M2 Choice – Public Policy and Development (PPD)

Rene Stryja - Ihr Fotograf in Tübingen, Reutlingen, Esslingen,Current student – Stefan Preuß

 Which was your favourite course(s) and why? 

There were many great classes. My top three are that on the role of institutions in development by Victor Gay, that on econometrics by Paul Seabright/Ana Gazmurri, and that on economic history by Mohamed Saleh. In all of them, the lecturers were able to convey their fascination for the field, to stimulate vivid discussions on the papers, and to give helpful explanations whenever questions came up. The in-depth view on current research that the three courses provided deepened my understanding of the challenges for developing economies and the use of potential remedies.

Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

In many courses grading is based on term papers or projects rather than exams. While the professors provided some initial assistance, we were left to our own devices for the most time of the project. It was therefore necessary to have a creative idea for the topic and then to demonstrate a high degree of autonomy in implementing it. I found it challenging to take this responsibility, particularly in those – inevitable – moments when facing obstacles in the selected approach. At the same time, I consider it to be a highly valuable preparation for what is to come after the studies.

What do you plan to do next?

To complete the PPD, one must either write a Master thesis or do an internship, of which I chose the latter. For that purpose, I will go to the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs. After that, I will attempt to get into the German diplomatic service, hopefully benefitting from the international experience I gained in my studies at TSE.

M2 Choice – Econometrics and Empirical Economics (EEE)

Current student – M2EEE_CurrentstudentGaudéric Thiétart

Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

I would say what is the most challenging in M2 EEE is using and learning several software languages at the same time.  Some teachers prefer Stata or R, others want you to learn Matlab or Eviews. Sometimes it can be quite confusing, but it is also very useful, as we will know how to adapt depending on the software used by our future company.

In addition, and in a more personal way, it was quite challenging for me to go back to TSE after my gap year. Even though I studied one semester abroad, the courses I chose were not particularly related to econometrics, which is why I was quite worried about coming back in M2 EEE. I would advise people returning from their gap year to read quickly their M1 courses before beginning their M2. However, do not worry too much, you will not be the only one in this case!

Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the classes I had during the first semester. I thought that being in M2 would have meant more practical work; however, in my opinion, the courses remained very theoretical. In this sense, I really enjoyed the “Programming in Python” class because our teacher was a Data Scientist from Deloitte in New York City. To have a professor coming from one of the main international consulting firms was interesting to see how the theoretical and programming skills we have are practically used at work. I hope these links between firms and TSE will be improved in the future in M2 EEE.

What do you plan to do next?

In the short run, I will do a six-month internship at la Banque de France. I will work for the Diagnostic conjoncturel (Short-Term Diagnosis) service to help in the forecasting of French GDP and to improve their econometric models. After that my plans are not really defined yet. If I enjoy my experience at la Banque de France, I might keep on working in this macroeconomics/forecasting area. I would also be interested in working for the public sector or in an international agency such as the OECD.

 

Alumni – Joël Brehin

What are you up to now?

During the BND, I found an internship as a data scientist for BI Consulting, consisting in  trying to fit a predictive model of car accidents. After this, I was hired as a general data consultant, potentially called on tasks of data science but also of data engineering. Currently, I am carrying out a mission as a data engineer. This position is a good opportunity for me to develop my skills both in data science and on more technology-related tasks. I was able to learn new programming languages such as Scala and to get a better understanding of distributed architecture for Big Data.

What skills acquired in M2 are relevant for your current position?

During the EEE M2, I was able to get a good theoretical foundation in statistics and econometrics that helped greatly when developing a data science algorithm. Indeed, in contrast to a computer science degree, it gives me a better grasp of the mathematics at work in these models. My studies were also my first experience of programming in Python and R, which are languages I am often using. It was also a good entry point to learn other languages. Most importantly, this experience in programming is something I found a strong liking to, although I had never considered it before. Finally, because  EEE is mostly based on practical applications and group projects rather than finals, my transition to the labour market was easier. I did not take too much time to adjust to hard deadlines, group work and working on my own.

 

 

M2 Choice – Economics of Markets and Organizations (EMO)

Meet_the_board_ArthurCurrent student – Arthur Biamouret

Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The M2 EMO is not technically or theoretically difficult, but I think that the hardest part for me was to do theory. After my gap year – two internships and a trip – I was expecting to do applied economics, but the M2 EMO is still quite theoretical. Obviously, we do not learn this for fun, we need it in our future jobs and it was very useful for interviews. But still, you need to be ready to go through some Cournot, Bertrand and Hotelling models for one more year. Fortunately, most of it was not difficult, and was interesting and well supported by very good applied papers.

Which was your favourite course(s) and why? 

My favorite course was Empirical Analysis of Firm Behavior. The teacher (Mathias Reynaert) is very good and the course is focused on applied methodologies. We had two homeworks to do, which allowed us to practice STATA and to apply the economic theory seen during the previous years. During this class, we discussed interesting topics using applied papers and real life examples. Moreover, the class was a good complement to another one which was more theoretical.

What do you plan to do next?

After the M2 EMO, I would like to work as a consultant in competition economics. I have always been interested in competition issues since we, as consumers, can feel the consequences of those decisions in our daily lives (telecommunication, retail, transports, etc). I have always wanted to be at the heart of those decisions which often strongly impact people’s environment. Moreover, competition issues are present in every sector, and working as a consultant will give me the opportunity to discover diverse topics and methodologies. For the next six months I am going to Brussels in order to do my internship with the firm Positive Competition.

M2EMO_AlumniAlumni – August Aubach Altès

What are you up to now?

I am an economic consultant at Analysis Group in Paris. The vast majority of our cases concern French and European competition matters. My primary job is to integrate industrial organisation theory and econometrics, along with current quantitative methods, to analyse the conduct and market dynamics at issue in antitrust litigation and merger investigations. At present, I am involved in an important case that involves competition in digital media markets.

I started as an intern in June 2019 and then received an offer as a full-time Analyst in December. One of the main reasons I decided to stay at Analysis Group is that the firm offers the right balance between academia and the real world. The work allows me to deepen my understanding of market structures and firms’ strategic choices, from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. The work environment at Analysis Group promotes cooperation and knowledge sharing. I am currently working with and learning from experts in industrial organisation. I would like to pursue a Ph.D. in economics, with a specialisation in industrial organisation, and I believe that this experience will undoubtedly help me shape my future research.

What skills acquired from TSE do you find useful in your work?

TSE gave me a comparative advantage over other graduate students with similar profiles. Courses at TSE provide the skill set that is required for any job. As one might expect, hard skills such as economic reasoning, data analysis, computer programing and writing abilities are essential in all types of consulting work. However, the above-mentioned is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to stand out, and it is the set of soft skills that I learned at TSE – such as time management, teamwork and flexibility – that are crucial. These skills have proven particularly useful, as most of the work is done in teams – that is, working regularly with people who have different backgrounds and work styles.

Regarding the EMO track, it has positioned me ideally for this role by giving me the opportunity to analyse in class many competition cases from a variety of standpoints. The opportunity to engage with these cases – such as horizontal mergers, exclusionary contracts and collusive behaviours in two-sided markets – allowed me to understand how economic agents should be understood depending on their incentives and on the configuration of the market. Therefore, one of the main takeaways from the EMO master that I have implemented at Analysis Group is that each case should be analysed from a rigorous and critical economic perspective, and as an independent and unique event.

M2 Choice – Economics and Competition Law (ECL)

M2ECL_CurrentstudentCurrent student- Luc Greiner

Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The M2 Economics and Competition Law program is mostly about applying industrial organisation concepts to assess competition on current markets and industries. As it is more applied, it is not as challenging as, for example, the M1 Economics and Law, since most of the theoretical knowledge was acquired in M1 and during the previous years at TSE. What is challenging is the economics and law program as a whole, from the first year – L1 – on: Studying both economics and law can be difficult because the methods used and the required learning are very different between both fields.

Which was your favourite course(s) and why? 

My favourite course is « Topics and Cases in Competition Policy »  because it focuses on some of the European Union Commission’s landmark cases that shaped EU competition law. One of the purposes is to discuss the application of industrial organisation to real-world mergers and alleged anti-competitive behaviours, which is always very interesting. In this course, it is also great to welcome expert economic consultants to study hot topics in competition economics, and expert lawyers to review the intricacies of competition law. This year, we are even participating in a mock trial with respect to the Facebook-Instagram merger with a jury of professionals.

What do you plan to do next?

In a few months, I will be starting an internship in economic consulting in the field of competition economics. I look forward to continue applying industrial organisation to real-world cases. In my opinion, this is the most interesting part of economic science: figuring out what theories can explain the facts. And with digitisation, and the rise of platforms, economic consulting is the place to be to study the latest issues in economics!

Alumni – Frédéric Axisia M2ECL_Alumni (2)

What are you up to now?

I’ve been working for nine months at TERA Consultants, a consulting firm in Paris gathering both economists and engineers. TERA is specialised in telecommunications and deals with competition and regulation cases. As a result, the job can offer a large variety of missions. Since I arrived, I have been involved in several litigations before the French Competition Authority, a lot of trials before different commercial courts for unfair competition practices, but also in the design of a margin squeeze model for a European regulator. Most cases I work on are related to the telecom field, but not all. It is quite challenging at first to understand all the mechanisms involved in that field but also quite rewarding to develop an expertise in such an evolving domain of the economy.

Cases apart, as the firm only has around 15 employees, we obviously all know each other and go sometimes for an afterwork drink. You also won’t be home sick in Paris, as half – if not more – of TSE graduates live there! I only miss being an active member of a student association…

Which skills, acquired from studying at the TSE, have you found useful?

It might disappoint some people, but I would say that the most important right now is my writing skill. You of course need an economic understanding of the cases you work on. But as I have to write economics reports intended for courts on a daily basis, being able – thanks to my law cursus – to organise my arguments and present them in a proper way is essential. Essential, but not sufficient. When working on competition cases, I did some econometric analysis – using STATA – and used economic literature to back up my points. And when working on the margin squeeze case, I had to understand a quite complex Excel model. As for the rest, economic reasoning learned through different classes would be what most consulting firms look for.

Finally, as a former member of the association Say It Aloud, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of public speaking. That way, you can look like you know, even when you don’t.

Alumni report: Joanna Morais, AVISIA

Alumni Joanna Morais

What is your position today?

I am currently working as a data scientist consultant at Avisia in Bordeaux. Avisia is a French consulting company created in 2007. Originally based in Paris, it now has agencies in Nantes, Lyon, and more recently in Bordeaux. I carry out projects ranging from a few weeks to several months, during which I accompany clients on various subjects to explain or predict phenomena, using statistical methods and data science.

I have several missions, including, for example, predicting elevator failures, the departure of customers to competitors or whether a borrower will default, determining the customers most likely to be interested in an offer, explaining the market shares of car brands according to their media investments, and creating customer segmentation according to their uses and preferences.

In parallel with the missions at the client’s site, I am involved in a number of transversal projects in my company. Those projects consist in, inter alia, participating in an image recognition project through deep learning, implementing a communication and knowledge sharing tool, organising an internal data science hackathon, and recruitment.

I also give a Marketing Econometrics course to  Master students in Statistics and Econometrics, which is a very applied course. It is an activity I particularly appreciate; it is a pleasure for me to be able to give students an idea of what concretely awaits them in the professional world,  especially for data scientist positions.

 

What was your path from your Master’s graduation to this current post, and what are the key elements which helped making your choice?

I met the company Avisia at the Business Networking Day during my first year of Master in Economics and Statistics at TSE. The following summer I did a three-month internship there; it confirmed my interest in using quantitative methods based on real data to understand customer behaviors.

I graduated in 2014 and met another company, BVA, a French market research and consulting institute. With three other students, I carried out a project with BVA for six months: the objective was to analyse the impact of media investments on the market shares of car brands.

I then completed my final internship at INBOX, another consulting firm I met at the BND. BVA came back to me afterwards to offer me the opportunity to continue the student project I had been involved in as part of a CIFRE thesis – the French denomination for a thesis financed by a company.

This thesis was a wonderful three-year experience. I was able to evolve within the company while having a research activity and very strong ties with the academic world, and in particular with TSE, since my thesis directors were Christine Thomas-Agnan and Michel Simioni. Something I also loved were the conference trips abroad – in Prague, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chicago, Siena, … I met some very nice people, and improved my English! Moreover I won a prize for the best oral presentation at an international conference, and the Paul Sabatier prize for the best thesis in mathematics. This shows that corporate research has nothing to be ashamed of  compared to purely academic research!

I then stayed one year at BVA as a data scientist consultant. I was in charge of developing and leading an internal community of about 20 statisticians – methodological sheets, trainings, events – and the external development of the Data Intelligence offer. I also supervised a TSE student on a project to predict customer satisfaction.

Moving from a doctoral student status to being an employee is not such an easy step: I quickly wanted a new challenge. I left for Quantmetry – after being co-opted by a TSE alumni – a leading Parisian data science consulting firm, where I was able to improve my technical skills by working closely with data engineers on industrialised projects.

Some personal plans led me to leave Quantmetry and to move to Bordeaux, which coincided with Avisia’s desire to open an agency there.

 

According to your professional experience, what are the most useful skills you obtained during your degree?

Economics has given me a way of thinking about problems and understanding them. The very applied Master 2 courses with many projects – in groups or individually – the oral presentations, programming on R or Python, and professional speakers are great assets for professional integration. They prepare relatively well for the reality of the labour market. The existence of an alternative track for the M2 Statistics and Econometrics is, in my opinion, also very good.

The TSE network has been very useful to me at all stages of my professional career, whether for internships, for my thesis, or to find a job. I am now very proud to be able to maintain this link with the new generations through the course I give to M2 students.

 

What advice would you like to give to TSE students, or to the school?

My advice for students would be to really get involved in the projects they have to carry out – especially group projects – because this is by far what will best involve them in real life, and it will be an asset for job interviews.

My advice for TSE would be to maintain or even to further increase school-business relations, whether through the BND,  professional speakers, or research collaborations with companies.

 

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