Ecole Polytechnique has its reputation as the best and the most prestigious Engineering School

Etudes, France
Junzhe WANG, France

Junzhe, what is your current job ? Investment Manager, ARDIAN

Which school did you study in ? Ecole Polytechnique

Can you introduce yourself and explain briefly your studies and your experience? I was born in China, and went to Singapore for undergraduate studies in 2004. At the second year of my university life, I was selected to be part of the French Double Degree Program between NUS (National University of Singapore) and one of the Grandes Ecoles in France. After intensive training of mathematics and physics courses, I was lucky to be enrolled in Ecole Polytechnique in 2007. I spent two and half years in France, before I returned to Singapore for my last year of Master studies (also to fulfill the fourth year requirement of Diplôme d'Ingénieur). I am now working at the Beijing office of ARDIAN (formerly known as AXA Private Equity), a French firm headquartered in Paris.

Why have you been to France to study ? I was attracted to France for a very simple reason: the language! After watching a French movie - "Paris, je t'aime", I said to myself that I must learn this beautiful and romantic language. However, French course is one of the most popular courses in my university, and I cannot register myself for French learning, unless I am enrolled into one of the French programs (either the six-month Exchange Student Program, or the two-year French Double Degree Program). That is how I made up my mind to start my adventures in France.

Can you describe your stay in France? Ecole Polytehcnique is in the south of Paris (RER B, Lozère), and that is where I spent most of my time in France. I stayed on the campus, and the accommodations provided school are of very high quality. At Ecole Polytechnique, each of the students has one sport preference, and our accommodations are arranged by our chosen sports (i.e. students with the same sport choice are staying on the same floor). I made my choice of "Cours d'Orientation", together alongside another 15 - 20 students with all different nationalities. We became very close friends, because we spent a lot of time together: doing sports, sharing dinners, discussing homework, travelling abroad, etc. 

Can you tell us if studying in France helped you in your career ? During the time when I was looking for an internship, Ecole Polytechnique is not only a "Green Pass" for many job interviews, but also provides me a strong alumni network with insightful information for me to make the best choice. I am now working in a French firm, and my school is very well recognized and appreciated by my French employer. This is my first internship, as well as my first full-time job (for more than four years). My French experience is definitely helpful for me to communicate efficiently with my colleagues, and it also adds value to my career as a foreigner working at overseas branch but sharing the same French culture. 

What have been the main challenges you had to face in France? How did you manage to face them? What are the main positive impacts in this experience? The biggest challenge is also the language. Although we had several intensive French language immersion programs at Grenoble and Villeneuve Sur Lot (a small city near Bordeaux), to have all the mathematics, physics, biology courses in French is still challenging to all the international students. I believe the best way to tackle this difficulty is to spend time with our French friends, from whom we can learn many French slangs as well as local culture and traditions

What about you school and the quality of the program? Ecole Polytechnique has its reputation as the best and the most prestigious Engineering School among the French population, and it is renowned for its "Ingenieur Polytechnicien" degree in science and engineering. Among its alumni, there are three Nobel Prize winners and three President of France. During the four years studies, it offers a very diversified program at the students' choice. I studied in "Quantitative Economics and Finance", which is a co-program organized by both Ecole Polytechnique and HEC. Through the courses, I learned not only solid mathematics skills, but also creative and entrepreneurial business thinking, which are both critical for my future career developments.

Do you have an advice for students who want to study in France? To study knowledge is important; however, to embrace the culture and to enrich life experience is more valuable to all the students who want to study in France.

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