complex global and European challenges by assessing them from a broader perspective; for me as a German, understanding the French approach of reflecting on these challenges is very helpful. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary education at the School of Public Affairs has definitely contributed to my ability to quickly grasp new topics outside my domaine of expertise, which facilitates my daily work enormously. The same applies with regard to the methodological approach of the School of Public Affairs, as the different forms of the assignments - from classical research tasks to policy-oriented policy briefs - made me familiar with different formats of writing and publishing. Lastly, I highly appreciated the possibility to follow classes in English and French at the School of Public Affairs, so that both have become natural working languages for me - and personally, I really enjoy working in this bilingual context. 

 

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Tips for succeeding in european competitive exams

How to start a career in the EU: the EPSO admission procedure
  • EPSO © Encierro/ShutterstockEPSO © Encierro/Shutterstock

“Has working for the European institutions always been your dream? Are you interested in discovering more about how the EU officials are selected, which profiles are more requested and what it means to work for the European Union?” More than 800 people answered “yes” and 200 of them joined the online conference on Zoom “How to start a career in the EU: the EPSO admission procedure” organised on Tuesday November 10, 2020 by the Association of the School of Public Affaires of Sciences Po Paris (AEAP). 

The guest speakers were a great example of some future careers that the students would like to reach: Professors Luis-Planas Herrera, policy assistant to the Directorate General on Environment (DG ENV), Pierpaolo Settembri (DG MOVE for mobility and transport), Polina Khomenko (WTO policy and negotiations officer at the EU Commission) and Laure Baillargeon (policy officer at DG GROW for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small enterprises). Together with Andras Baneth, strategic communication and public affairs expert, author of the book “The Ultimate EU test book” – a guide to EU exams -, the participants had the possibility to exchange on the EPSO and how the procedure of selection to the European institutions work. 

What does it mean to work for the EU institutions?

Luis Planas-Herrera (LPH): In a nutshell: a challenging job in an international environment. No risk to get bored with the same task over your whole career at all: the level of internal mobility is very high and since you have to remain constantly trained, you are offered continuous formation. However this doesn’t erase the difficulties of moving to Brussels, change your life and conciliate family and work, therefore great attention is put on well-being activities and life-work balance. 

Where to start?

Andras Banath (AB): First of all you have to decide whether you want to work for or with the institutions. In the first case, the procedure is the EPSO one (even though some Agencies have their own exam to pass). On the other side, if you’d like to focus on an external entity operating around the institutions, then you have to convince the employer with your CV and an interview. There are different career options in this case, amongst them the national diplomatic services based in Brussels, or working as a MEP assistant, or in an advocacy group within the EU organs. 

LPH: Regarding the admission to the European institutions, you’ll have to start from the EPSO website, that provides all information on vacancies, competition deadlines and inscription modalities, and the profiles needed. On a regular yearly basis some positions are opened and after the notice of competition, the phase of pre-selection starts. 

AB: The real obstacle is time and organisation: you have to understand the process and the method of evaluation. This is why preparing in advance is fundamental. And studying with some colleagues, too! Not just because you could exchange on the different points of view on the same topic, but also because it can be particularly stressful: the whole process lasts between 8 and 10 months, therefore caring for your mental balance is fundamental. 

Let’s say that I passed the first step, the pre-selection phase. What now?

LPH: After the computer-based test of the pre-selection, that will focus on verbal, analytical and abstract thinking, you will have an intermediate test in the second language that you indicated in the precedent phase: a fundamental requirement to work in the EU is in fact to know at least 2 European languages other than your mother tongue. Afterwards an assessment test based in Brussels or Luxemburg will be organised. This last step will be more specific: it will check your communication skills, you problem-solving ability, your public speaking capabilities and many other particular abilities. 

But then, it will be impossible to pass it! There will be a lot of people, much more prepared than me… 

AB: Not true, since there is no rule for the minimum (and even maximum) age when to do it! First of all, remember that the pre-selection is free of cost and there are no limits on how many times you can repeat it. Therefore you will find a big crowd of people trying to pass it, but don’t get too scared. 

Laure Baillargeon (LB): I must admit I saw a true “evolvement” of the test starting from the year in which I took it, in 2007, until today. It’s true, it has become stricter, nevertheless this means that when you pass it, then you’re sure you are exactly the right person for that job, and that you will find yourself at your ease in the institutions because your forma mentis is the appropriate one. The competences examined in the last stage are not chosen by chance: they really reflect what the employers look for in a candidate. This is why in Sciences Po we offer a course that focuses on that part of the evaluation. 

Pierpaolo Settembri (PS): The EU needs people prepared, like you are. As I entered the institutions it was a brand new world, everything had to start from scratch. On the contrary now, the EU has enlarged its power and its competences and therefore much more specialised people are demanded. Everybody will request a lot from you – not only in your office but also at the public opinion level! 

If I got it right: the sooner I try the test, the better!

PS: The EU offers plenty of concrete advantages – like social securities and internal mobility – but on the other side I have to admit that it is quite a rigid career, in the sense that once in, it’s hard to move out and find another job in a completely different field. Therefore my answer to this question is a nuanced one: it’s a long process so once you’re sure of your choice, then start. But if you want to try something different before, then the right time to do it is before trying the test. It will take you a lot of time and energy, better not to waste them!

Polina Khomenko (PK):  And we all absolutely recommend you to do an internship before! We had many interns which then had the opportunity to remain, or that on the other side understood that it was not their field. Moreover, the competences that you develop as an intern will be very close to what you will be asked for in the assessment centre in Brussels. 

In a nutshell: is it worth it to work for the EU institutions? 

LB: As I said I did the test in 2007. It’s been 13 years that I am in the Commission, even in the same DG. Am I happy with it? More than happy: it gets better every day. 

Interview conducted by Silvia Panini, student of the Master in European Affairs at the School of Public Affairs, representative of the Europe in the World policy stream in the AEAP

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Dual Degree GPPN Project made it to the semi-finals of the Geneva Challenge!

  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po

A group of Canadian dual-degree students at Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs and the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy placed in the semi-finals of the 2020 Advancing Development Goals International Contest for Graduate Students at the Geneva Institute. The international competition for Master students aims to present innovative and pragmatic solutions to address the challenges of social inclusion. Alessandra Cicci, Amelie Fabian, Jad El Tal and Sharika Khan’s policy proposal, “Project GAIN: Greenhouse Advancement In Nunavut”, focuses on reducing food insecurity in Northern Canada through the development of sustainable year-round greenhouse infrastructure. 

Summary of Greenhouse Advancement in Nunavut (GAIN):

Grocery shopping in Canada’s largest territory, Nunavut, is a significant financial burden to its population, which is predominantly Indigenous. Compounded with its low quality, consumer acceptability, and preferences, access to food is vastly limited in this fly-in territory. As a result, Nunavut’s level of food insecurity is three times more than the national average of 17.7%; more than 57% of the population is food insecure, and roughly 3 out of 4 kids go to bed hungry. Geographical isolation, climate change, high costs of importing nutritious food, as well as the long-lasting effects of colonial policies on Indigenous peoples’ way of life have led Nunavut to this breaking point. 

Our project, GAIN: Greenhouse Advancement in Nunavut, aims to reduce food insecurity in Nunavut by tackling the aforementioned issues through a community-driven business model that develops sustainable greenhouse infrastructure with Indigenous communities at the helm. GAIN seeks to provide greater access to affordable, healthy and nutritious foods that can be integrated into Indigenous dietary food culture. It aims to not only reduce food insecurity, but to also invest in the communities in Nunavut with the vision of creating jobs, empowering communities to be self-sufficient, and fostering social inclusion. 

What inspired you to work on the topic that you chose for your project? 

We considered a number of social inclusion issues, but felt that it was important to bring to light a pertinent issue in Canada. One of our group members, Alessandra, had always thought about food insecurity as a major societal issue. As a child, Alessandra would help pack lunches for her mother’s students as many of them lived in food insecure households and didn’t have access to three meals a day. Furthermore, we were all shocked to find out that the food insecurity rate in Nunavut is three times higher than the national average. We fear that this rate has been accepted by governments and the media as the status quo due to centuries of colonialism and disenfranchisement against Indigenous peoples. But, in a high income and democratic country like Canada, no child should go to sleep hungry. This is why it was important for us to put forth a policy that aims to reduce this inequality.

How did your different backgrounds contribute to the team and coming up with your own policy innovation? (feel free to include your different academic/professional experiences here and your current interests/policy streams, etc.)

Amelie leveraged her background in Accounting and Finance to conduct the financial analysis and financial feasibility of the policy proposal. One of the most recurring questions that policymakers face is how they intend to finance new policy proposals. Therefore, we visualized the project from beginning to end, its logistical and technical needs and what the financial implications of it all would be.

Having previously worked with the City of Toronto’s Environment & Energy division as well as an environmental NGO, Sharika leveraged her knowledge in environmental policy to consider the externalities of GAIN. In formulating a policy solution that involves the development of greenhouse infrastructure, it was important to address environmental externalities in order to minimize social costs.

Working in public affairs before beginning graduate studies, Alessandra had learned about NGOs and private companies that were active in helping to reduce food insecurity, particularly for youth in all parts of Canada. Having knowledge of organizations and private entities helped us develop a thorough understanding of the other actors working in this space. 

Jad brought in his policy experience from working in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario before starting his masters. Knowing how legislation and intergovernmental relations operate in Canada is crucial when it comes to cross cutting policies like GAIN because of the delegated responsibilities that different levels of government have. 

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? 

One of our main challenges was that we lacked an Indigenous perspective as none of us had ever been to Nunavut. To mitigate this lived experience gap, we conducted extensive research, cost-benefit analyses, faculty consultations etc. Still, we were conscious that this is inadequate as it is important to consult with the community who will be impacted by the proposed policy. Moreover, taking into account the sensitive relation between the Canadian Government and its Indigenous communities, we were mindful of not being perceived as paternalistic. Therefore, we reached out to Indigenous Services Canada and conducted stakeholder relations to receive feedback and constructive criticism of our thought process.  

How did opportunities like the GPPN Conference and the Geneva Challenge help push your project forward? 

GPPN gave us the chance to work together on a policy issue that we care about in our home country. Although we were unfortunately not able to participate in the 2020 GPPN Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to engage with stakeholders in the lead up to the conference. For example, a few days before the conference, we pitched GAIN to the Canadian embassy staff in Paris, and received excellent constructive advice on how to further enhance our policy. In the subsequent months, we applied that advice in our proposal for the Geneva Challenge, and ultimately placed as semi-finalists. 

What advice would you give to future students interested in these types of opportunities?

There are a number of resources on campus that allow students to apply what they have learned in their studies. We would tell future students to take advantage of the opportunities Sciences Po provides and utilize the broader university network which includes fellow students, professors, and alumni. School can pick up quickly and it’s easy to miss out on participating in these unique opportunities, make it a goal to have a one-on-one discussion with professors, academic advisors and other SciencesPo faculty to learn more about ways to apply your knowledge outside of the classroom and engage in professional development.

Do you plan to continue working on this policy innovation and what are the next steps you see ahead? 

We intend to continue working on this innovative policy. Food insecurity in Nunavut is still extremely prevalent and has now been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we are back in Canada, we have greater access to contacts and resources that will be useful in further developing our policy proposal. Going forward, we plan to connect with and gain insight from experts, professors, policymakers, and community members in Nunavut. We also plan to reach out to PROOF, a research program based at the University of Toronto that works towards finding policy solutions to reduce household food insecurity in Canada. Our aim is to further refine and build our policy so that it can be implemented to effectively reduce food insecurity in Nunavut.

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Louis Holt, class of 2020

Graduated from the Master in Public Affairs (one-year Master)
  • Louis Holt © LHLouis Holt © LH

Can you describe your academic and professional background before the MPA? 

I spent five years working for the British Government on various different strands of digital policy. For the two years before I began the MPA I was the Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and was fortunate enough to advise four different Cabinet Ministers on all aspects of the UK's digital and tech policy agenda. As any prospective MPA students and fellow policy junkies will know, it was a really fascinating time to work at the centre of the UK Government, and great to see the global importance of tech policy grow so quickly in such a short space of time. 

In terms of my academic background, I had a Batchelor's degree in Geography, but the MPA was my first Master's. 

You graduated last spring. What is your current professional situation? What are its main features?    

Unfortunately my original plan to do some travelling and explore many different career options didn't quite go to plan thanks to a certain virus! 

I am now back working for the UK Government, but from my apartment in Paris. I was able to get a promotion and am now leading the UK's Gigabit Broadband and Mobile policy teams, making sure all corners of the country have access to next-generation communications infrastructure - certainly more important now so many people are working and studying online! 

I would also add that many of my fellow students have also succeeded in securing fascinating new roles, whether for international organisations such as the OECD, global tech companies or consultancies. Some have even managed to work in French despite arriving with only a basic understanding of the language! 

What were the contributions of your training to the function that you hold today?   

I don't think it's an overstatement to say I feel the benefit of my studies almost every day. My current job involves working very closely with analysts and economists and being able to speak their language has massively helped me to interrogate complex policy problems. My current role is my first experience of full team leadership so having learnt organisational design techniques and how best to motivate public sector employees has been really useful.

I was taught to write better by professional journalists and how to use psychological techniques and Randomised Controlled Trials to improve and evaluate policies, as well as new working methods such as design thinking and Scrum. All of this sets me apart from my peers at work and has empowered me to be a much better policymaker.

Why would you recommend the MPA to other young professionals? 

The course content in itself is fascinating and the curriculum is very modern. There's lots of scope for personalisation so I ended up doing some modules on Populism and others on how Artificial Intelligence is affecting the art world. The lecturers at Sciences Po are almost all guest lecturers so they all have really interesting backgrounds and are happy to share advice and guidance on career matters. I was taught entrepreneurship by the president of Olympique Marseilles, and others in my cohort secured internships through their teachers. 

Beyond that, you have access to the full range of talks and events taking place at Sciences Po. There are always really interesting speakers visiting and you often get the chance to interact with them - I ended up having a beer with Alexis Tsipras for example! 

I also really enjoyed the experience of moving to Paris. I've lived in London almost all of my life and so experiencing a new city and language was amazing. I really enjoyed discovering new spots all over town and there's a reason I'm still living here. If I'm honest, the bread alone is a reason to come! 

Above all though, the best thing about the MPA is the cohort of students you study with. I'm absolutely certain that I've made friends for life, and being able to spend a year studying in the company of such fascinating people is such a treat. When I started the MPA it felt like the only issue in the world was Brexit, but meeting fellow students from Chile and Lebanon really put this into perspective. In my class were army captains, civil engineers and a future president of Kenya, to name just a few. Even though the course is only a year, I've made memories that will last a lifetime, and every time I get the chance to reflect on it, my only regret is that the course didn't last longer. 

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Alice Voirand, class of 2020

Recently graduated from the Master in Public Policy, policy stream Sécurité et Défense. Her commitment to women's health
  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po

A recent graduate of the Master in Public Policy at the School of Public Affairs, Alice Voirand has just earned the Advanced Certification in Gender Studies, which attests to her multidisciplinary training in gender studies. Below, she recounts her academic, professional and associative commitments to women's health.

HOW DID YOUR INTEREST IN GENDER STUDIES COME ABOUT?

I grew up in a rather masculine environment, with two older brothers whom I looked at as my role models. I spent my childhood wanting to assert myself and take my place alongside them, but I was guided by strong female figures, in particular the character of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. When I started high school, I discovered sociology. I understood that boys and girls were socialised differently, that the image of women reflected by society was not the same as that of men, and I understood that in today's society we don't have the same opportunities. So I wanted to speak out against this and the biases that I was able to internalise, which still push me today to always want to prove my worth.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AT SCIENCES PO?

I took several courses in gender studies at Sciences Po, taught in particular by Camille Froidevaux-Metterie, Réjane Sénac and Marta Domínguez Folgueras. These courses have enabled me to clarify my professional project. It is through these classes and personal commitments that I understood the importance of the fight for gender equality and the need to defend these values in my work.

During my gap year, I attended the French Navy's Higher Military Preparation for the General Staff, from which I graduated second in my class of 120. It was important for me to assert myself and go beyond my limits in a very masculine environment. Now that I am an officer, my project is to find a reserves’ contract linked to gender issues, gender equality and the fight against discrimination within the armed forces.

Today, my interest in gender studies is nurtured through reading feminist books and listening to podcasts. This allows me to learn more and more, to mature and build my arguments in order to be able to defend women's rights without self-censoring.

YOU DID YOUR END-OF-MASTER’S INTERNSHIP IN A FRENCH MENSTRUAL UNDERWEAR COMPANY. WHAT WERE YOUR MISSIONS?

FEMPO is the leading French menstrual underwear brand. I discovered the company at the beginning of 2019 and fell in love with it! Firstly for the underwear, which revolutionised my periods by allowing me to live through this period much more comfortably while protecting my health and the planet, but also for the overall project - helping women to re-appropriate their bodies - and for the website, which makes you want to go beyond your limits, to assert yourself. It was during my gap year, and I was questioning my prospects a lot. I felt more and more the need to commit myself to a cause that is really close to my heart, and to have an impact. And nothing is more important to me than improving the status of women in their lives and at work. So I immediately turned to FEMPO for my end of Master’s internship!

From January to June 2020, I was a marketing trainee and partnership manager in the field of health and education. I organised events to raise awareness of the brand, make menstruation a visible topic and to raise awareness on women's health. I also managed partnerships with humanitarian associations, through monthly donations of underwear. I also created opportunities for health professionals, offering them the possibility to test the underwear and raise awareness among their patients. Finally, I co-created and hosted the FEMPO podcast, which aims to inform and raise awareness among women so that they can better understand their body while breaking the taboo of menstruation.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE?

Before creating the FEMPO menstrual underwear, Claudette and Fanny, the creators of the brand, conducted a survey of 3000 women and realised that there was a profound lack of understanding about menstruation and women's health, and above all a huge desire for knowledge: women know little about menstruation and sometimes get false information, which can be detrimental to their health. It is therefore essential to speak freely about this subject and to inform women without taboos! They therefore decided to create an online exchange and information space to help women better understand their bodies. It started with the FEMPO blog, where we receive a lot of questions on subjects related to women's health, which we answer by writing articles.

In addition to the blog, we decided to create the FEMPO podcast during the lockdown, together with my colleague Nina. The podcast is dedicated to women's health, with short informative episodes and longer episodes including interviews with health professionals or associations. Nina and I are both passionate about women's health and want to do everything we can to help women regain control of their bodies and their biology. We have produced around fifteen episodes, eight of which were with health professionals, and we benefit from around 2,000 listeners per episode. It was a really exciting experience!

YOU CHOSE TO ADDRESS THE TABOO OF MENSTRUATION AND MENSTRUAL PRECARIOUSNESS IN YOUR GRAND ECRIT. WHY THIS SUBJECT?

In popular beliefs and myths, menstruation has often been associated with impurity and claimed to be harmful. This has given rise to a deep taboo that isolates women and excludes them from certain economic and social activities. Even today, menstruation is often associated with disgust and shame; it can be a difficult stage in the development of young girls. Several issues related to menstruation have recently surfaced in the public debate, but the subject has never been addressed in its entirety. However, menstruation contains a variety of issues and needs to be addressed in a comprehensive manner. For my Grand écrit, I therefore analysed the extent to which education and awareness raising on women's health can break the taboo of menstruation while combating menstrual precariousness. I addressed the taboo of menstruation, its consequences and the information and health monitoring measures that could be put in place to remedy it.

I also looked at menstrual precariousness, a considerable public health problem, which is partly due to the taboo of menstruation. It is the difficulty or lack of access to hygienic protection, due to poverty, lack of information, or rarity. According to the association Règles élémentaires, 1.7 million women are concerned in France, with three main categories of victims: women in extremely precarious situations, women in places of deprivation of liberty, and poor female students. This issue must be dealt with on a national scale: policy makers are beginning to take hold of the subject, with several parliamentary reports, and experiments that are going to be set up, including free protection in certain key places - prisons, schools, social care institutions, etc. - but also distributors allowing women to acquire protection through a bank card or a prepaid card, and support for associations helping precarious and homeless women.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

I'm following up my end-of-study internship with a one-year contract at FEMPO! I am in charge of marketing and partnerships. I'm staying in the same team, on the same missions as during my internship. And I am now in charge of the editorial section of FEMPO. I am optimising the blog and writing new articles to provide the best possible information on women's health. The aim is to enable women to renew a more positive link with their bodies, their biology, their cycle, to help them assert themselves! I will also be able to participate again in conferences with health professionals, and festivals organised by associations, to present FEMPO and the benefits of menstrual underwear.

At the start of the new school year, I will also become a volunteer for Règles élémentaires, the first French association for the fight against menstrual precariousness. I want to make a personal commitment to help women who can't afford it to get enough sanitary protection to live decently during their period. The right to menstrual health is a human right that should be guaranteed for all! So I intend to give my time and energy, outside FEMPO, to improve the situation.

Article initially published on the website of the Research and educational programme on gender studies (Presage)

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Salomé Berlioux, class of 2014

Founder of Chemins d'avenir, graduated from the Master in Public Policy (formerly Public Affairs)
  • Salomé Berlioux © Thomas ArrivéSalomé Berlioux © Thomas Arrivé

A native of the Allier region (centre of France), Salomé Berlioux fought a long battle against self-censorship before graduating from the School of Public Affairs at Sciences Po. In 2016, she began the fight on a large scale by founding the Chemins d'Avenirs association, which today helps 1,000 young people from rural areas and small towns to overcome the obstacles hindering their ambitions. Interview with a determined alumna.

You come from a rural area, far away from the elitist sectors and the codes that go with them? What was your educational background? 

Salomé Berlioux: I grew up in the Allier region and took my baccalaureate in Nevers, in the Nièvre region. At the time, my philosophy teacher advised me to only aim for preparatory classes in Clermont-Ferrand or Dijon. I was very attached to Allier, but I also wanted to discover other horizons. I applied to Paris. I was lucky enough to join a literary preparatory class at the Fénelon high school. I studied literature for five years, including the master's degree De la Renaissance aux Lumières ("From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment") offered by Ecole Normale Supérieure and Sorbonne University. It was later, thanks to Sciences Po, that I understood that I could open myself up to many other paths.

How did you discover Sciences Po? 

Salomé Berlioux: I heard about it a few weeks before the baccalaureate, far too late to prepare myself, even though I was immediately attracted to the school. A few years later, eligible for the master's degree, I missed the oral admission exam. It must be said that I had absolutely no mastery of the codes that allowed me to shine there. I took my chance and finally entered the School of Public Affairs. Sciences Po is a school to which I owe a lot: I finally felt that the doors were opening to a future that was less determined by my geographical origins. I lived with my grandparents and, as a scholarship student, I paid no tuition fees: nothing would have been possible without it. 

When and how did you become interested in young people in rural areas and the obstacles they face? 

Salomé Berlioux: During my studies, I taught high school students who also wanted to join Sciences Po. Year after year, it became clear to me that young people from rural areas worked just as hard as others, but failed more often than their urban peers. This was the case at Sciences Po, but also, more broadly, in other selective fields of study. My individual case had a collective resonance. It must be said that 23% of under 20 year olds grow up in rural areas, and 42% in small towns, for example, Moulins, Verdun, Charleville-Mézières... The majority of these young people are full of potential, but face many obstacles and for a long time were left out of public policies. 

In 2016, you founded the association "Chemins d'Avenirs" to help young people in rural areas break down these obstacles. The association now has 12 employees and supports a thousand young people throughout France. What is the originality of your action? 

Salomé Berlioux: Since the public authorities did not offer any specific schemes for young people living far from large cities, it was up to civil society to take action! We were the first organisation to support young people in rural areas, regardless of their school results and whatever their ambitions: whether they wanted to become a diplomat, a craftsman, an engineer or a farmer. The imperative is not to send them all to Grandes Ecoles, but to allow them to be free to realise their potential. Today, this is far from being the case. These young people are often constrained to stay home for economic or psychological reasons, with fewer cultural, academic or professional opportunities close to home and fewer "role models" to identify with. Their range of possibilities is reduced, from the outset, whereas their geographical origins could represent a real asset. Our mission is to accompany them to achieve their career goals, but also, on a larger scale, to forge links between territories, generations and professions, for the benefit of national cohesion.

Testimonials of participants in Chemins d'Avenirs (in French):

Who do you work with and how? 

Salomé Berlioux: We cater to all profiles, from junior high school through high school. The only criterion for joining the association is to be motivated. In fact, the majority of the young people who apply to join us are students with an average age of between 8 and 13, whom nobody seems to bet on... and yet they can go very far, in addition to students who have dropped out of school or, on the contrary, who are excellent students. The association meticulously tackles the chain of obstacles that limits their aspirations, by fighting against the lack of information and self-censorship bias, but also by proposing concrete solutions in the field. Together with the Ministry of National Education and our private partners, we have thus built a method of self-knowledge for our mentees. Sponsorship is another pillar of our action, based on the mentoring model which has proved its worth in other areas. We also offer themed training courses for young people and additional opportunities for our beneficiaries (internships, scholarships, empowerment workshops, meetings with professionals). Our aim is not to reinvent everything, but to build an ecosystem of success. We rely above all on common sense and pragmatism, measuring our impact every year using qualitative and quantitative indicators of success.

Do you have examples of simple actions that open up possibilities?

Salomé Berlioux: Let's take the example of the admission oral exams. In this area, information is the lifeblood. All you have to do is explain to young people in rural areas how these oral exams work, and what they are expected to do. It's obvious, these pupils are no less intelligent than the others! But if they are not given the keys, they remain passive during these interviews. We help candidates from isolated territories to become proactive during their oral examinations. We help them to get internships and to have associative commitments that will say a lot about their personality. But in my opinion, we need to go further, by making the territorial criterion part of the social opening approach of the Grandes Ecoles and selective courses. Similarly, companies would benefit from changing their definition of diversity by integrating the territorial dimension. 

Where is the association today and what are your objectives for the future? 

Salomé Berlioux: Today the association supports 1,000 young people, with 1,000 mentors throughout the territory and local and national partnerships. We are now going to intensify the work in our 8 partner academies before continuing our growth and also increase our economic independence. At the same time, we are stepping up our advocacy work. By 2023, Chemins d'Avenirs will have individually accompanied 3,000 young people. Internally, the question is that of our systemic impact and the levers of transformation that we can use. But it is also up to policy makers to take up the issue, in order to reach the young people concerned on a massive scale. We need to move up a gear. I am hopeful.

Do you have any suggestions for more effective public policies in this area? 

Salomé Berlioux: With the associations of the Collectif Mentorat, we have been working for almost a year to ensure that our combined experiences lead to a national mentoring programme, supported by the state. Mentoring is a real lever for social advancement and self-actualization, in which we firmly believe and which produces quantifiable results. The challenge today is that every young person who needs it should be accompanied by a professional from the public or private sector and should be able to move forward with confidence in building his or her career path. This would be a fantastic signal to work against the territorial and social fractures of the post-health crisis and a sign of hope for national cohesion.

Article originally published by Sciences Po's editorial team.

More information 

  • About Salomé Berlioux: With a Master's degree in Public affairs from Sciences Po, Salomé Berlioux has worked in a strategic communications consultancy and in ministerial cabinets, notably at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is the founder and managing director of the association Chemins d'Avenirs. She is co-author of Les Invisibles de la République (with Erkki Maillard, éditions Robert Laffont, January 2019). She was commissioned by the Minister of National Education and Youth on the theme of "Guidance and equal opportunities in France's rural areas and small towns'' and submitted her report last March. Her new essay « Nos campagnes suspendues – La France périphérique face à la crise » was been published in October 2020 by L'Observatoire.
  • On the association Chemins d'Avenirs
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Online Career Fair

From 14 to 16 October 2020
  • Online Career FairOnline Career Fair

Every year, the Sciences Po Career Fair gathers recruiters, students and graduates, in a unique opportunity to meet and explore job and internship opportunities.

Because of the unprecedented sanitary context, the 2020 edition will be held on-line via the Seekube platform from 14 to 16 October.

The Career fair is a unique opportunity for students to:

  • Get information on a wide range of companies, their values, the opportunities they offer, and their recruitment process for jobs and internships
  • Find an internship, a first job, a graduate programme…
  • Develop their career project
  • Network
  • Practice job interviews.

Important : As the Fair will be held online, recruiters and students or graduates located outside of France will have the unique opportunity to take part in it.

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Good Economics for Harder Times

Follow up on Esther Duflo's inaugural lecture
  • Actualité Sciences Po © Bryce VickmarkActualité Sciences Po © Bryce Vickmark
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Meet Zina Akrout, laureate of the 2020 Max Lazard award

  • Actualité Sciences Po © Zina AkroutActualité Sciences Po © Zina Akrout

Zina Akrout is a graduate student in the Master’s of Public Policy at the School of Public Affairs and has been awarded the Max Lazard Prize to carry out her project “Berbers of Tunisia”. Interview on her journey so far, distinctive for her unbounded curiosity and in its strong international dimension.

You completed your undergraduate studies in the dual degree between Sciences Po and UCL. Can you tell us why you chose this programme and what was your experience?

Zina Akrout: I chose the dual degree between Sciences Po and UCL firstly for the curriculum, which requires students to major in a humanities discipline and a European language (French, German, Spanish or Italian depending on the student's background, abilities and choice), which are studied intensively throughout the four years of the degree at both universities. I was highly looking forward to this dual experience and learning from different perspectives. I was also able to tailor the degree based on my personal choices and interests. I chose to spend the first two years on Sciences Po’s Menton campus to be able to study MENA-related courses in addition to Italian (*as of 2020, Italian is no longer offered in Menton) with a specialisation in International Law... I also very much enjoyed going from Sciences Po’s multidisciplinary way of teaching to the more Anglo-Saxon approach at UCL. There, I took Public Policy courses and was able to take specific classes in disciplines such as Urban Politics and Political Geography and also language courses at the same level as Modern Languages students. Overall, the programme was a wonderful experience not only academically speaking but also on a personal level as both settings led me to meet people I can call friends for life and offered great extracurricular opportunities and support.

You took an exchange semester at Bocconi University during your Master's in Public Policy at Sciences Po. Due to the sanitary crisis, your experience abroad was quite different than expected. Can you tell us how the exchange was carried out? How did the experience nonetheless complement your Master's studies overall?

ZA: I chose to spend the final semester of my Master's at the School of Public Affairs on an academic exchange at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy. It was indeed an odd time to be in academic exchange and especially in the north of Italy, a region that was tremendously impacted by the sanitary crisis and made quite the headlines. The university closed at the end of February, just two weeks after the start of classes, and switched to online learning immediately. They were very good at adapting to the situation and managed to use online resources and digital tools to ensure the teaching could continue remotely, provided people had space, internet connectivity, and the mindset to do so! The exchange allowed me to take more management and sustainability-related classes to complement my curriculum and to see how Bocconi's "business-school" way of teaching differs from that of Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs. I highly recommend to Master’s students in the future to consider an academic exchange during their gap year or for their last semester, as it is an enriching experience and an option that is not well known!

You recently were awarded the Max Lazard prize for a project entitled "Berbers of Tunisia". Can you tell us about it?

ZA: This project is more of a personal one: as a Franco-Tunisian citizen, I am deeply interested in Berber heritage and identity. My goal is to carry out a field research trip to learn and explore Berber heritage and identity in Tunisia. The Berber community in Tunisia is very much in the minority and has expressed concerns over the lack of official recognition of its identity and culture. I would, therefore, like to conduct a sociological survey on the Berber identity and the feelings of Tunisian citizens of Berber descent to analyse how they apprehend their culture, their integration and their potential revendications. This research would be combined with a field study to map the different existing initiatives for the protection and promotion of Berber culture in Tunisia (mainly in South East Tunisia). This topic is dear to my heart, and I am very grateful to have been awarded the Max Lazard Prize to help me realise this project.

What form will the project take? When do you plan to carry it out?

ZA: The perception and study of the Berber identity in Tunisia are very different from that of other countries in the region and hardly addressed nowadays. I hope to be able to gather enough information and knowledge for this research that could be reusable for those concerned by the matter or interested in the subject. It is mostly a personal and not a professional project, but I intend to go as far as possible in the research and reflection and hopefully bring a modest contribution to giving a voice to people who remain little heard by their government and other groups. Any cultural heritage deserves to be analysed and somehow studied. 

The project will most likely culminate into an article and a video report - depending on if the people interrogated agree to be filmed. If individuals prefer to not speak on camera, I may decide to turn this project into a photo exhibition (virtual or physical) with descriptions. 

I hope to carry out this project this summer, government measures vis à vis the sanitary crisis in France and Tunisia permitting. It also depends on the availability of individuals I hope to interview. If it is not possible this summer, I plan to carry out the field research trip next winter!

What are your plans for the future after your graduation?

ZA: At the moment I am still completing my MPP in Digital, New Technology & Public Policy at Sciences Po, and am studying Food Geography at the Sorbonne. After finishing my Master's thesis for that curriculum, I hope to start a career in food policy, and more specifically in the food-tech sector.

Interview by the Sciences Po Editorial Team.

More about the Max Lazard Award

“This grant has been active at Sciences Po since 1956 and has adapted to contextual changes and university reforms by knowing how to cultivate its fund: the thirst for intelligence and the passion for discovery…” - Gérard Wormser

We owe this philanthropic fund to Max Lazard (18765-1953). Max Lazard left his job at his family’s bank to become a volunteer social worker and write a thesis on unemployment. He assisted Albert Thomas during the first world war and later became an activist for civic and political education in Europe. It is with this open mind and the desire to confront oneself with the world, combined with sincere intellectual and personal curiosity that the jury selects laureates for this prize, awarded annually since 1956.

The laureates of this prize receive financial support up to 3,000 euros depending on the cost of their project and are offered the possibility to publish an article or dossier in the “Sens Public” journal - subject to acceptance by its scientific committee.

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Discover the School of Public Affairs' Public Policy Incubator

  • Discover the School of Public Affairs' Public Policy IncubatorDiscover the School of Public Affairs' Public Policy Incubator

Offered to all students of the School of Public Affairs during their second semester, the Public Policy Incubator is one of the flagship educational programmes of the Policy Lab.

This course is designed to ensure that students have the ability to co-create concrete solutions to improve citizen’s lives, public administration and private companies. The aim is to provide stakeholders with innovative, user-friendly and practical recommendations. On this occasion, innovative methodologies and high technologies are explored to foster open democracy and collective intelligence. Students gain professional experience by working on a real-world problem, following a single methodology to help them develop prototypes with experiential learning, evidence-based, data-driven and ethical approaches.

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Sciences Po has been a long and impactful journey

EAP student tells us about her master's thesis
  • Estela is a student in the Master in Public Policy © Sciences PoEstela is a student in the Master in Public Policy © Sciences Po

Estela is a Master’s student in Public Policy at the School of Public Affairs. During her last semester, she chose to write a Master’s Thesis on how gender affects the behaviour of Federal deputies in Brazil when initiating bills and spending the public budget for the parliamentary activities. She tells us about this thesis she recently defended.

YOU ARE GRADUATING THIS YEAR FROM THE SCIENCES PO SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE?

I arrived at Sciences Po in 2017 and during the past three years, I cannot tell how many times colleagues and teachers — sometimes younger than me — have asked me why I was still a student at the age of 29. Sometimes I would ask myself the same: would it not have been easier to continue working as a lawyer in Brazil, where I left "a promising career"? I suppose it would. But coming from a country where only 0.8% of a 210 million-population has a master’s degree, I must recognise how privileged I am to be able to complete a degree at this age.
Privileged, but also grateful, especially for having maturity to recognise that there is so much that I still need to learn, experience, practice, read, discuss… And the maturity to understand that I must apply such privileges to work towards a fairer world.

In this context, Sciences Po has been a long and impactful journey. During my Master’s, I could develop and gain academic and analytical tools to keep engaging in the endless efforts towards a better society. And at Sciences Po, through courses organised within the scope of PRESAGE - Sciences Po’s Gender Studies Programme, I had the opportunity to learn about gender studies, feminist scholars and I could understand gender issues through the academic perspective.

WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE A THESIS ON GENDER AND LEGISLATIVE BEHAVIOUR IN BRAZIL?

The world is now facing a pandemic and an unprecedented crisis that this is putting under stress and scrutiny every act and decision made by world leaders. Not all countries are acting and handling the crisis equally. News outlets all over the world have been announcing that, compared to the average, some countries are doing a disproportionately better job. Countries such as Germany, New Zealand and Finland are leading the way, and they have one thing in common: women leaders. But can we really believe that the better acts and results are due to the gender of these leaders? These reflections pose the general question of whether gender has an impact on how world leaders and policymakers behave and conduct their decision-making processes.

Being born in a country in which men historically represent more than 85% of the total seats of elected Parliament, my thesis project originated from my attempt to imagine what differences one could expect if, instead of 15%, women composed 100% of the seats. I searched for answers to questions about whether the gender balance in the legislature could result in more initiation of bills and policies towards women’s rights, and in a fairer use of public budget and expenditure. Ultimately, I wanted to empirically test the opinions, literature, and analysis on the relationship between gender and political behaviour.

WHAT DID YOU FIND IN YOUR RESEARCH?

After analysing large datasets on the bills initiated during five Legislatures in Brazil, and on the use of the quota for the exercise of the parliamentary activity (Cota para o Exercício da Atividade Parlamentar), I found results that reveal that gender does affect certain behaviours of the Federal deputies.
Regarding the themes of initiated bills, females prioritise social sciences and humanities, human rights and minorities, legislative procedures, health and education more than male deputies. By contrast, men prioritise bills in law and justice, international relations and trade, land protection, and agriculture, livestock, fishing and extraction more than female deputies.

Women also proportionally initiate and prioritise more bills on gender interests than men. When comparing the different bills on gender interests, females give highest priority on "domestic violence". Regarding the spending behaviours, the research revealed that women prioritise the spending in "courses, conferences and events" and "disclosure and advertisement of parliamentary activity" more than men. By contrast, men prioritise the spending in "boat rent" and "aircraft rent" more than women do. I conclude that these differences might be attributed to gender-role socialisation and sex-based selection during electoral process.

WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO NEXT?

On one hand, my research presented interesting findings on gendered behaviour and might contribute to closing certain research gaps in Brazil. On the other hand, the results raise several new questions and research reflections that I intend to continue addressing. For example, I intend to address what the outcomes of the factors that I have identified — different priorities in out-of-pocket expenses and in bills initiation — are. Simply put, I would like to assess whether these different behaviours are translated into more ability for women to undertake substantive representation. For example, I could assess whether the different behaviours lead to more policies towards women’s rights, or to more efficiency in the public budget allocation for policies. I could also study the relationship between women’s representation and women-friendly policy, in order to examine whether policies themselves influence women’s levels of representation. In this sense, a look at the electoral process and the sex-based selection could be particularly interesting in order to complement my research’s findings.
So, I hope I’ll keep answering why I am still a student at the age of 30+!

Interview initially published on the PRESAGE Programme website.

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Open House day, Graduate Schools: 28 november 2020

  • Open House Day Graduate Schools 2020Open House Day Graduate Schools 2020

Have you ever thought about studying in France? Let’s meet and talk about your future Master’s Degree, all taught in English and/or French. You’ll meet our international students, who had just like you thought about Sciences Po a few years ago and are now studying in France’s leading university in the social sciences.

Discover what makes Sciences Po the best choice for your future by attending our Virtual Open House Day event on 28 November 2020.

This Open House Day event will be only digital to allow as many people as possible to participate despite possible health restrictions. No visitors will be welcomed on site.

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Benoît Morgat, graduate of 2019

From the Master in Public Policy to Unibail-Rodamco
  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité 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!

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Portrait of Nathan Cazeneuve

Student of the Master in Public Policy, Administration publique policy stream
  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po

Nathan Cazeneuve, student of the Master in Public Policy, Administration publique policy stream at the School of Public Affairs (EAP), tells us about his journey before and during his studies at Sciences Po.

Why did you decide to join the Administration Publique policy stream of the Master in Public Policy?

I was lucky enough to be able to follow three years of literary preparatory classes and to study philosophy at École Normale Supérieure before joining EAP at Sciences Po. My choice to apply there was motivated by a keen interest in public policy issues and the desire to approach them from a technical perspective, which I thought would be a useful and a necessary complement to the approach I had had through history and philosophy.   

What is your professional project? How does EAP help you achieve it?

At the end of the Master in Public Policy, I intend to prepare a thesis in political philosophy on the links between the social state and the theories of justice. The Master in Public Policy at Sciences Po has clearly contributed to clarifying my desire to engage in research and has enabled me to acquire knowledge in law and economics that has greatly enriched my approach to public policy issues and that I am sure will serve me well in the future.

What was your most memorable course in M1/M2?

The course that most marked me during my Master's studies was « Questions sociales » ("Social Issues") which detailed, by mixing elements of labour law, economics and administrative science, the organisation of all the social policies implemented in France, from employment policies to social security. The precise, technical and operational approach to these questions in this course enables us to take the measure of both the stakes and the concrete evolutions that social policies are facing today.

This course constitutes, together with those in Public Law, Economics and Public Finance, the foundation of the teaching of the Master in Public Policy and, in my opinion, its most enriching part, both from an intellectual and professional point of view. 

Why did you choose to take a gap year? 

I chose to take a gap year in order to prepare for the agrégation in Philosophy, having had the opportunity to do a particularly enriching internship in the Political Chancellery of the French Embassy in China.

Any advice for those who would like to join EAP?

If I were to give a piece of advice to those who would like to join the School of Public Affairs, it would be to concentrate during their studies on the fundamentals of law and economics and to take advantage of the freedom and diversity of courses offered by Sciences Po to deepen their knowledge of these subjects, but also to try to put them into perspective - both with other disciplines and with their professional experiences or the state of public debate - by never ceasing to question themselves and to open up their horizons.

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Laurent Rieder de Saint-Joseph, class of 2014

Flagship Store Manager at Bulgari, graduated from the Master in Public Policy, in apprenticeship
  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po

Discover the path of Laurent Rieder de Saint-Joseph. Since obtaining his Master in Public policy, Laurent successfully secured management positions at Christian Dior and Richard Mille between Paris and London. He is now in charge of the UK flagship of Bulgari, the Italian jeweller and member of the LVMH group.

Can you describe your academic and professional background?

I am genuinely curious, and always made sure to nurture a very diverse background. I was first granted a scientific French baccalaureate. I then joined highly demanding Classes Préparatoires littéraires, and later studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford. Sciences Po definitely completed these Humanities I would recommend to all.

What were the main stages of building your career plan?

When you design a career plan, while you do your best to plan as much as you can, you always face unexpected opportunities. Embrace them even if you are unsure or fail! I worked hard to build a solid academic background, but consistently mixed it with professional and extracurricular activities - internships, summer jobs, practicing sports and the saxophone, travelling, valuing social gatherings. This mix is key if you want to balance your life at an age when it is easy to run away from responsibilities.

What advice would you give to a student who would engage, as you did, in an apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship Sciences Po offers is the best way to find out what the real world is like. It should actually be generalised to all students who would then have better knowledge and skills once being fully employed. The advice I would give is to dare and explain to Sciences Po why your project deserves to be acknowledged and supported.

What are the main features of your job today?

The luxury goods industry can be quite distant from a Master and a career in our public service. However, adapting yourself in environments which, and working with teams who are multicultural, are definitely rewarding experiences. My main responsibilities include leading and developing high-performance teams within a luxury environment, dealing with high-calibre clients, collaborating with multi stakeholders, designing commercial and marketing strategies while delivering uncompromising service. These also involve a duty and passion to transmit the unique heritage of magnificent Houses.

What were the contributions of your training to the function that you hold today?

Sciences Po helped me acquire an economical and commercial awareness. The school also has an unrivalled reputation for cultural knowledge. This ability to apprehend the world moving around you is what makes you exceed your goals, and have fun!

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Testimony from a MPA graduate

Laura Macias, MPA class of 2019
  • Laura Macias, MPA graduateLaura Macias, MPA graduate

Can you describe your academic and professional background before the Master of Public Affairs (MPA)? 

I studied Communications at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, and I am a fellow in Public Leadership from Universidad de los Andes. Before the MPA, I worked for 4 years for the UNICEF Colombian office in fundraising and private sector partnerships, where I implemented different types of projects and campaigns along with companies to advocate and guarantee children’s rights. Before, I worked in communications and project management at a B corporation and an international NGO which focused on poverty alleviation. In 2016, I had the opportunity to live in Kenya and work for a community-based organization in women’s empowerment.

You graduated in June 2019. What is your current professional situation? What are its main features?    

One month before graduation, I started working as a public policy consultant at the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, where I mostly researched innovation trends, the link between diversity and innovation, and gender biases in artificial intelligence. I also coordinated relations with Latin American governments. Today, I work for BSR - Business for Social Responsibility - a global consulting firm in Paris dedicated to sustainability. I am part of the women’s empowerment team, where I focus on a project that seeks to improve the conditions of working women in global supply chains.

What were the contributions of your training to the function that you hold today?   

Given the fact that the MPA offered by the School of Public Affairs has a global and flexible curriculum, I was able to focus my research on gender-related topics in the different subjects offered, such as macro/microeconomics, politics, and public policy. My graduation project was centered on identifying gender biases in tax systems worldwide, working very closely with the Tax and Administration Directorate from the OECD. Both the academic and practical experience I have aquired during the MPA have helped me specialize in gender policies and, coupled with my existing professional experience in project management and knowledge of the private sector, they make a perfect mix and fit for the role I hold today at BSR.

Why would you recommend the MPA to other young professionals?   

If I had to choose one reason, it would be without hesitation the people you study with. The program was enriching in every class and every project because the students in the MPA are experienced professionals with different cultural, professional and academic backgrounds. I felt out of my comfort zone every minute, but challenged to think beyond my own beliefs and values. I truly believe that interacting with people who are experienced and passionate about today's most challenging social and political topics is the best training and curriculum a master program in public affairs can offer, and I definitely found that at Sciences Po.  

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Marie Gervier, class of 2018

Communication and Event Manager at the United Nations, graduated from the Master in Public Policy, Cultural Policy and Management policy stream
  • Marie GervierMarie Gervier

Marie Gervier graduated from the Master in Public Policy at the School of Public Affairs, Cultural Policy and Management policy stream. She is currently working as as a Communication and Event Manager for the United Nations Office in Geneva. Testimony.

Can you describe your academic and professional background?

I come from a small village in Normandy. My high school was not in the top ones and I joined Sciences Po through the “Conventions Éducation Prioritaire” (CEP). Before I got into Sciences Po, I did not even think that it could be for me, but my French teacher told me about the CEP, a different kind of exam, based on press reviews, for students from high schools like mine. 

I passed the exam and joined the Sciences Po Poitiers campus, where the core curriculum is the same as in Paris, with a regional specialization on Latin America, Spain and Portugal. I chose this campus because it offered classes in Spanish and Portuguese. As I already spoke French and English, it was a good opportunity to speak four languages by the end of my bachelor’s degree. 

After two years in Poitiers, it was time for the third year abroad, which is mandatory at Sciences Po. At the time we could either go on exchange, work on a personal project or do an internship. Since one of the reasons I chose to go to Sciences Po was the opportunity to work abroad for one year, when it was time to decide I naturally chose the internship. 

At the time I already knew that I wanted to work in communications and event management in the cultural, political or diplomatic sectors. I found a very interesting position as personal assistant to Faouzi Skali, communication counselor of the King of Morocco. I was in charge of his agenda, his communications and Public Relations, and also organized many events for his agency.

I would say that the most educational event I organized for him was a Franco-Moroccan symposium on the “construction of radicalism”. It was a very small project at the beginning, but when we obtained the support of the French President and the patronage of the King it shifted to a totally different level. Two speakers on Daesh’s blacklist confirmed their participation and I had to work closely with the secret services of France and Morocco. I was only 20 years old and I will remember it forever. It was an amazing opportunity to contribute to the political, cultural and diplomatic aspects of an event and it confirmed that it was what I wanted to do. My experience in Morocco was very enriching and launched my career as I was entrusted with high-level missions and started to build my network. 

It was in Morocco that I met my current boss, Francesco Pisano, UN Director in charge of the Cultural Diplomacy in Geneva. He was a speaker during one of our events. He came to me and we started to chat. It is only after a few minutes that I realized that his questions sounded like an interview. At the end he told me that UN Geneva organizes dozens of cultural diplomacy events per year in partnership with Member States (concerts, exhibitions etc.). I joined his team as an intern and got promoted to consultant when I was only 23 years old. Sometimes, while rushing through the Palais des Nations to welcome an artist, to set up panels or to meet a diplomat I smile foolishly and I ask myself: is that real?

What were the main stages of building your career plan?   

I had one goal – working in communications and event management in the cultural, political and diplomatic sectors, but I never had a career plan to achieve it. I genuinely believe that we need to be aware of the different opportunities that come our way and that there is no unique plan to achieve a goal. At least this is what has worked for me so far. I never told myself that I had to work for a King’s counselor, the French Parliament or the UN to be successful, and I believe that this is precisely what has brought me to where I am today. I did not plan it, I seized the opportunities. 

What advice would you give to a student who would engage, as you did, in the UN?  

First of all, you have to be aware that having a strong academic background is good but not enough. Working for the UN is highly competitive. There are a lot of candidates for internships and only a few of them stay and get a job afterwards. So my first advice would be: be humble and share with us what makes you interesting apart from your diplomas. It does not have to be professional experiences, even if that helps. For an internship in event support, I would be interested by someone sharing with me how he/she contributed to the organization of a wedding, a surprise party or any kind of event. If you volunteered, if you lived far away from home, share with us what you learnt from it. It is also something we value in an international organization like the UN. 

Secondly, if you want to work for the UN, you need to ask yourself: to do what? I meet a lot of students who tell me that working for the UN is their dream, but when I ask them what they would like to do they tell me “anything”. It is definitely the wrong answer. The UN is so diverse, we have nurses, librarians, experts in chemical weapons and so many other profiles. Find your field of expertise and state a specific interest. This is what will make you competitive. 

My last advice applies to any student having a first work experience: be proactive. Many supervisors are busy and don’t always take enough time to think about personalized tasks that could be given to their interns. Show them that you can do the general things they assign you and once it’s done volunteer to do something else. It is a good opportunity to show your skills, your motivation and your ideas. If you seat in the back, there are few chances that they will keep you afterwards. 

What are the main features of your job today?    

My job is to organize cultural diplomacy events for the Permanent Missions based in Geneva. These events can be exhibitions, film screenings, concerts or even fashion shows. It is very diverse. All our events occur at UN Geneva in partnership with the Member States. It involves maintaining personalized relationships with Ambassadors, diplomats and UN staff members and working on all aspects of cultural diplomacy events: from politics, diplomacy and protocol to marketing and communications, through administrative, financial and technical tasks. 

What were the contributions of your training to the function that you hold today?

Sciences Po is an international school. You have students from everywhere in the world. Being immersed in such a multicultural environment during my studies was very enriching and helpful for my job at the UN. Sciences Po also provides skills to analyze and understand humanity’s contemporary challenges and find innovative solutions in the pursuit of the common good, just like UN staff members do. 

The classes of the policy stream on “Cultural Policy & Management” of the Master in Public Policy are very helpful for people who would like to work in the cultural sector. The School of Public Affairs gave me the opportunity to study creative industries, property law, cultural and art economics but also fundraising and marketing in the cultural sector. These courses were also very enriching because the School of Public Affairs’ teachers are experts in their field. Jean-Paul Cluzel, former Director of the Opéra de Paris, Aurélie Filippetti, former French Minister of Culture, and so many other professionals of the cultural milieu teach at Sciences Po. Being surrounded by such talented professionals had been very inspiring to build my own career.

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Katharina Poirier, class of 2019

Associate at PWC, graduated from the Master in European Affairs, Energy, Environment and Sustainability policy stream
  • Katharina Poirier © Olivier KervernKatharina Poirier © Olivier Kervern

What paths do our graduates take after the School of Public Affairs? Discover Katharina Poirier's testimony. She was a student of the Master of European affairs, Energy policy stream. 

Can you describe your academic and professional background?    

I first studied my Bachelor in Communication and Management in Hanover, Germany and then my Master in European Affairs at the School of Public Affairs of SciencesPo in Paris, which I completed in 2019.  During my studies I specialized in energy, resources and sustainability and had the opportunity to do internships at the UN in Canada and the IEA (OECD) in Paris.

Since 2019 I have been working for PwC in the Energy & Utilities department. I started in Düsseldorf, Germany, and was part of the team of energy audits of renewable energy subsidies. I am currently working as a consultant in the French Portfolio & Programme Management team, working with my colleagues on a successful European energy transition.

What were the main stages of building your career plan?   

First, a coherent story. All my experiences, positive and negative, have helped me to orientate myself professionally and help me to make decisions. I have always been passionate about the environment, energy and the European Community. For example, during my bachelor's degree, I started with an internship in the field of biodiversity and then found that the topic of energy transition is a very good link, which I have continued to pursue.

Secondly, many opportunities. In Germany, I did not start with a job, which I had previously imagined. Nevertheless, the professional experience was very enriching and allowed me to move internally to the French team of PwC and now to do exactly what I had wanted to do. It is important to keep your eyes open and to consider different possibilities with regard to your career. 

What advice would you give to a student who would engage, as you did, in a consulting?    

Especially at the beginning of a career, consulting is a very good opportunity to gain insight into a wide variety of companies and to build a professional network. I recommend everyone to make full use of this network, to organize many business lunches and to learn from the knowledge of others. Every day is exciting, and companies like PwC offer numerous initiatives, working groups and internal business development where you can pursue your passions and specialise your career plan. 

What are the main features of your job today?    

Varied, instructive and often unpredictable. Therefore it is important in this job to be curious and flexible. 

What were the contributions of your training to the function that you hold today?    

During my studies at SciencesPo I learned to approach questions and problems in a structured and methodical way. This helps me in my everyday life and is highly appreciated. In addition, the study contents were a very good comprehensive basis for starting in the field of Energy & Utilities. You learn further specialist knowledge during the projects and thanks to your team.  Furthermore, teamwork is not only important during the group work at Sciences Po, but also during the job in companies like PwC. So my involvement in the Association of the School of Public Affairs, for example, was a great preparation for the job and for working with other colleagues. I can highly recommend this experience. 

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Alice Etienne, class of 2015

Environmental project at ADP Group, graduated from the Master in Public Policy, Energy policy stream
  • Alice Etienne © JP Gaborit (ADP)Alice Etienne © JP Gaborit (ADP)

Within the ADP Group, Alice Etienne, a graduate of the School of Public Affairs, Policy stream Energy in 2015, defines and leads the Group's environmental strategy on the subjects of waste management, biodiversity and water.

What was her career path after Sciences Po and what are her day-to-day missions? Testimonial. 

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International Organisations Career Fair

Great success for the first edition
  • International Organisations Career Fair © Alexandros MichailidisInternational Organisations Career Fair © Alexandros Michailidis

The 1st Forum of International Organizations of Sciences Po was held on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 13, rue de l'Université.

Around thirty representatives from 14 international organisations travelled from New York, Geneva, the Philippines, etc. to meet and exchange with more than 800 Sciences Po students and graduates.

The day was punctuated by round tables and presentations of the organizations. Information and recruitment interviews were also offered to students throughout the day.

Find all the presentations and round tables of the day on vimeo.carrieres

 

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EAP student wins Erignac Award

Naelle Verniest won over the jury with her project
  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po

On February 6, Naelle Verniest received the Claude Erignac Prize, rewarding her project fighting against the digital exclusion of elderly people and improving their access to public services in the digital era. This prize will allow Sciences Po's School of Public Affairs' team, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals Certificate programme, and thanks to the support of the Policy Lab, to expand their digital familiarisation workshops to five Emeraude restaurants in Paris. The first series of workshops has started in February in one of these public restaurants for seniors and participates in the fight against the digital divide in France, a factor that exacerbates both social and economic exclusion.

The Sustainable Development Goals Certificate is a flagship program launched by the School of Public Affairs in collaboration with three international partner universities of the Global Public Policy Network. The SDG Certificate allows students to develop entrepreneurial skills and to work with public policy students from participating GPPN universities. It provides an opportunity for students to develop concrete projects rooted in their local environments, and to showcase them to an international audience of academics, practitioners and policymakers specializing in the SDGs.

The SDG Certificate at Sciences Po is supervised by Professor Laëtitia Atlani-Duault, Scientific Advisor for the program. For more information on the SDG Certificate, visit our webpage, or contact Jennie Cottle, SDG Certificate programme manager. 

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