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Discover how Jing Wang, student at Wuhan University, managed to be admitted in a ParisTech school

Jing Wang, 20 years old, student in environmental engineering at Wuhan University, was admitted within the ParisTech International Admission Program. She will begin in September 2020 in the second year at MINES ParisTech. She didn't speak French before application.

 

APPLICATION TO PARISTECH 9+9 ADMISSION PROGRAM

- How did you learn about the Paris 9+9 admission program?
I learned about this program from a link shared into the message notification group of my class. It was an announcement made by the International Exchange Department of my university, about a short introduction to the ParisTech 9+9 admission program and that the admission of 2020 had started. And it offered the official website of this program.

- Why do you want to study in France?
First of all, it’s because of my 3-month internship in Montréal, Canada last summer. Though not exactly the same, the lifestyle there, the architecture style, the food still have a French feel. I really like them and want to explore the French ones. Also, the frequent hanging out with my 2 French friends, who were also interns as me, and our conversation on culture, education, politic, etc., not only strengthened my desire above but also aroused my interest in French education, about how it shapes one’s opinion and way of thinking differently. I know clearly, I want to experience once.

- Did you know about ParisTech schools before applying?
No

- How did you find information about ParisTech schools?
I first knew about ParisTech schools from the link mentioned above, and then I reached the official website of ParisTech. I looked into each school thoroughly through their own websites, on their training objects and programs, industrial connections, alumni and other points important for me. Also, I used Quora get the opinions of former students in ParisTech on their study life there, and watched YouTube videos to have a direct look inside and around the school. After that, I followed their social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn to keep myself updated on the latest news.

- Why did you choose to apply to a particular ParisTech? What do you want to study at this school?
I think all ParisTech schools have a wide and close connections with industrial sector (with 100 major industrial partners), which is certainly their advantage. And their training program requires 2 internships for graduation, a special requirement different from many other universities. This will urge me to exercise my industrial or enterprise-related skills, compensating my lack of interactions with enterprises (since I have focused on laboratorial research almost all the time). Besides these advantages cited above, MINES ParisTech (the one I applied for and I’m admitted into) particularly has a training object of “general engineer”, which suits my need perfectly. This object allows to develop my cross-curriculum interest well, always providing chances to try and learn something that is new to my field. Moreover, MINES give us the most freedom to decide what to learn, and respect our choices. Overall, ParisTech offers a great and practical platform if you want to have a try in industrial sector.For now, I’m still interested in my major (called Procédés et Energie at MINES) but I’m also considering other options, making best of the freedom provided by MINES.

- What do you hope to gain from studying at a ParisTech school? How do you perceive the difference between a master degree in China and an engineering degree in France?

In addition to professional knowledge, I also hope to gain a better command of social sciences, to know more clearly how an enterprise runs, and obtain skills practical for industrial sector. Moreover, I hope to have a closer look into this country, this nation, about their culture, the ideology, their lifestyle. Hopefully, I can also further my self-exploration there.

In my opinion, a master degree in China focuses on scientific research, that is, writing papers. A paper is needed for graduation. An engineering degree in France pay more attention to students’ employment.

Following different objects above, their teaching content also focus on different aspects. Many students pursing master degrees in China have to spend at least half of their time doing experiments, or help with projects their supervisors are responsible for; whiles students of engineering degrees in France are required to do many internships in enterprises, unless the student desire to conduct research and ask for doing experiment. Graduate schools in China train students as researchers; in France, engineering schools’ training objects are broader, including engineers, entrepreneurs, more towards the industry. Thus their teaching content is closely connected to current industry and its latest development.

- How did you prepare for the admission process (written test, interview)?
Well, my case was a little uncommon. I didn’t know this program until the mid-September, 2019. There wasn’t much time left for me to prepare for written test. Besides, I was occupied with my internship report, and searching info about other training programs as well. So I left three days for reviewing math and one day for remaining subjects. Math is very important for this test as we know, so I spent the most time on it. And then I focused on physics and chemistry because these two sections are important for my major. I mainly reviewed relevant textbooks of my courses during university, along with teaching videos on YouTube if necessary.

As for interview, I had two. One was organized by ParisTech, and the other was required particularly by Mines, called the scientific interview. For the first one, I browsed my CV and reflected on following questions: 1) what are my advantages? Any special qualities? 2)why choosing ParisTech and France? 3)my future plan? These questions are common, but it’s the best to have your OWN answers, which can show your characteristics. For the scientific interview by MINES, its focus was obvious – math and physics. So I just thoroughly reviewed all I learned in these 2 fields, utilizing textbooks and online courses.

- The application platform for the 9+9 program will open June 1, 2020: do you have any tips for students who want to apply to ParisTech?
Yes!
1) seriously, give yourself enough time to prepare for the written test (please don’t be like me) since the knowledge points involved in this test are quite broad and perhaps many are forgotten. Maybe at least three weeks. I highly recommend a YouTube channel called Professor Leonard, which teaches advanced mathematics quite well. (This channel was recommended to me by my friend – Juncen Ye, who is also admitted into MINES. Thank you! Juncen Ye)

2) For written test and the scientific interview, make yourself very familiar with English terms in those subjects. Do some exercises in English instead of Chinese, like GRE Sub (recommended by Juncen Ye).

3)for the interview by ParisTech, be familiar with your experiences, be able to describe your experiences in detail, be clear about your future project (it’s better to narrow it down than to present a general plan), and conduct an interview rehearsal (personally this made me more relaxed during real interview)

4)For the scientific interview, if you have no clue about solving a scientific question, try to communicate with the teachers. They were very nice and would give you some hints. If you still can’t solve the question with those hints, show your thinking process as much as possible. Same for the interview by ParisTech. Show yourself to the most by communicating.

- Any tips for ParisTech to recruit more students in China?
Maybe try to increase the exposure of ParisTech to lower grade students (like freshmen, sophomores and senior students), by short-term summer schools or exchange programs or seminars. Since my classmates and I didn’t know ParisTech until the September of our last year. We’re more familiar with programs in US, UK, Japan and so on, and thus our plan for future study is usually built towards these countries (But of course, this is just based on my personal experience).

 

PREPARING YOUR TRIP TO FRANCE

- Did you learn French before applying to the 9+9 program? If not, how did you learn it after your admission to a ParisTech school?
No. Right after my admission, I learn French at l’Alliance Française de Wuhan. I also use online resources I can find, but French resources are not as much as English ones. So I am still searching.

- Did you apply to a scholarship? Which one?
Yes, I applied for Eiffel Scholarship.

- Are you regularly in contact with ParisTech and your school of admission?
Not really. I have received some emails from MINES about our French level, arrangements for new term, and that’s all.

 

YOUR FUTURE

- Do you plan to work upon graduation, or consider a PhD in France?
Before applying to ParisTech, I planned my life totally towards conducting research. But ParisTech showed me a new possibility into industry, outside my original plan, and I would like to have a try. So for now I plan to work upon graduation. But if, after work, I find that I still desire to do research or that more advanced study is required to support my work, I will pursue a PhD.

- What are your goals employment wise, and how do you think studying in a ParisTech school will help you complete them?
For now, I am considering consulting industry. So my plan and goals are towards it, like being fluent in French, continuing practicing my English, improving my expression ability (if they count).

1. I am still on self-exploration, always trying to dig out my real inner thoughts and feelings. Thus I wish to try different things. MINES encourages us to try, and always tries to satisfy our wishes on what to learn to the most. The freedom and relative simplicity to decide on my own which course to take will help me a lot.

2.Along with high-level courses on traditional engineering, MINES provides courses like social sciences and economics, to educate us about how the society/an enterprise runs. This interdisciplinary education pattern will provide me with cross-curriculum knowledge which I think is important for a good consultant.

3.MINES has broad industrial partners, which will provide me with a good platform to search for internships, obtaining experiences and exercising the skills required for enterprises and industry.

4.Many teachers at MINES also hold positions in industry and its flexible training program is closely knitted to contemporary industry and keeps up with its development. In this way, I can gain knowledge practical for current enterprises and thus better adapt into my future work.

5.MINES’s humanistic care is great. Various social activities are regularly organized, as well as practical projects like Acte d’entreprendre. These are all good chances to exercise my skills like language organization, negotiation, innovation, etc.

Overall, I think its educational concept will not only prepare me better for industrial sector but also lead me to explore myself.

The ParisTech Grandes Écoles