Diane Collier (STU 2018), Consultant “Uses and digital services” at Tactis
Can you remind us briefly of your career?
After the baccalaureate, I did two years of preparation of Letters and Social Sciences in Marseille. I enjoyed the sociology but did not want to move towards a course too socio or eco. So, I went to the IEP Bordeaux, where I had the opportunity to do a field study on a neighborhood association and a memoir on an eco-district. It is with this interest for the city that I headed for the STU master at Sciences Po Paris.
How did you find your graduation internship?
All domains interested me. I was a little hesitant and saw an ad on In Situ (published by a graduate GLM master student). The Tactis firm aroused my attention because I really liked the M2 course on digital innovations: working on the digital domain allowed to maintain a certain transversality, to see many subjects, everything being confronted with the rigor of the cabinet of advice.
What was your mission at Tactis?
I often worked in partnership with a project manager. The mission was to support local authorities in building their digital strategies. Local authorities (Regions, Departments, Metropolises …) have the possibility of setting up schemes in the digital world and call on consulting firms for the roadmap. For example, I worked for the New Aquitaine Region for SCORAN (Regional Coherence Strategy for Digital Development). This is an obligation for the regions, with a co-piloting of the state. The consulting firms provide assistance to the project management: they set up, according to the needs of the client, a methodology always adapted from a diagnosis of the territory and sometimes interviews of the consultation workshops … Sometimes some missions are to move to a more operational phase where projects are put in place.
I still work at Tactis, but with a greater diversity of territories, such as Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Haute-Garonne, or Essonne. I also have the opportunity to work on other types of mission: for example, for the Société du Grand Paris (SGP) where they help to implement the implementation of a connected metro (4G, fiber optic, Wireless, …). A pre-information notice to potentially interested operators was issued at the end of the summer and the firm is looking into the answers, the directions that SGP will choose, etc. It is a typical mission of the council, one could say, where one must analyze, synthesize and reform the choices made by the customer.
What are your perspectives?
I do not project beyond two, three years … I want to build skills and multiply the experiences!
What do you like in your job?
Everything! Or rather, what I like least is to be often behind the screen. But there is also travel, it requires a good knowledge of the territory and is in direct contact with local authorities. We must understand the specificities of the territories! I would say that the lack of consulting firms, but I speak of course only from my point of view, is the sinusoidal rhythm: there are sometimes unexpected orders, rushes … We must learn on a daily basis management, the communication in the team. But when you finish a mission, it’s rewarding, but only if the customer is satisfied!
What elements of Sciences Po’s teaching do you remember?
The transversality, we touch all the subjects, and we have a point of view that also includes sociology, in relation to the dynamics of the territories. We know what we mean when we mean “local authorities” or “public policy”. The specialization is learned on the job.
What are the qualities to be a consultant?
Empathy: understanding the customer is the interface, communication. Rigor: you must know what you write and why you write it, have a taste for work well done.
What advice would you give to students of the Urban School?
We must not be afraid of the professional environment, nor afraid of making mistakes and reorienting ourselves. If possible, you need to find a welcoming structure that sets a good framework for your first internship.And as long as you are at Sciences Po, go deeper into certain subjects, go beyond the theoretical, read the press, news books, etc. For example, I would like to read Ian Brossat’s book, AirBnB, the Uberized City, which provides elements to understand the dynamics of the territories and a point of view (whether we share it or not) about how to make the city.
Interviewed by Soisic Ollion, 29.10.2018