Could you please introduce yourself?
I am Maria Cano, a former BX2021 student. I was a major in Mathematics and Economics and completed the minor of Computational Mathematics.  

What program are you currently studying and in what institution?
I am currently a student at l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in the Economics department. In this institution I will be doing my master’s degree (and maybe PhD, who knows!) in Public Policy and Development.

What made you choose this university/program?
While I was pursuing my Bachelor degree, and in particular during my thesis, I got to discover the fascinating world of economic research, in particular economics of education and development. Therefore, in order to deepen my research interests and continue studying in this path I applied to l’ENS. It is a very well known research university in France and the economics department is associated to PSE, an institution that fosters the interests of present and future economists both in theoretical and applied fields.

What skills/knowledge gained during the Bachelor of Science have you been using in your current program?
Academically speaking, I am very grateful for my Mathematical background. It is clearly beneficial when pursuing graduate level economics courses. The analytical thinking and computational tools that I acquired at the Bachelor have clearly smoothed my transition to l’ENS. Moreover, the Economic major offers a quite complete curriculum that greatly covers most modern economic theory, therefore most courses this year are somewhat a followup from the last year of the Bachelor.
Furthermore, l’ENS is a “Grande Ecole” and, just as Ecole Polytechnique, it has a very rich extracurricular life. The Bachelor taught me how to balance between a demanding academic curriculum and a dynamic student life.

When you entered the Bachelor of Science, did you already know what you wanted to do after the program?
Not at all! Actually, when I entered the Bachelor I wanted to major in Physics with a minor in Chemistry! Many things have changed since then… I am very grateful for the interdisciplinary syllabus of the first year that allowed me to discover Economics (a discipline that I had never encountered before) and find my passion!

What memories do you have of your time spent at l'X and in the Bachelor program?
The memories we made and still make at the Bachelor are endless. The demanding academic expectations build a unique sense of community among students, classmates become family with which you struggle but also thrive. I cherish dearly my memories at the Bachelor both in class and outside. I will never forget my time as a member of the L’Ore nor the long runs near the lake, but I think what I will always remember is the feeling of being surrounded by unique people that give the best version of themselves everyday.

What are your ambitions for the future?
In an abstract way, I like to think that I will be able to continue finding a meaning to a what I do. I hope that I will be able to find in economic research a way to help others and to transmit through my work the values that shape me as a person. In order to get there I keep giving my entire energy to both my studies and my life outside of class through internships in labs focused on reducing inequalities in education at early childhood. I hope that I will find my professional way in the world of economic research and in particular economics of education as a way of internalizing the non-monetarized labor of mothers.

Any piece of advice to current Bachelor students when deciding about the pursuit of their studies?
I think the best advice anyone could have given me during my last year of the Bachelor is to believe in myself. The last months at l’Ecole Polytechnique can be somewhat hard if you are preparing for a “concours” or waiting for an answer from a university, it feels as if your entire world depended on a single email. In those moments I think it’s useful to take a step back and remember to enjoy the last few moments living amongst your friends and in the Bachelor community.