Students from l’X discovering NYC’s entrepreneurship environment
École Polytechnique and Columbia University are linked through the Alliance program, which facilitates the creation of academic links and research/education synergies. This program encourages both short-term and long-term mobility, thus allowing students to discover easily the other institution. In this case, after having met students from the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE) when they came to l'X in March, École Polytechnique students involved in the Cabinet Start-Up were therefore impatient to see them again, this time in November in New York City.
The aim of the trip was to discover New York City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, while strengthening the partnership between l’X and Columbia University, encouraging cultural exchange between the US and France and supporting new initiatives in favor of entrepreneurship and innovation. Jules Pommies, who had accompanied the students from CORE during most of their activities in France in March, knew that it would be a great and enriching experience: "I have seen how enthusiastic the students from Columbia felt during their week at École Polytechnique and I have enjoyed doing most of the visits with them, which were very interesting. I was very much looking forward to living the same kind of experience in NYC, all while improving my English!"
The schedule of the twelve students from École Polytechnique during those few days in the US was very busy. With the help of Alliance, CORE students had organized several activities for them, including: a visit of the Lab, Columbia's co-working facility located at WeWork Soho West; a tour of the offices of the Columbia Spectator, Columbia University's daily student newspaper; an Ignite week-end with conferences, talks, meetings and a pitch session involving student organizations dedicated to entrepreneurship from other American universities such as Harvard or Yale; visits of Harlem Biospace, a biotech incubator, Google, Youtube and Bloomberg.
On top of this, the Cabinet Start-Up had planned several activities as well: the students from l'X thus had the chance to discover Palantir Technologies; they met with Ludovic Huraux, a French entrepreneur based in NYC who founded Attractive World and more recently Shapr, with Benedicte de Montlaur, the Cultural Attaché from the French Consulate and with Alessia Lefebure, the Director of the Alliance; they visited Spark Labs, a flexible workspace providing support to startups and growing businesses in the tech and media industries. During the free time they had left, the students enjoyed touring NYC of course, but they also seized this opportunity to meet some faculty from Columbia University as well as New York University to question them on their research and their lab, gathering information on the possibilities to do a research internship, an academic year or a PhD in the US. Vincent Boutier, one of the students from the trip, will thus be starting an internship in March at NYU's Center for Neural Science, where he considers doing a PhD afterwards.
Etienne Dejoie, former President of the Cabinet Start-Up, hopes that this exchange between students from organizations dedicated to entrepreneurship will continue in the coming years. With the financial support of the Alliance program, Etienne considers that this 10-day trip was affordable for all students. He also regards this experience as an opportunity to reinforce École Polytechnique's links not only with Columbia, but with NYC’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in general. French expertise in science, technology and engineering is very appreciated over there according to Etienne, who noted that "probably half of Bloomberg Data Sciences Group's R&D staff are French, most of them being Alumni from l'X", but he believes that École Polytechnique's unique model should be even more promoted in the US, and first by the students and Alumni themselves.