Where did you do your internship and what was your role?
I was a research assistant at the German Development Institute in Bonn, Germany. It is a public structure specialised in development and environmental economics. The institute is mainly doing research, but also provides consultancy services for government and ministries. I worked on two projects during my internship: the first one was about a behavioral experiment conducted in partnership with the World Bank to increase tax compliance in Kosovo; the second one was a study in partnership with the UNCCD on the impact of land degradation on poverty. I was mainly doing data cleaning, data analysis and literature reviews. It was a three-months internship. My internship was part of my M1.
How did your studies/ courses at TSE help you during the internship?
The courses that has been the most useful for my internship were econometrics and program evaluation. Moreover, I think the long-term group project done in M1 – Applied Econometric – is a very good way to initiate us to research and data analysis. It made me realise, for example, the amount of time required to complete the research process, from finding relevant databases to building econometric models, which I underestimated. This helped me to better organise my work and to anticipate deadlines during my internship. Regarding my experience in the institute, thanks to the projects I was working on but also to the other interns from different academic backgrounds I meet, I would say TSE gives us very rigourous and complete empirical methodologies that have much value in the professional world. The skills we have when graduating are actually not that common and give us a real advantage on the job market.
How did you find your internship? What advice would you give to students who would like to find a similar internship?
I discovered the institute through the excel file from TSE Careers listing all the internships done by TSE students in the past couple of years – it takes time to go through all of it, but it is a tool you should not neglect! I spontaneously applied, and was later contacted by one of the researchers who was interested in my profile. I think my main asset was to be a TSE student. My advisor had already hired several interns from TSE, and was satisfied with their work. Looking at offers on the alumni website or at internships that former TSE students did is a good way to go, because the companies already know the school and are often happy to hire other interns from there. Mr Alary often insists for us to be good TSE ambassadors outside of the school; I realise now the accuracy of it, as it builds TSE network and give better and more various opportunities to future TSE generations.
Besides, I would advise students to begin to search for an internship as soon as possible. I had sent all my applications by mid-January, and had my internship by the end of the month. I am happy I did so, because the second semester of the M1 is really short, and we had a lot of work to do from February on, mostly because of the Applied Econometric project.
Finally – especially for French students, do not be afraid to extend your research outside of France. It can be a good opportunity to discover an enriching culture as well as a different way of conceptualising work. Furthermore, it was, in my case, definitely cheaper than doing an internship in Paris.