Could you please introduce yourself ?
My name is Magda Schyberg and I am French and Swedish. I lived in Bangkok for 12 years and completed the French Baccalaureate at the French International School of Bangkok (LFIB). I am currently nearing the end of my first year in the Bachelor at École Polytechnique and next year I will be pursuing the Mathematics and Economics double major, with the computer science minor.
Why did you choose the Bachelor of Science of Ecole Polytechnique ?
In highschool, I developed a strong affinity for mathematics, while also finding interest in physics and computer science. I wasn’t sure of the field I wanted to specialise in and just knew it would be scientific. Therefore, this program was the perfect fit for me: it gave me a chance to explore a variety of subjects I liked at a deeper level before choosing. Moreover, the international environment and the prestige of École Polytechnique also influenced my decision to come here.
Could you tell us how the first year is going ?
I am very happy with my first year. It has been challenging due to the workload that is significantly heavier than in highschool. However, I also feel very fulfilled as I am learning a lot and meeting remarkable people. I also enjoy the activities available for students on campus. There is always an event organised by a committee or the l’Ore (student organisation) which brings people together. For example, after a long day of work, it is nice to attend a barbecue, or compete in a foosball tournament.
Do you have a favourite course?
My favourite course this year was the Linear Algebra course we had in our first semester. During our first lecture, the professor started writing with his chalk on the board and defined elegantly the concept “vector space”. I was really amazed because we were looking at mathematics in a completely different way than in high school. Throughout this course we studied vector spaces, linear maps, and determinants. I particularly liked when the professor defined the concept of determinant using a linear map and permutations. I had previously learnt a formula to calculate the determinant of a 2x2 matrix, but this course introduced us to one that can be used for all types of matrices.
What would be a great memory of your first year in the Program that you would like to share with future students?
I have so many great memories from my first year: the “Bal de l’X”, campaign week, Bachelor giving, the integration trip in Vichy. One of the highlights of my year occurred during the revision week in January. The day started out as usual, everybody was studying for the final exams that were approaching. In the end of the afternoon it started snowing quite a lot, and a lot of students came out of the buildings and library, to do a snowball fight, and we started building snowmans. It was magical to see everybody take a break from studying to spend some fun time together.
What are your ambitions for the future?
After the bachelor degree, I intend on pursuing my studies with a masters degree, maybe in the UK, the US or Canada. I am particularly interested in Mathematics and I am open to different opportunities.
Any piece of advice to future Bachelor students that you would like to share?
The Bachelor Program and the school has many student-run committees. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this and join some of them. You can also create your very own committee and recruit interested students. This year, a friend and I created our own committee, which consists in organising a yearly TEDxÉcole Polytechnique conference. We learned a lot of valuable skills including how to find speakers, sponsors, and communicate with the school. We met fascinating individuals from diverse fields who spoke at our conference.
Make the most of your time at École Polytechnique and don’t hesitate to initiate projects!