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Corporate Connections

Students from l’X trained for job interviews

Four times a year École Polytechnique students and PhD candidates have the opportunity to participate in job interview simulation workshops. These sessions, moderated by École Polytechnique’s partner companies, aim to guide students in their professional projects and to give them a clear vision of the positions represented in companies.

Interview of a student from École Polytechnique during the international Career Fair X-Forum, organised every year on campus

Thursday, February 4th, suit and tie were required. Charles Riou, student in the Ingénieur Polytechnicien Program, participated in his first job simulation workshop. For this interview, Charles chose Société Générale among numerous partners of l’X. The interview took place in a classroom transformed into an office. The student was received by Amélie Fleury, Campus Manager at Société Générale. After a brief introduction, Charles Riou explained his motivation for an internship at Société Générale at the end of the academic year. “I'm interested in mathematics and computing, particularly in the direct impact of these disciplines on finance”, said the student attracted by the finance field since the beginning of his studies at l’X. Charles then had to answer some personal questions. "Knowing more about the candidate's character allows us to guide him to a position suited to his personality," said the Campus manager.

Building a professional project in line with one’s aspirations

“These interview simulations help students to reflect on sectors and occupations that really interest them and that are in line with their appetencies and profiles. The exercise enables students to build their project avoiding professional orientation mistakes”, explained Laurence Redoutez, the initiator of the project, in charge of corporate relations at the Internships, Orientation, Career Counselling and Business Relations Office. “The same exercise is proposed to all students, including PhD candidates,” she added.

A thirty minutes interview was followed by a debriefing. "First impressions are crucial," said Amélie Fleury from Société Générale. Behavior, speech, posture, relevance of answers, all the details are analyzed by the consultant in order to help the student. "You managed to put emphasis on your skills with concrete examples, noted the representative of Société Générale working with Charles. You showed some personality traits, such as discipline, team spirit and leadership that can be valued within our company." The interview continued with a presentation of all positions of the company in connection with the student’s profile. The choices are wide: data scientist, model designer, developer or Inspector-General; all these professions are represented in the company. This presentation is essential for students. "Students have a good knowledge of industrial and business areas, but they do not always have a clear vision of all the positions and opportunities represented in companies," said Laurence Redoutez. Beyond the big companies, l’X strives to develop its partnerships with more diverse structures such as start-ups and SMEs, and representatives from those companies do the interview simulations as well.

Developing one’s network and find an internship

Participation in this workshop allows companies to identify tomorrow’s talents with an extensive multidisciplinary expertise related to their activity and their affiliates. Such interviews also familiarize students with the expectations of the professional world. Moreover, it is an opportunity for them to establish contacts with major groups, and even to receive an internship offer at the end of the interview. Thus, a week after his interview, Charles Riou received good news; he was accepted for a summer internship in trading strategy within Société Générale.