Marie Trelat, Class of 2020
Marie Trelat, Class of 2020
- Marie Trelat © Marie Trelat
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?
I am originally from Saint-Bérain-sous-Sanvignes, a village of around 1000 inhabitants in Saône-et-Loire. I attended secondary school in the neighbouring mid-sized village Montceau-les-Mines until my baccalaureate, which had a Priority Education Agreement (CEP) with Sciences Po.
Without this programme and the support of my teachers, I would most certainly never have attempted the entrance exam competitions given my lack of awareness of the university and the barriers of the entrance exams.
I was admitted to Sciences Po at the end of my final year in secondary school, enrolling in the “Central and Eastern European” Sciences Po campus in Dijon, where I dreamed of starting my new life.
I was passionate about the history of European construction, and at Dijon I received a thorough understanding of the functioning of the European Union and its political stakes. I forged deep pro-European convictions that I have continued to defend, particularly in the context of student societies. My arrival on campus was also my first immersion in a multicultural world, an opportunity that I had never had before.
In order to better understand the impact of the European Union on its founding countries, I spent my third year abroad in Rome. In addition to my university studies, I used this experience as an opportunity to develop my curiosity for a subject I knew too little about: religious affairs. My two successive internships within and then with the Holy See, first at the French editorial office of Radio Vatican and then at the French Embassy, marked my academic experience. Retaining a particular interest and sensitivity for these questions, I wanted to deepen my knowledge by doing a final internship in the Central Office of Worship at the French Ministry of the Interior.
In line with my wish to better understand how public action is implemented and with a view of joining the civil service, I chose the Master in Public Policy, specifically the Public Administration policy stream of the School of Public Affairs. During my first year of the Master's programme, I worked as a parliamentary assistant to a Member of Parliament and became aware of the difficulty that comes with implementing effective public policies that need to meet the needs of a country and its population.
Sciences Po offers the opportunity to take a gap year during the Master's degree, which I took advantage of to deepen my interest in issues related to public policy communication. During my gap year I worked in the Government Information Service (SIG) attached to the Prime Minister and then for PLEAD agency, a subsidiary of the Vivendi-Havas group, specialised in strategic communication.
Finally, I completed my final year of my Master's as an apprenticeship student. Wanting to deepen my legal knowledge, I did my apprenticeship with the administrators of the Delegation for Local Authorities and Decentralisation of the National Assembly. During the year, I understood the urgent need to implement public policies that are more in touch with reality and the needs of the situation, than is the case today. This experience confirmed my desire to commit myself at a local level, alongside elected officials, to the development and enhancement of local communities through the implementation of territorial projects.
Since July 2020, I have worked as an assistant in the cabinet of the President of the Agglomeration Community of Grand Chalon (Saône-et-Loire), Sébastien Martin. My missions have allowed me to find what I originally sought after, and have allowed me to offer what I wished to bring to the table: to contribute the most pragmatically and concretely as possible to the public policies that respond to the needs of a given territory, to improve them and enhance the lives of the inhabitants of the territory, by applying my skills at the service of the decision makers. It’s even more gratifying as I am doing it for an area that I grew up in.
WHAT WERE THE MAIN STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL PATH?
I can’t identify one major step over another to explain the professional path that I am currently pursuing. The professional experiences that I was able to have, the professors that I was able to meet and the varied environments in which I was immersed in have all, as a whole, led me to forge strong convictions, that of wanting to be useful and to work efficiently and as close as possible for the needs of the situation and population, which is particularly reflected in the position that I hold today.
That being said, it was most certainly my apprenticeship at the French National Assembly during the second year of my Master’s that definitively convinced me to start a career in my home department and to put my skills towards its development. While I contemplated preparing for the state civil service examinations, my desire to engage and respond to concrete issues, and to contribute to the development of a territory and above all, to be useful, seemed to be more readily fulfilled by working with those elected to ensure the development of the territory.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR POSITION TODAY AS A PROJECT MANAGER IN THE CABINET OF THE PRESIDENT OF GRAND CHALON?
Combining strategy, field work, human, technical, practical and theoretical skills, the position I hold today involves supporting elected officials in the overall strategy of the community for whom I work for, in the service of developing the territory’s attractiveness and the overall well-being of its inhabitants.
As the intermediary between the elected representatives of the executive, the departments of the agglomeration and the actors of the territory, I make sure that the exchanges between all these actors are as fruitful as possible and that they all have the right information to understand each other so that the issues they deal with reach the set objectives.
In order to do this, I have to follow the implementation of a public policy in a concrete way - from the identification of the public's needs to the evaluation of the measure through the development of the project. This is applied to the multiple areas of the agglomeration (mobility, energy, sports facilities, early childhood...).
On the other hand, I support elected officials in their daily work by helping them ask the right questions, by providing them with the elements that will allow them to make the right decisions, and also by aiding them to communicate in the best possible way the public policy they wish to implement, to the people concerned.
As a result of my missions, I have the feeling that I am involved on a daily basis in the development of the type of French institutional and territorial organisation in which I firmly believe in: a more decentralised organisation that gives local actors the confidence, the means and the room for manoeuvre that they need to implement projects that will lift an entire territory and, in the long term, the entire country.
WHAT CONTRIBUTIONS DID YOUR STUDY AT THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, AND MORE PARTICULARLY THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION POLICY STREAM MAKE TO THE POSITION YOU HOLD TODAY?
My time at the School of Public Affairs at Sciences Po provided me with solid theoretical knowledge about the implementation of public policies at both a local and national level. The apprenticeship that I did in the second year of my Master's degree at the French National Assembly gave me a good understanding of the functioning of local governments and, above all, of the political stakes associated with the exercise of their powers.
Today, my studies and knowledge have allowed me to comprehend the environment in which I work and the one in which the elected officials and my community operate. It allows me to identify the interests of my interlocutors and to know which ones to rely on. This knowledge is also indispensable in order to understand why the community I work for should focus on one strategy over another, or why it should concentrate on one priority rather than another.
Because of the diversity of the courses offered in the Public Administration policy stream, I also have the necessary knowledge to understand the issues related to the implementation of most of the responsibilities of the agglomeration, whatever they may be, and to summarise them. This helps me in particular when it comes to transmitting the right level of information to the elected officials for whom I work, to advise them when they have to make a decision or to invite them to consider a new strategy.
More generally, the richness of my studies at Sciences Po allows me to be a source of ideas. It has led me to reproduce what I was encouraged to do throughout my university studies: to take an interest in what can be set up elsewhere, to compare in order to be inspired and to propose new things, always telling myself that being innovative and inventive does not only pertain to others.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO GIVE A STUDENT OR A FUTURE YOUNG GRADUATE?
Never follow a predetermined path because it’s what others expect from you. I am now convinced that, far from being a linear rise to positions with ever greater responsibility, a professional career must first and foremost be filled with experiences that are fulfilling in order to be successful.
This involves not setting limits on oneself but, on the contrary, daring to ask questions, knocking on doors, embarking on new adventures, and questioning the path you have followed up until now. Sciences Po gives you the tools to do just that. You should not hesitate to use them to invest in causes that you feel are right.