Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Amine Abdeljaoued, and I am Tunisian and French. I graduated from École polytechnique Bachelor’s of Science in 2021 with the Mathematics & Computer Science double major and a minor in Biology. I am currently studying a MS in Computational Biology and Quantitative Genetics at Harvard University.
What made you choose this university/program?
At École polytechnique, I studied independently both Mathematics/Computer Science and Biology. Towards the end of my degree, given what I had learnt, I had enough hindsight to understand how computational science could revolutionize Biology and how it could have a real impact on the health sector. This is why I decided to study Computational Biology.
I chose this program at Harvard for two main reasons:
Firstly, for its academic structure. It is a two years long program, with the equivalent of one semester of required courses that are very multidisciplinary (Bioinformatics & Genomics, Epidemiology...), giving us a broad understanding of the field.
We are then free to choose our classes within the different Schools at Harvard and at MIT. I plan on using this flexibility to particularly develop my knowledge in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. Finally, there is a Master thesis to be conducted part-time during the last semester.
Secondly, for Harvard and its location. The program is offered by Harvard’s department of Biostatistics, which is one of the most renowned in the field. It is located in Boston, which is often referred to as the “medical capital of the world”, given all the research institutions and health-related companies/startups.
What skills/knowledge gained during the Bachelor of Science have you been using in your current program?
Generally speaking, the Bachelor of Science is very intense and it teaches you how to be efficient and productive to manage a heavy workload. You learn how to work under pressure and how to manage several multidisciplinary courses. This is a skill that I believe will be useful my whole life, and that I use currently every day.
More specifically, the very rigorous training in Mathematics and Computer Science gave me the foundations to take almost any graduate level Applied Mathematics or Computer Science class.
Having taken a minor in Biology also allowed me to quickly understand the applications and their subtleties. Finally, the Bachelor, through the Thesis and the research that many students do during summer, gives you good research skills that are useful for independent work, projects and theses.
When you entered the Bachelor of Science, did you already know what you wanted to do after the program?
When I entered the program, I only knew one thing: I like Mathematics and I want to see what I can do with it. The Bachelor of Science is excellent in showing you the array of scientific subjects that stem from Mathematics, while still allowing you to specialize in one of the three double majors.
What memories do you have of your time spent at l'X and in the Bachelor program?
I have very good memories of my time at l’X and in the Bachelor program. The workload was intense but scientifically very stimulating. I had amazing courses and professors. I also enjoyed life on campus, living in the same building allows you to become close to your cohort and I made friends that I will keep for life.
The campus also has a lot of sports facilities and different associations. The latter are amazing to meet new people and develop non-academic interests.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I still don’t know whether I’d like to join an industry/startup, try to develop my own project or do a PhD after my Master’s. What I know is that I hope to have both a scientifically stimulating future and a lasting impact on the health sector.
Any piece of advice to current Bachelor students when deciding about the pursuit of their studies?
Take time to really explore the different options. Start in advance by asking your professors about their areas of research, by browsing through the different labs’ websites at l’X. When you start to select a few areas of interest, don’t hesitate to contact us (former students) to ask more specific questions. With the Bachelor of Science from École polytechnique, you have a very competitive profile to get admitted anywhere in the world.
Start early to choose your dream option and prepare accordingly.