M2 Choice

PPD – Public Policy and Development

Current student: Alea Munoz

Alea Munoz
  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

In almost every course we have to write an empirical paper. This involves finding an interesting economic question and the appropriate data. Sometimes you come up with a very good idea, but unfortunately you don’t have the data. Even when you have the required data, developing an econometric method is always a challenge! You face endogeneity issues or other statistical problems. It may seem complex but, in fact, you learn a lot since you put into practice all your econometric skills. Also, it is very rewarding to see that you are actually able to present a model that assesses an existing economic phenomenon or to present a public policy which aims to solve a socio-economic problem.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

I have two favourite courses. The first one is “Empirical Methods of Development”, taught by Matteo Bobba. The course gives us the tools for conducting randomized controlled trials (RCT). From an econometric point of view, RCTs are a very powerful tool since randomization (if done properly) allows us to have clear causal interpretation of the results. Nowadays, they are widely used by development economic researchers such as Esther Duflo. For the final project we were asked to create a RCT and I found it really useful.

I also particularly like the “Economic Effects of Political Institutions” course, taught by Michael Becher. The course looks at economic problems from a political point of view, which was something new for me. We treated topics such as the effect of democracy on growth, how gender quotas change the preferences of political decision-makers and how the level of education of political leaders can impact their performance. If you like politics, this course is for you!


Alumni: Mahi ElAttar

Mahi ElAttar
  1. What are you up to now?

I work at the World Bank’s office in Washington DC, as a consultant and Research Assistant in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Vice President and Chief Economist’s offices. I was lucky enough to receive a job offer before my internship was over, working on the same project I worked on during my internship that validated my M2-PPD. In a nutshell, I am part of a team that drafts reconstruction strategies and recommendations for conflict countries in MENA, offering cross-support to different country offices in the region and units across the World Bank. Whenever I have to explain what I do, I always say “I work on the four fun countries in the Middle East: Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen”. Seeing how complicated the context in those countries is, we always joke by saying “it’s never a boring day in the Middle East!”

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

Since I work on the political economy of conflict countries in the Middle East, the topics we covered in the classes of “Political Economy and Development” and “Foreign Aid and Governance” were particularly useful when trying to draft strategies for the reconstruction in these countries. M2-PPD also taught me how to understand the chain reactions caused by any policy, which we need to consider carefully in the fragile, conflict-ridden context so as to avoid future instability. Most PPD classes also integrate quantitative analysis and econometrics with topics related to development, which is useful in learning how to apply theory to public policy.

However, I think that the most important skills I learned at TSE were not necessarily related to the academics. “PPD people” come from completely different backgrounds, which always enriched the discussions we had in class. I think this international environment helped me fit easily in the international work environment at the World Bank Head Quarters in DC, where working with someone from the same country is not common. Another good thing about PPD is how most classes are based on group projects and presentations, and not on final exams. This was a great opportunity to learn how to work better in teams and with students from different backgrounds. If I were to go back in time, I would definitely choose M2-PPD again.


ERNA – Environmental and Natural Resource Economics


Current student: Annie Krautkraemer 

Annie Krautkraemer


  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The most challenging aspect was probably time management, which is likely a skill you have already developed in the M1. There are quite a few projects and presentations to handle, but there is the possibility to start some of them earlier on in order to not get overwhelmed by the end of the semester.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

In the first semester, I would say Cost Benefit Analysis because we were able to have discussions, and there was a lot of participation involved, and that is more of the learning style that I was used to before coming to TSE. While it is still early in the second semester as I write this, I am also enjoying Econometrics of Program Evaluation because we are going to learn practical skills that will be very useful. If you are interested in working on issues involving environmental policy or energy and climate change, M2 ERNA is a good choice. There is also the new ERNA program for ecology and economics, which is a more interdisciplinary master’s program where you learn ecological and biological concepts.


Alumni: Romain Esteve

Romain Esteve
Romain Esteve

1.What are you up to now?


I recently joined London Economics Ltd, a consulting company that provides rigorous economic analysis in different sectors such as behavioural economics, finance, public policy and space. I work as a full-time member of the space team, which focuses on the space industry. In other words, I became a space economist. Missions are very different from one to another. We use state of the art methodologies to provide high level analysis and tools for decision making and very specific knowledge about the growing industry.

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

The analytical skill is indubitably the most useful. Working as an economist requires awareness of the data we hold and the information it carries. In my background, knowledge of statistical tools is also a key strength. Simple or deep statistical analytics is an important skill to put forward when facing interviewers and competition. Finally, as an ERNA student, I learned a broad set of valuation tools which are essential for the work I am currently doing, including benefit cost analysis, travelling cost method, survey-based analysis, etc. On the space team, we face an important challenge knowing that we are analysing a niche market with very little available data. We need to be creative and to use “textbook” methodologies very often. For instance, one of our missions is to build a cost-benefit analysis of mining asteroids. This is the first time such an analysis has been built, so resources are poor, and we need to follow our scholastic knowledge to be able to build a decent report.

EcoStat – Economics and Statistics


Current student: Anita Clement

  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The field of application of the Econometrics and Statistics Master’s degree is very wide. This is why we have many classes and projects that help us get an overview and the corresponding skills used in business settings. As a result, it can be hard to allocate time and find enough motivation to go the extra mile. Furthermore, half of us are doing an apprenticeship that allows you to work from Thursday to Friday for a year, which brings a lot of challenges to the table such as dealing with your time management to achieve big goals and good results. Beyond this, it is a unique opportunity to have an additional professional experience, develop unique skills, and test your own knowledge. The latter, translates into busy weeks (early days and late nights) when you have to catch up on Thursday and Friday lectures.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

Graph theory was one of my favourite courses. It provides specific knowledge on network analysis, which is really absorbing! This was really attractive to me since the associated methods are very powerful tools to analyse all kinds of networks from neurons to social networks. A concrete application we had to work on was retrieving tweets from Twitter. Our mission consisted in identifying and regrouping them (with the help of text mining techniques) in order to apprehend positive or negative attitudes with respect to marketing practices to help companies improve their business development. Recommendation systems like Amazon’s product suggestion based on your previous purchase is just one example of the widespread and successful use of graph theory.


EMO – Economics of Markets and Organisations


 Current student: Saí Bravo Melgarejo

Saí Bravo Melgarejo
  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The M2 EMO program is a mix between theoretical and empirical courses. For me, the most challenging part was the pressure of having classes where grades exclusively depended on the final exam. However, the content is really interesting, which motivates you to work hard.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

I think my favourite courses during the first term where both Quantitative Analysis and Empirical Analysis of the Firm Behaviour. The first course allowed me to learn how to deal with data, which I guess will be useful in the future. The second one was really interesting in terms of the variety of content and topics.  For example, we learned about online platforms’ reputation, online pricing mechanisms and consumers’ overconfidence, which I personally enjoyed. Finally, during the second term the courses that I have enjoyed the most are both Energy Markets and Air transport.


Alumni: Philip Hanspach


Philip Hanspach


  1. What are you up to now?

I am enjoying the sun, the warm weather and palm trees in Berlin. Just kidding, I work in economic consulting with NERA and I am writing this in the midst of a crazy snowstorm. Most of our projects concern damage quantification in cartel litigation. As guardians of ordo-liberalism and competition, we often defend nice little family firms who ended up in an alleged cartel against the outrageous damages claims of greedy purchasers by providing sound economic analysis.

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

Criticizing papers in class was a good preparation for thrashing opposing experts’ reports. Rigorous economic thinking and robust statistical analysis are also really useful. Indeed, in contrast to our professors who can be really happy if someone reads their papers, we have to write stuff that undergoes serious scrutiny (and guaranteed opposition) from the opposing experts. Most other stuff I learned at school was not all that important. I met a lot of cool people and had a good time, though. The management, communication and team-working skills, which I honed as Chief of Organization at the TSEconomist, are more useful to me in the job than any class.



Current student: Linh Nguyen

Linh Finance
Linh Nguyen
  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

Currently being in Corporate Finance, and having been from the M1 of TSE last year, it was rather difficult to catch up with tools in corporation valuations and knowledge on financial markets and financial instruments and hedging tools. At the same time, the program is very intensive with several projects to hand in a week and requires a lot of initiative.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

My favourite course is Risk Management, as you are learning about the risks that a company or corporation would encounter on a daily basis. One example is foreign exchange risks (how foreign exchange rates increasing or decreasing could affect a business’s investment decisions and profitability). In the course we learn about real options and the value and pricing of these options and the tools to hedge against the risks that the company would face, which is really interesting as we see how things are and how decisions are taken in real life situations with big companies.


Current student: Thuy Duong

Thuy Duong
  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The most challenging thing when studying the M2 Finance and Information Technology in TSM would be changing my specialisation from Economics to Finance. Despite having chosen two electives related to the field in TSE, there are still a lot of technical terms and knowledge that I am not familiar with. It still is difficult for me to keep up with others who were already in TSM since the M1. But that is something I had expected before making the decision, so it did not bother me that much. Moreover, we have projects and presentations every week. This M2 program in TSM is very demanding and challenging, which requires 100% of your concentration and your effort.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

My favourite course so far is Visual Basic for Application (VBA). This course is very useful and practical since VBA is widely used in the financial industry. After the training, I am able to develop a function that does not exist natively in Excel or even a small applications based on Excel. This course also provides me some solid skills which are often listed as requirements in internship or job offers in finance.

ECL – Economics and Competition Law


Current student: Tristan Salmon

Tristan Salmon


  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The first thing to know is that the semester is very uneven, in that there is not that much work for the first two months but it starts to build up after November. The most tedious aspect is that there are two law exams in January; the law topics are not particularly interesting either. However the economics courses are useful and generally fairly accessible. The most time-consuming part was the competition econometrics project for Céline Bonnet’s class. It involves a lot of coding and trial and error, but is definitely worth it. If you take it I would advise you to start working on it as soon as you can.

We still have four exams in the first term but the second is more oriented towards presentations and/or reports which makes it more interesting to work on.

If you survived the M1 you will be more than equipped to do well in this M2, however it does still require some work.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

My favourite course was Topics and Cases in Competition Policy with Yassine Lefouili. The course materials are well presented and clear, and Yassine is very generous with his time when asked for help. We were also lucky enough to have people such as Jorge Padilla, Cani Fernandez, James Venit and Jean Gabriel Despeyroux coming to talk to us, which provided great insight into the working world that we will shortly join, as well as discussing very useful topics!


Alumni: Manon Portier

Manon Portier
Manon Portier


  1. What are you up now?

I am currently a trainee lawyer at Ecole de Formation des Barreaux (E.F.B.) in Paris. After my graduation in 2016 and an internship at a law firm in Brussels, I passed the bar exam to become a lawyer specialised in competition law.

The Bar school takes place in three steps: a six-month period of lectures related to various subjects (such as management of a law firm or corporate law), and two internships of six months each. I spent my first traineeship in the competition law department of Engie and the second in the competition department of a business law firm, BDGS & associés.

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

The training provided at the TSE gives all the analytical tools required to understand economics and competition mechanisms. During my studies, I acquired an in-depth knowledge in French and European competition law, along with skills in industrial organisation and application of econometric models. From a law firm’s point of view, these two skills appear essential to address a wide range of issues stemming from complex economic situations.

In addition, studying at TSE in English enables you to acquire a technical vocabulary to be operational and to have a wide capacity working with different nationalities. Moreover, after the bar school, I will be able to practice as a lawyer everywhere in the European Union as law firms usually work in English. Furthermore, it is not necessary to emphasise that the TSE helped me to deepen professional qualities like organization, communication, and rigour.

Another added value of TSE that deserves to be highlighted is that the school offers a large panel of extra scholars and complementary activities such as student societies, business talks and conferences, business networking day, etc.


EEE – Econometrics and Empirical Economics


Current student: Seán McKiernan

Seán McKiernan
  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

My background is not technical, so choosing to specialise in Econometrics was always going to be tough. However, for all its faults, the M1 does leave you in a good position to tackle the models introduced in EEE. On the other hand, I spent several grim weekends over the summer tackling appendices of econometric text books. I also made friends with some YouTubers who provide a wealth of easily accessible material for anyone who might be rusty on some of the more fundamental concepts of linear algebra and statistics.

The course is project-intensive, so managing your time can be challenging, so too can getting up to speed on your coding skills. However, with a little effort both are manageable and come with the compensation of less exams and more interesting work. The difficulty of classes varies from the straightforward to what actually cannot be far from rocket science, but overall anyone who has battled through the M1 is more than capable of succeeding in EEE.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

The thing I like most about EEE is how industry-orientated it is. Teachers often present models with the prefix “if your boss asks you about X, use this.” So, although maths remains important, it is only there to give you a rough and ready grasp of what is going on. The object is to train students how to be useful consultants, field econometricians or even data scientists—not theoretical researchers. As a result, classes feel relevant and the techniques learned genuinely useful.

The courses I have enjoyed most are prime examples of this: Learning Python with a data scientist from Deloitte, using machine learning techniques for a project in High Dimensional Data and, more recently, exploring the theory and tools of Big Data. What I found the coolest about these classes is that you actually study, in a rigorous way, the buzz words you hear and read about. TSE’s researchers are also pretty cutting edge in this field, and are genuinely impressive.

Assessments in these classes are mostly project based. That means your coding skills are just as important as your maths skills: If you like coding you will enjoy your courses, if you do not it will be a nightmare.


Alumni: José M. Álvarez

2016-07-12 18.37.45
José M. Álvarez
  1. What are you up to now?

I am a Data Analytics Consultant at Deloitte North West Europe in Brussels, Belgium. I am part of two teams: the Data Science team and the NGIN (Next Generation Infrastructure) Solutions team, with a focus on operational risk. My job consists in building statistical models to predict the future performance of assets—where an asset can be anything from a network of gas pipes to a house-size compressor. Our work allows the client to plan ahead based on data-driven solutions. This is commonly known in the industry as predictive asset management. In my current project, for example, we are working with the sensor data of a hyper compressor that creates plastic. Our goal is to build an anomaly detection model able to detect failures on the compressor at least two-weeks in advance so that the operator can shut down the machine in a controlled setting. The team is doing increasingly more financial risk modelling projects as well. And I am excited with the possibility of studying human behaviour again.

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

I would say the majority of the EEE coursework, as well as the first-year math and econometrics courses. I am the only economist in my team (the rest are a mix of engineers and PhD’s in physics) so statistics is the common language that we use to understand each other. I do not use econometrics per se, but the ‘metrics’ part of it serves as my basis for studying machines. In that sense, Large Dimension Models, Big Data, and Nonparametric Methods have been extremely useful courses. Also important are the programming languages, mainly R and Python. Finally, in the consulting world, good communication skills (like the ones you develop at The TSEconomist) are almost as important as coding and technical skills.


ETE – Economic Theory and Econometrics


Current student: José Alfonso Muñoz Alvarado

José Alfonso Muñoz Alvarado
  1. Which aspects of your chosen program were the most challenging?

The M2 Economic Theory and Econometrics is the first step of the doctorate program and a life of research and teaching. One would have expected that after 15 years of education it is possible to deal with this master, more when one studies things already seen in previous years like Econometrics and Microeconomics. I could not be more wrong. The level of pressure, the intensity of the courses, the rigor of the proofs and answers one must provide made me realise that during the undergrad and M1 one was only receiving a little taste of what economics is about. Add to this the constant changes the master directors are doing to the program, aiming to adapt it to an American system and you will have a master program that will take you to the limit.

  1. Which was your favourite course(s) and why?

It will be surprising to hear someone in ETE talking about one favourite course. For me at least, it will not happen. However, I must say that some professors gave their best teaching and some courses were more interesting than others (or less awful). One example is professor Jérôme Bolte in Optimisation; not only is the class very helpful and useful for any kind of research area one wants to do, but he adjusted his teaching to a level where—even with the heterogeneous background the students had—everyone could understand and follow his class.


Alumni: Fernando Stipanicic

Fernando Stipanicic ETE
Fernando Stipanicic
  1. What are you up to now?

I am a first year PhD student in Toulouse School of Economics. The first year of the doctoral program consists in taking seven specialisation courses along the year and working on a first research idea that will be presented in September or in October of the following academic year.

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

In few words, I have learned three useful things in the M2 Economic Theory and Econometrics. Firstly, the foundations of economic theory that enable me to understand a whole of economic problems and to know how to set up a model that would explain the mechanisms that are at play. Secondly, research skills. During the M2 thesis I had to come up with my own research question and learn the necessary literature and techniques to answer the question. I had an advisor that proved crucial to guide me during the whole process, but the final outcome depends on how hard one works. Thirdly, psychological resistance. The master is tough, there is a lot to learn in a short period of time, but you cannot let the pressure get to you. You should not forget why you are there, put the stress aside and enjoy the way and give your best.



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