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Are you East-Coast or West-Coast?

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For Oualid Bachiri, a student at the Sciences Po School of Communication, to have an experience in the United States was a priority. Not only do the States have a strong internship culture but professional experience in the country is well looked-upon by recruiters. New York and San Francisco are very attractive centres but which to choose? Oualid gives his personal take on his experience in both cities. And may as well say it from the start: both were worth it!

EAST- COAST:
EVERYTHING IS SO BIG, FAST AND ALIVE !

From the start of my second year at Sciences-Po, I had the objective of completing my Bachelor years with an internship rather than with a year of student exchange. I was attracted to the opportunity of practising the more professional English language and by the idea of working for a company for an extended period of time. Even though my search zone didn’t include the United States (« impossible to find » « visa procedures are too complicated » « too expensive »), I decided to take a chance and answered an internship offer as assistant to the global team of Havas Worldwide, one of the largest communication networks in the world. My application was accepted and I left for nine months in Manhattan a few weeks later. 

First impression for a newly-arrived : everything is so large, so big and so alive ! 

"You quickly lose the « French » accent complex… »

...because there are so many accents around. The city of the « Friends »’ characters describes itself as a crossroad of cultures, promoting a very liberal and individualistic mentality which allows all to grow within the communities which they identify with, without restricting themselves to them. 

The “Big Apple” is the symbol of American power, New York is loud and never sleeps.
"New York opened my eyes to new ways of seeing, and enabled me to look at my realities and my most solid convictions in a new light.” 
“May as well say I got the opportunity to have a bird eye’s view of the different careers in the communication world. I really liked that and it helped to confirm my master’s choice.”

“As the Havas Worldwide’s global team’s assistant, versatility is the rule”

I was responsible for the following:

  • Monitoring the recent trends and news of companies’ communication; doing marketing studies
  • Making the script of a video valuing the young leaders of tomorrow; experimenting digital solutions
  • Participating in the conception of a pro bono campaign for an association, organising a competition for the best network communication
  • Coordinating an artistic project during a top management annual seminar

WEST-COAST:
WHILE NEW YORK IS SO ACTIVE, SAN FRANCISCO  IS CHILL

"I chose to do my gap-year internship at a social start-up "

After a first gap-year internship at the BNP Paribas’ Security services, I wanted to go back to the start-up working atmosphere. Again, the United States were not in my initial search zone (« too expensive ») but again, I sent my application for the post of Project Manager at CALSO Community Inc, the American branch of the « Comptoir de l’Innovation » and of the « SOS Group », key European actors in solidarity-based economy and social entrepreneurship. The interest being mutual, I flew to San Francisco two days after the end of my internship at BNP.

San Francisco, perhaps more than New York, is driven by a very progressive energy 

"San Francisco est certainement une ville plus facile à vivre que New York"

After 10 PM, the streets are already quieter on weekdays, except for some neighbourhoods such as « Mission ». As for fast foods, they are much less visible in a city where there are legions of personal development supporters, devoted to fitness, meditation and yoga… the people in San Francisco like to say their city is the most European of all American cities. The climate helps (even though you always need a some kind of jacket in San Francisco !), the city is undoubtedly a more easy-going city than New York.

"What made the most impression on me was the entrepreneurial spirit which is so present in the city"

The « Bay area » is also a region of the Silicon Valley, its 11 new start-up creations per week, its 11 500 high-tech companies and its 100 billion dollars of revenue. It isn’t surprising there if your Uber driver is also working on a mobile application or if the majority of the people you meet work in tech. Apart from all the weirdness in the street, what made the most impression on me was the entrepreneurial spirit which is so present in the city

"As project manager at CALSO, my objective was to maximise the impact of social entrepreneurship initiative "

  • My first task was to assist in the writing of grant applications to company foundations for the financing of a training program for unemployed veterans to be integrated in the civil drone industry.
  • My second assignment was to assist in the management and development of an incubation program for foreign start-ups which wished to settle in the United States : the selection process, the daily support of entrepreneurs from reports to the search of partners to finance the project -
    I learnt as much about the entrepreneurial world as about the funders’ world.

​Working for a start-up, with other start-ups, has been extremely interesting as it requires a lot of agility, creativity and a critical mind!

« From a communication point of view, I learnt the meticulous work necessary for « pitching », the importance of development, the maintaining and activation of my network (or of others’ network!) as well as the absolute necessity of following digital innovations regarding communication! 

TO KNOW MORE 

Contact Oualid Bachiri on Linkedin

Learn about visa procedures for an internship in the United States

How to land an internship in San Francisco and the "Bay Area"

Sillicon Valley – the American Dream for Start-ups?

Being an Intern in San Francisco

Last modified 2017-02-27
02.07.2019
Sciences Po Careers Fair 2019 will be held on Friday 27 September from 10AM to 5PM in Parc Expo Paris Versailles (Paris). This annual information and recruitment fair is a unique opportunity for you to meet with 1600 Sciences Po students and graduates.
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