Maryam Kadkhodaei is an alumna of the MSc&T Energy Environment: Science Technology and Management from École Polytechnique.

Today, she is a PhD student at CNRS - The French National Center for Scientific Research.

In this interview, Maryam talks about her experience at École Polytechnique, explains her career plan and gives you some advice.

Mryam Kadkhodaei

Who are you?
My name is Maryam Kadkhodaei, I am from Iran and I am following a PhD at LMDand CIRED – labs from the CNRS.
Before being able to follow a PhD, I graduated from a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engenireeng. After that, I followed a Master’s degree in Robotics and Control at the University of Tehran in Iran.

And I joined Ecole Polytechnique for the second year of the program in the MSc&T Energy Environment: Science Technology and Management

Why did you choose Ecole Polytechnique to follow the second year of your Master’s degree?
I wanted to redirect my studies and work on a more dynamic field with a greater impact on our society.
I heard about the reputation, high-level teaching and the very good outlets of graduates from Ecole Polytechnique and I thought the STEEM program was the perfect fit for me and my projects!

What are your memories from that year?
I have many memories at Ecole Polytechnique but I was pleasently surprised by several aspects:
-    The campus: it really is a small village with everything you need and even more
-    The military environment: sport sessions are mendatory  and it is a hudge opportunity to learn a lot about yourself
-    The prestigious teachers: one of my teachers won a Nobel Prize and I was proud to be able to learn from that person
-    The presence of the staff: I did not have to worry about the visa process or searching for a place to live. Everything was handled very well and I don’t think that this is the case in a lot of schools!

What skills did you gain during your year at Ecole Polytechnique?
To me it was a very productive year! I am using everything that I have learned during that year.
Besides the technical skills, I learned a lot of important soft skills that will follow me my whole life: how to make connections, how to network and how to introduce myslef in front of an audiance for instance.

Why did you choose to pursue your studies with a PhD?
I have always been uncertain about following a PhD. I liked research a lot but I was also very interested in joining the work industry and get a new experience.
Internsips helped me a lot in my orientation. I did my first internship as a researcher at Schneider Electric and enjoyed it. When I had the opportunity to do a second internship, I decided to do it in a compagny and the experience did not fulfill me at all – which is why I decided to pursue my studies with a PhD.

What is your PhD about?
My PhD is about modeling electricity and energy system.
Prior my arrival, several models were developed by CIRED researchers (EOLES) and my goal is to continue the different research questions related to energy and climate using this model.

What do you like the most about it?
I really like the fact that this field is very dynamic and allows me to work on one of the most important issues of our society: CO2 emissions and energy transition.

It is very satisfying to know that at the end of the day, I have helped solving important and impacting issues.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I don’t know where exactely I will be in 5 years but what I know for sure is that I will either work in research or in R&D, either in a big company or in a reserach lab. I enjoy too much the challenge of it to do something else!

What advice would you give to future students?
Make the most of your time!
Learn as much as you can, raise your connections and professional network and remember that the name of the school reminds people of your high-level training but that you need other skills to perform!