- Where did you do your internship and what was your role?
I did my M1 internship at Efficacity, a research institute for energy efficiency in urban systems. The institute is located just east of Paris in the Descartes campus, which has been developed with the clear intention of becoming a hub for research on urbanism and sustainability. This means that you have engineering and architecture schools, and all sorts of research institutes – Efficacity, but also the CSTB, or IFFSTAR – operating from the cluster.
The uniting theme being energy efficiency in cities, the institute seeks to bring together expertise from various fields: my colleagues were mostly engineers but also architects, urban designers, economists, geographers, sociologists, and applied mathematicians. I joined the economics team as an intern in the socioeconomic valuation research pole. My main role was to identify best practice methodologies for ex-ante and ex-post valuation of these energy efficiency measures, and to determine whether it was socially desirable, for instance, for a municipality to adopt a specific policy.
- How did your studies at TSE help you during the internship?
In general, the strength one gains from studying at TSE is a solid grounding in economic theory. The M1 courses in public economics and environmental economics both offered me at least an introduction to the principles of cost-benefit analysis, and to its strengths and limitations. The course in environmental economics, in particular, was helpful in getting accustomed to the various methods used to value non-monetary impacts, which was useful when I was asked to quantify, in monetary terms, the health impact resulting from an improvement in trains’ braking system.
In addition to these courses, the Econometrics and Program Evaluation classes were both useful in reading and interpreting all the literature on environmental economics, which was an important first step in any of the analysis we conducted.
- How did you get your internship? What would be your advice for students looking for a similar internship?
I found my internship at TSE’s Business Networking Day: I knew I had an interest in environmental and energy economics, and went to chat with EDF to understand why they had come and what they were looking for. One of them worked with Efficacity (as EDF is a partner of the institute), and passed my CV on to them. After some time, I interviewed with him and two other members of Efficacity, and got the internship.
I would advise other students to focus on their studies but to not forget that it is important to get out there: go to the BND, use your network, and talk to those whose career inspires you. More often than not, people are happy to help!