May 30, 2017

McCourt School and HEC Paris MPP-MiM Dual Degree Program: Interview with Beatrice Leydier

Beatrice Leydier (G’16) of Toulouse, France, earned a dual degree in the McCourt School–HEC Paris MPP-MiM Dual Degree Program in December 2016.

McCourt School and HEC Paris MPP-MiM Dual Degree Program: Interview with Beatrice Leydier

Participating in the program was a transformative experience for Leydier, preparing her for a job market in which policy professionals frequently have careers that shift across employers, sectors, and international borders. Approaching the conclusion of her stay in the United States, Leydier reflected on her experience and explained what the two degrees will enable her to do in the future.

An Integrated International Experience

Established in 2014, the dual degree program gives students from the HEC Paris School of Management the opportunity to enroll at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown. Students complete two years of study, one at each institution, earning both Georgetown's Masters in Public Policy (MPP) and the HEC Paris Masters in Management-Grande Ecole (MiM). The dual MPP-MiM program gives students an interdisciplinary skill set, an international academic experience, and an integrated experience in both European and North American political infrastructures.

For Leydier, the dual training in private and public sector analytical and management skills was particularly attractive when she chose to pursue the program. She first joined the MiM program at HEC Paris as a means of diving into the private sector to enhance public good. When she realized that the one degree would not be sufficient to enable her to master how one can harness resources and manage interactions between the private, nonprofit, and public sectors, an MPP from the McCourt School, along with her MiM, proved to be the perfect combination.

“I really wanted some international exposure,” she said of her decision. “The dual degree opportunity offered great international experience that would allow me to enter the public, private, or policy sectors combined with lessons on how to get the private actors to participate with the public good.” For Leydier, it proved to be just the exposure she was looking for.

The Unique Experience of Washington, D.C.

Among other universities with whom HEC Paris offers dual degree opportunities, Leydier believes that Georgetown was the best decision. The opportunity to live and work in D.C. while pursuing a Master in Public Policy at a world-class institution is a unique aspect of the partnership between the two universities. Being in D.C. has opened many doors for Leydier.

“I thought originally I was just coming for a dual degree,” she reflected. “And yet, here I am working. I don’t want to go home yet! There is a dynamic that catches you. You’re in a circle of so many people doing so many things in international development and in politics.”

Leydier’s passion gave way to the work she currently does while living in the United States as an international student. Working with gui2de, Georgetown’s Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation, Leydier has facilitated global development research projects for coffee farmers in the developing world. Through this work, Leydier and her colleagues brought the concept of mobile money and financial access to developing communities, something she says she would not have been doing had she not come to Georgetown.

Leydier was also introduced to the World Bank as a result of her participation in the program, giving her exposure to the politics of international economics. While Leydier does not believe that she will pursue a political career in the near future, she thinks that one day her passion coupled with her degrees will make her a powerful and well-prepared political leader.

Leydier notes that a political career “has always been on my mind and I would love to do it. And I don’t see it as contradicting having another job, either before or at the same time,” making it clear that any political pursuits could work in conjunction with other personal and professional endeavors.

Life as an International Student at Georgetown

When asked what has been the most meaningful aspect of her time at Georgetown, Leydier did not hesitate to say, “The people; between the professors and the students, the people here are fantastic.” Given that many professors at the McCourt School are practitioners within the public and/or private sectors in and around Washington, D.C., Leydier and her fellow classmates in the MPP program learn from exceptional professionals. “All of the core professors at McCourt are brilliant,” she expressed. “They are very good in their fields of study and also very good at teaching what they love.”

Thinking of the classmates she met, Leydier appreciated just how international the Georgetown student body truly is. “There are so many people from so many different backgrounds with experiences that are really [unique].” The student body added to the educational experience in such a way that the academic experience was enhanced. “I really learned a lot from my classmates,” she says. “They have been the biggest highlight of my time here.”