Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Shayan Khan and I am a second-year student in the Internet of Things: Innovation and Management Master’s program. I was raised in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where I lived for 16 years. Upon leaving the UAE, I moved to Paris, France, to complete my high school education (2 years) and pursued my bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University (TTU) in the United States (4 years).
What was your background before coming to l'X?
Coming from a family of engineers, I was drawn to the creativeness of design and analytical thinking that comes along with engineering. The choice of pursuing Electrical Engineering came primarily from my interest in the topic from the physics courses I had taken during high school, as well as from my uncle, who showed me the endless possibilities that an Electrical Engineer possesses upon integrating their skills into almost any industry. As the Dean of Electrical Engineering at TTU once told me "An Electrical Engineer is the brain of a system. Without one, you would have parts with no purpose".
How is your life in France so far?
I have had the privilege of living in France before commencing my Master’s program at École Polytechnique. In 2012, I had moved from Dubai, UAE to pursue my International Baccalaureate (IB). Living in France is an experience that you won’t find anywhere else. It gives a new and vibrant meaning to life while also contributing to your personal and professional growth! As my father has been working for Crédit Agricole for the past 22 years, I was able to interact with many of his colleagues, as a result of which I began learning French at an early age and was able to blend rather quickly in the French society after my arrival.
École Polytechnique, on the other hand, has become a beacon of diversification among the French institutions and provides international students with ample support upon their arrival to ensure that they are able to hit the ground running and manage their stay in France with ease.
Why did you choose to study at École Polytechnique?
École Polytechnique is considered the ''crème de la crème" among the French institutions. To be a part of it means to be one step closer to a highly successful career. While applying, I was aware of the tremendously competitive selection process but I knew that being associated with this institution would positively impact my future plans and provide me with the essential tools to seek employment in any industry.
Furthermore, École Polytechnique, at the time, was the only university offering programs linked to revolutionary technologies (Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, etc.) and current issues (environmental, economics, privacy and security, etc.). Therefore, it was important to develop new skills within these pioneering topic areas to set myself apart from others in the workforce.
In your opinion, what are the main benefits of the IoT Master’s program?
Our program director, Thomas Clausen, likes to use the word "versatile" to describe the program. I believe that the IoT-IM covers such a diverse range of topics during the two years. The topics deliver on the "innovation movement" that is taking over every industry such as connected objects, networking, innovation management, cybersecurity, and much more! Companies in France and around the world are looking for talent, people who are able to innovate and contribute to the business and digital transformations. With the IoT-IM program, you are sure to enhance your skill set and open up new opportunities whether you choose to pursue a career within an organization or if you hold entrepreneurial spirit, to build your own start-up!
What do you think of the program structure?
The program structure is designed to first give you the basics on Internet of Things such as the fundamentals of the internet (architecture, connectivity, etc.) and the comprehension of innovation strategies (business models in a digital era, disruptive innovation, etc.), as well as the application of IoT fundamentals and the entrepreneurial tools required to transform your own ideas into reality. In addition, IoT-IM provides students with flexibility on their topics of interest. In the second year, students have the option of crossing over to other programs and selecting courses in AI, Cybersecurity, and Economics, among others.
For example, in the first semester of my second year, I chose a course offered in the Economics, Data Analytics, and Corporate Finance program to learn more about the fundamentals of creating a start-up from an economics standpoint.
Could you please tell us more about your promotion, classmates?
The promotion is rather small, consisting of only 7 students per year, but I believe, this plays strongly to our advantage. With a small group, we were able to engage with the professors easily and more frequently, and to learn more efficiently than we would have in a bigger classroom setting. Students admitted to the IoT-IM program come from diverse backgrounds from a wide variety of countries, such as Germany, Turkey, China, and Italy, to name a few. This type of diversity enabled us to share personal and professional experiences to create a positive learning environment.
Do you have any favourite subject(s)?
Personally, I enjoyed the application-based courses such as the "IoT Workshop" where I had the chance to build connected systems and apply what I had learned in theoretical courses. In addition, the innovation management-related courses provided a solid support to the technical aspects, allowing me to learn the intricacies involved in business and digital transformations.
Where did you do your internship last year? Any idea for this year?
Last year, I had the chance to carry out my internship at Danone, which is a major player in the consumer product industry. The internship corresponded to innovation project management, finding solutions to accelerate innovation and using user-centric approaches to enhance customer experience.
This year, I wanted to gain experience in the consulting area as I believe that it provides you with a wholesome and challenging environment with the room to grow your career rapidly in a short period of time. I am currently at Wavestone working as an IT & Data Architecture consultant finding solutions to transform the M&A process and working with clients to assist them with their digital and business transformation needs.
What would you like to do after your Master’s degree?
Based on the experiences I’ve had, I would like to continue in the field of consulting as it gives me a chance to work with a variety of clients from diverse industries in a demanding and challenging environment, as well as utilize my technical background to provide recommendations on usage of new technologies.
Any advice for future applicants of the IoT Master’s program?
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and are interested in learning about innovative and exciting technologies, and capturing the value on their usage, then this is the program for you! Within the two years of the program, you will significantly enhance your skill set making your potential contribution to any industry much more attractive. With this program and École Polytechnique's strong reputation, you'll be able to grasp any and all opportunities to advance your careers! Wish you all the best of luck!