ENSTA Bretagne : expérience aux USA
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Chems-Eddine: from Brest to the US

20 June 2019
Chems-Eddine enrolled at ENSTA Bretagne after completing 2 years of preparatory school in Orléans. During his first 2 years in Brest, he dove into student activities (serving as gala president and providing free tutoring to middle and high school students) while gradually specializing in mechanics. Now he is living in the United States and pursuing a double degree at the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology.
ENSTA Bretagne : portrait de Chems-Eddine
Chems-Eddine
Class of 2019
Student in Diplôme d'ingénieur (i.e MSc in Eng.)

Why did you choose to attend ENSTA Bretagne?  

 

When I left high school, I was very indecisive about my future studies, and I didn’t have a clear idea of the path I wanted to take. Preparatory school (math/physics/engineering science and then math/physics at Pothier lycée in Orléans) confirmed my liking for the sciences, and ENSTA Bretagne quickly became the logical next step.

 

I decided to attend a general engineering school whose graduates have the knowledge and skills they need to tackle technological and scientific challenges in a broad range of industrial and technological sectors.

 

I also chose the school because it offered a gradual specialization in mechanics: the Vehicle Architecture major was the perfect match for my ambitions.
 

ENSTA Bretagne has an international approach thanks to its many academic partners, and that also influenced my choice. I was already thinking about studying abroad, specifically at Georgia Tech.

Lastly, ENSTA Bretagne seemed to be a school that adapts its programs to meet each person’s desires and ambitions as closely as possible, giving students the means to achieve their goals. "Aim High, Sail Far" echoes this approach.

On top of all these positive aspects, you benefit from an excellent student life, a friendly atmosphere and a warm and welcoming city.

 

Can you describe your experiences since your arrival in Brest?

 

To sum up, I enrolled at ENSTA Bretagne in 2016. During my 1st year in the Diplôme d’ingénieur (i.e. MSc in Eng.) program, my subjects included computer science and mathematics, automation and general mechanics. At the end of that year, I did a machine operator internship on the Renault production line in Le Mans.

 

I decided to specialize in mechanics in the 1st semester of 2nd year, and to pursue a Vehicle Architecture major. I finished my 2nd year with an assistant engineer internship at a motor sport research laboratory located abroad.

 

The broad range of student activities at ENSTA Bretagne inspired me to get involved fairly quickly. Along with some sports and music activities, part of my free time in 2nd year was spent organizing the school’s gala as event president. It was an amazing experience because of its scale and complexity! I also participated in a social entrepreneurship initiative that I coordinated in 2nd year, Enactus’ Big Brothers and Sisters project. Such great memories!

 

In 3rd year, I enrolled at Georgia Tech to pursue my double degree at this prestigious American university.  In between the program’s 2 semesters, I did a gap year internship as a Tech and Economy Advisor for the French Consulate General in New York.

En résumé, j’intègre l’ENSTA Bretagne en 2016. Lors de ma première année de formation généraliste, j’étudie entre autres l’informatique et les mathématiques, l’automatique et la mécanique généraliste. Cette année se conclue par un stage opérateur sur les chaînes de production de Renault au Mans.

 

Why did you choose to do your MSc at Georgia Tech? 

There were a ton of reasons for me to do my degree at Georgia Tech.

Firstly, an engineer has to be internationally-minded, which is why ENSTA Bretagne encourages students to do a semester abroad, whether on exchange or through an internship. I decided to fulfill this requirement by going to Georgia Tech.

The school’s engineering training has a worldwide reputation for excellence. It’s one of the top 5 American engineering schools along with MIT, Stanford and Caltech.

By granting me an international degree, this program opens the door to pretty incredible new prospects and also allows me to create my own opportunities.

How does the double degree program work?

#LivingTheDream

The double degree is organized into 2, 3 or 4 semesters: the 1st semester is at Georgia Tech’s European campus in Metz, the 2nd (optional) is an internship, the 3rd takes place in Atlanta on the main campus and the 4th (also optional) is a Master’s thesis in one of the university labs. I decided to do only 3 semesters.

At the school you study alongside students from Centrale, Arts et Métiers and other French schools as well as students from the States, of course, but also from all over the world.

The American educational system is completely different from the French system; the schedule seems much lighter (12 hours of class per week), but you have to spend time on in-depth independent study of your subjects. 

How are you finding life in the US?

In New York, I’m living at the heart of a capital of culture, economy, finance and innovation. There’s a ton of energy that stimulates and fuels people's projects. Next semester, in Atlanta, I’ll be exploring a dynamic city to which many industries are migrating.

Living abroad has really opened up new perspectives and opportunities for me, and allowed me to be in close contact with inspirational people from all sorts of backgrounds.

Could you tell us a bit about your experience at the Consulate General of France in New York?

As an Assistant Tech and Economy Advisor, I have two main assignments:

  • To promote France's image to American businesses and investors, and
  • To help develop French companies (often startups) based in New York.

I help design and implement all Consulate projects promoting France’s scientific and economic assets. I also work on coordinating the Consulate’s strategy for all the development support services it provides to New York-based French companies.

My daily work consists in meeting entrepreneurs, investors and all the players in New York’s "tech ecosystem". Through getting to know and understand this community and its requirements, I can help connect various players in meaningful ways by organizing events (conferences, dinners, networking events, learning expeditions, tours, etc.) or meetings to meet their needs. I design and implement campaigns to give our French companies more visibility on the local New York scene, and I group certain companies under the FrenchTech label.

I was interested in exploring two subjects through this internship: firstly, the field of diplomacy, which has always intrigued me, and secondly, modern challenges around investment, entrepreneurship, international development and negotiation. The experience also opened up new professional opportunities and perspectives for me.

It’s given me a chance to meet impressive and inspirational people, such as entrepreneurs filled with energy and creativity, as well as open-minded and compassionate diplomats. This is an engineer’s dream job: I’m at the heart of innovation.