Where did you do your internship and what was your role?
I did a six months internship at the Réseau Autonome des Transports Parisiens – RATP – headquarter in Paris to validate my M1. My mission was to try to design an econometric model to estimate the buses demand in Ile-de-France. I did everything, from cleaning the database to building the econometric model, testing hypothesis, and write a report about my findings. I was part of a team of engineers, and was thus the only person with an economic background. Hence, I was quite autonomous.
How did your studies/courses help you during your internship?
R courses helped me a lot, as it was the software I was working on during my internship, along with Excel and QGIS, a cartography software. Courses in econometrics were of course also very useful. However, I hardly knew how to clean databases, and this is something I regret not having learnt more deeply at TSE. School projects like the Applied Econometrics project taught me how to efficiently communicate and attribute tasks in a group, and it helped me a lot during my internship. My team gave me responsibilities, trusted me, and was always here to help me if needed; this is something I really appreciated. On the other hand, my internship changed my way of reading and learning my lessons. I try now to distinguish between theoretical parts – like mathematical proofs – and practical parts, and focus more on the latter, as they are the most important parts to remember at the end of the day.
How did you find your internship ? What advice would you give to students who would like to find a similar internship ?
I found this internship through the Alumni website. I was then contacted by the team I ended up working with for a call interview. I have to say I found my internship pretty late, and would like to give some advice to students – especially to M1 students – who are searching for an internship. I sent a lot of applications from October, but realised later that I did not adopt the most optimal strategy. I appreciated the Professional Development course, but I think it only gives you bases that you really have to develop to have an original and personal application. It was my first internship, and at first I did not focus enough on concrete skills I had, that are school projects, technical courses like the Empirical Industrial Organization course, software and personal projects. I started by applying for the positions I wanted the most, and I regret having done so. If it is your first internship, I advise you to apply first to positions that are not in your top list to get some practice. I admit I was disappointed by the Business Networking Day in the sense that I was pretty sure to get my internship there, but I later realised this is an event that is mostly useful to M2 students, or to students that already have some experience. However, I still recommend you to go and practise your elevator speech, as it will give you some training for real interviews. Finally, I would recommend sending quite a lot of applications, as the response rate might not be high for your first internship. However, sending them in January instead of October – while still keeping an eye open for potential offers during the autumn period – might be better. Finding your first internship might be hard, but once you get it, it becomes way easier to find other internships. I then worked at Veltys consulting in Paris during my gap year, and found this position quite easily.