Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Bhavna Choudhury and I’m from Assam, India. It’s the little piece of land that is surrounded by five countries: China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Fun fact: it is an area with one of the largest concentrations of indigenous populations in the world. At L’X I studied Economics, Data Analytics and Corporate Finance and France is the fourth country I’ve lived in over 8 years. Currently, I work as an International Marketing Manager at Sereema in Montpellier, France.
Could you please tell us more about your current position?
Sereema is an industry leader in the wind industry for operations optimization. The company is a startup that has created an Industrial IoT to detect and correct issues with wind turbines. In a time when energy transition is at the heart of international ambition; I was excited to be a part of the renewable energy industry after graduation.
My main tasks involve product marketing through creation of technical use cases and white papers of the technology, digital marketing advertising campaigns, search engine optimization and web design of the website. Being a part of a small company allows me to have my fingers in many pots, especially working collaboratively and managing several teams. Even though I had studied Economics and Finance at Ecole Polytechnique, as a personality type: I’ve always enjoyed bringing technology and people together and that’s what I do for the most part at Sereema.
Was it easy for you to find a job once graduated?
Ecole Polytechnique is recognized in France, as well as in the world, to be an elite school that gathers the ‘academic créme de la créme’ of European society. Getting a masters degree here was like having an invitation to the Met Gala of the job market. I had access to an alumni base with reach in almost every industry. Whether it was through in class interactions with industry professionals or through reaching out to the L’X community, being a part of this university has certainly been a large factor for finding a job successfully.
While looking for a job in France without speaking fluent French was a major backdraw, I found that the French labor market was more open than some other countries. I did my undergraduate degree from the United States and even comparatively, finding a job here was a much more welcoming experience because you are not restricted to your scope of study or tied to your employer. For future students planning to come to France for a master’s degree, I have one piece of advice. Learn French! You will need it!
What skills gained during your MSc&T have you been using in your current position?
The EDACF Program is a combination of three different fields: Economics, Data Analytics and Corporate Finance. I’ve been able to use the mentality of being able to learn anything in my work: whether it was to build websites, or analyzing mega datasets, or do financial forecasting. The program took us through various subjects: we had to create an imaginary startup and pitch in front of real investors. I also had a class on the financial evaluation of startups with the founder of Elaia. Today, I work at a company that has Elaia as a major stakeholder. Analyzing data and trends is what I do on a regular basis today, and working at a fast paced startup has a similar culture to that of Polytechnique: of creativity, of invention and of cross-sector collaboration.
What do you like in your work?
I found a job in an international startup that represents 7 nationalities and 6 languages. My previous work experience was with the United Nations, which represents over 180 countries and being in a
multicultural environment had been second nature to me. So I was really glad to find that in the private sector in France.
The work itself is constantly challenging me to learn new things; especially since marketing in the 21st century is like trying to keep up with a thoroughbred horse. Recently, I was also put in charge of doing a Carbon Footprint evaluation of the company and it’s this type of opportunity one doesn’t get in a big company… the ability to do things that are not necessarily in your job description.
What memories do you have of your time spent at l’X and in your MSc&T?
Several memories come to my mind:
- The first week at L’X when we had a day long business simulation game: we collaborated and competed in teams to manage the financial performance of a company. That was really fun, especially since my team won.
- Having lunch one table away from the Nobel Prize Winner Gérard Mourou at le Magnan, casually being surrounded by some of the most accomplished people in the world.
- Bal de L’X at Château de Versailles was extraordinary; it made me feel like I was transported back to a different time.
What are your ambitious for the future?
So far, I’ve lived my life as a curious person with many interests, but mostly with the goal to have an impact through the work that I do. In the immediate term, my ambition is to continue learning and eventually to be an entrepreneur.
In my free time, I also run an NGO that is creating a space for indigenous people on the internet to express our cultures, art and literature. The knowledge sharing project is called The Indegenous and so far we’ve created a dataset of over 150 tribal groups from the region where I grew up: North East India. The dataset is compiled 100% by indigenous researchers.
Over the long run, I hope that The Indegenous grows to become an international organisation that hands over the microphone to indigenous peoples. The aim is to recover and translate knowledge that has been lost due to homogenisation of cultures through a globalized hegemony. For example: there are over 5000 languages that indigenous peoples speak and if we don’t document them or translate them, they are going to become extinct as more children go to university and speak English as their primary language.