Sciences Po Exchange Testimonial

Looking back on the Sciences Po experience

While our 2015-2016 classmates are already fully settled in cities like Chicago, Geneva, London and Doha; those of us who received the opportunity to pursue an exchange semester are wrapping up our Master Degree just now. One thing I can definitely say: it was a challenging, but most importantly rewarding experience from the first until the last day.

In this post, I would like to share my thoughts about the strengths of two very different, yet both leading academic environments. In addition, I would like to explain in more detail what Sciences Po added to the 10 months in Madrid.

Few academic environments will top IE’s one in terms of diversity of nationalities and backgrounds. Studying with classmates from all corners of the world enabled us to broaden our perspective, understand differences and now position ourselves as a bridge between different people. This clearly increased my employability as diversity and inclusion stand high in every company or organization. The entrepreneurial spirit present at IE is also one that will be hard to top. Sciences Po’s strengths stem more from its advantaged localisation in the heart of Paris. To be more precise, it opens so many more networking opportunities with business fairs, weekly corporate breakfasts, daily seminars, and guest speakers from private, public and social sectors. And, its size enables students to pick and chose classes from different masters, and expand their skillset as they are able to specialise in what really interests them, but also to take electives out of curiosity.

While Daniel was able to deepen his regional knowledge by taking IR regional classes not covered by the MIR, Kiyeon had the chance to satisfy his appetite for more finance related courses. As for myself, Sciences Po enabled me to expand both my hard and soft skills. I will provide you with examples of a few classes I was able to choose, and what they brought me.

  • Digital Business Strategies enabled me to have a closer look into the start-up world and meet inspiring founders of digital disruptors like Uber and Snapchat, guest speakers from the digital world like ING direct, and numerous investor. This course highlighted the importance of understanding the digital transformation that the world is undergoing, and taught me the necessary skills to help transform companies digitally, but also to launch a business plan.
  • Doing Business in Emerging Markets helped me understand the basic policies for investment to expand a business into a country like India, Nigeria or Brazil whether through organic or inorganic growth. It also emphasized the importance of the STEEP framework (Social, Technological, Economical, Environmental and Political) and enabled students to apply their knowledge by working in teams on expansion projects.
  • Country Risk Analysis turned out to be a follow-up class to the MIR Micro-Macro course as well as the Economic Development Theory class. Analysing the risks of a Foreign Direct Investment or a Sovereign Loan crafts your risk management skills.
  • And, other courses like Negotiating Successfully and Leading People and Teams complemented the Strategic Communication and Global Leadership courses from IE.

To conclude, my additional semester at Sciences Po strengthened my skills portfolio, complemented my course list from the MIR, and expanded my professional network. I am honoured to say that I completed an IR Master at a Business School, with courses of a Business Master at a Political Science School. I strongly believe that this brings an interesting twist and enables strong personal and professional development, better preparing me for the next chapter.

Written by Sophie Bik, Master in Economics and Business at Sciences Po Paris.