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 – Economic Theory and Econometrics (ETE)

M2ETE_CurrentStudentCurrent student – Till Kov

Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

ETE is a very theoretical and mathematical program. For me, the most challenging aspect was the level of mathematics which is required for some courses. But this is also due to the fact that I have a less strong background in mathematics than many other ETE-students because I did my undergrad studies in Sociology, Politics and Economics.

Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

In the first semester, my favourite course was Game Theory. The teaching style and the structure of the course were both really good. However, it had quite some overlap with content that we covered in the M1. In the second semester, my favourite course so far is the optional course in Environmental economics. The course mainly consists in reading and critically discussing current papers from the field, which helps me in developing own research ideas for the M2 thesis and for the PhD.

What do you plan to do next?

Over the summer, all ETE students will write their M2 thesis. After that, I will take some time to relax before I will start doing a PhD with a focus on environmental economics.

Alumni – Oscar JaraM2ETE_Alumni

What are you up to now?

I am currently following the DEEQA program, which is the first year of the PhD at the Toulouse School of Economics. In DEEQA,  you must choose seven courses that are related to your field interests and write a paper at the end of it. During this year we can also attend seminars and workshops, where scholars from the most prestigious Universities of the world come to TSE to present their latest and most significant work. I have been in many of these and not only it is academically enriching, but also gives you a sense of the academic community that we are intended to join in the (near) future.

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

In DEEQA we have two main duties: attend and participate actively in lectures and write a paper at the end of it. For the lectures, since most of the workload is focused on discussing and giving critical opinions about papers, it is necessary to have a solid background in economics. In the core and elective courses of the M2 ETE, we were required to learn the main economic principles – which demanded many hours of dedication and effort. For the DEEQA paper, the M2 ETE is of great help because at the end of it we had to submit and defend a paper. After one year learning the different economic theories, one is supposed to come up with a research question and work on it. This is the first time when we are supposed to actually create a model regarding a question that we think is both interesting and relevant. The exercise of thinking the best way to express ideas into equations is really challenging and compels you to go deeper in the related literature. In DEEQA, we can continue working on the ETE’s thesis or find another more interesting – and relevant –  research question.

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 – Environmental and Natural Resources Economics (ERNA)

Current Student – Charlotte Chemarin

Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging? 

I think one of the most challenging aspects is that we have a lot of oral presentations to do – at least one per course. It is something I am not comfortable with. Nevertheless, I know it is important to develop oral skills, so it is useful. We also read a lot of academic papers and have many group projects – but still less work than in M1, no worries.

Which was your favourite course(s) and why? 

I prefer courses that are more applied and that teach us practical skills. I also like Mr Amigues’s classes where we can challenge our beliefs and see things differently, regarding, for example, economic growth and the environment, management of biodiversity, pollution, etc.

The truth is that I am really interested in environmental topics and it is motivating to finally focus on it in every course. Hence, I enjoy this year more than the previous ones.

What do you plan to do next?

It is always tricky to answer this kind of question. To be honest, I do not know yet – and hopefully I am not the only one. I want to work in environment-related topics for sure, perhaps more precisely on agriculture and resilience. This is why I am doing my M2 internship at the INRAE. I hope it will help me figure out what I want to do.

M2E_E_Current StudentCurrent Student – Jérémy Ferrante (Economics and Ecology Path)

Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

Considering the double approach of our master program, it is quite normal for students from an ecology background to struggle with some principles of economics, and vice-versa. I had already completed a master’s degree in socio-environmental management prior to my arrival here at TSE, and this previous formation included very little mathematics, let alone economics! So, quite naturally, the most requiring parts of this whole Ecology and Economics program were to be found, in my opinion, in some mathematical aspects of economic theories. Though it has been manageable so far.

 Which was your favourite course(s)and why?

I would say that the classes we followed in the CNRS research center in Moulis (Ariège) were both the most exciting and most original classes I had this year. They were about many topics, such as environmental modelling, economic valuation, or even philosophy of sciences. Moreover, some of them were conducted following the problem-based learning approach, which favors autonomy and “cross-learning” between students.  However, for me, the most enriching courses were probably the more “conventional” ones in pure economics, as I was almost ignorant of everything in this field. For instance, Non-Market Valuation with Mr. Henrik Andersson, or, in the second semester, Ecosystem Management and Policies with Mr. François Salanié.

What do you plan to do next?

Here comes the big question! Well, my usual answer is that I have always proceeded one step at a time. And I plan to do just that in the upcoming years. For now, I found an internship at EDF, on the economic opportunities related to the sediment sludges, a by-product of hydropower generation. As for what’s coming next, who knows? One step at a time.

 

M2ERNA_AlumniAlumni – Valérie Furio, Climate Policy Initiative

What are you up to now?

I am currently in London working for Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) as an Analyst in the Climate Finance program, where I was hired after a summer internship that I completed for my M2 ERNA. The CPI is a non-profit international research organisation, with the climate finance program focused on advising policymakers and financial actors on how to achieve a Paris Agreement-aligned economic growth and development through finance. This ultimate goal is approached from several angles: tracking of climate finance flows, advising governments and development finance institutions on their climate finance portfolio, and the development of innovative financial instruments.

Despite having joined the organisation less than a year ago, I have been involved in many different projects. For example, I have worked on tracking finance flows (essentially collecting and consolidating data, then providing an analysis of it) for energy access – looking at technologies enabling access to electrification, as well as clean cooking technologies and fuels, which is a topic with interesting development implications. Another project I worked on was to help an institution develop an air pollution bond, which is an innovative financial instrument issued by a municipality, with proceeds going to financing air pollution reduction projects in the city. These are just examples of projects, but the work is varied and fascinating and can go from looking into blockchain insurance for smallholder farmers to the role of subnational governments in climate finance, or from the financial barriers women face in accessing energy to how data can be leveraged to track private finance. We are also encouraged to think of ways to improve methodologies and come up with new research proposals, which is an exciting part of working for CPI as we feel involved in the organisation’s development.

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

The ERNA M2 is a great preparation for many different types of work in this space – whether that be with a focus on energy, climate change, development, or public policy evaluation, the master has at least one class focused on these topics that will help explore these interests. The class on green policies is a staple for understanding the wider context, as well as the energy economics and climate policy class. However, my work at CPI is quite wide in scope and I found that all my classes in ERNA provided useful insight. As always, familiarity with econometric methods and program evaluation are useful when doing a quality literature review, and the knowledge of programming languages such as R and Python are useful to our work and increasingly employed, as well as SQL.

Last but definitely not least, writing and communications skills are highly valued in organisations like  CPI, and thus participating in the TSEconomist was an excellent way of honing those skills in a school like TSE – I would highly recommend it!

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.