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Soumyajit Kar, graduated in International Economic Policy

Soumyajit Kar completed his Masters in International Economic Policy at PSIA in 2018 with concentrations in global economic policy and emerging ecnomies. He currently works as a consultant at the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR WORK?

I work as a consultant at the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills. I have been involved from conceptualisation to delivery of one of the flagship projects of the division on innovation- Measuring Innovation in Education. This division is mandated to work directly with countries and regions on educational innovation- ranging from pedagogical innovation to administrative and governance reforms.

HOW DID YOU SECURE THIS ROLE?

I worked as an intern with the team in the summer of 2017 (the internship semester) and was offered to join as a consultant thereafter.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AND MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES?

As a co-author of the report which came out in 2019, with the cooperation of the European Commission, my work entailed analysis of international education surveys to create educational innovation indicators and a comprehensive comparison of OECD countries’ performance therein. At a more general level, my responsibilities represent a healthy mix of statistical analysis and drafting of international reports, and coordination with external stakeholders and internal editorial, design and communications teams.

WHAT IS THE MOST FASCINATING AND/OR SURPRISING ASPECT AT YOUR ROLE?

The most fascinating aspect is indubitably the sheer diversity in the team and the division- my ten-member team represents ten different nationalities. This, in my opinion, leads to a great deal of cultural exchange and learning beyond the usual boundaries.

Whereas the most surprising aspect has to be the trust the directorate puts on young people. I was pleasantly surprised when my manager entrusted me with directly communicating with ministries as well as external partners besides the regular duties of 2 the project. Quite understandably so, this relative autonomy came with a lot of accountability but in the end that’s where the learning curve was the steepest.

HOW DID YOUR PSIA EXPERIENCE HELP YOU WITH THE ROLE?

Without going into the academic part of it, the emphasis on soft skills put in and picked up from special lectures and courses really come in handy at odd moments. The deadlines I had to operate under at school were a close approximation of workplace deadlines as well. In fact, working for the Youth and Leaders’ Summit and being the Communications Manager of the PSIA Student Council were quite helpful experiences in terms of helping me prepare myself for the organisational dimension of a job with an international institution like the OECD.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS?

I do not think I am qualified yet to advise others, but I can share what I think helped me. While at school, I tried to stretch my limits of comfort as much as I could and take at least one course per semester about which I had no prior idea. Not only did it push me to work harder, but also prepared me to take on unprecedented challenges, something that has come to me repeatedly at work. The second thing was to rid myself of hesitation and diffidence, and confidently put forth my view in meetings and otherwise, even when I ran the risk of toppling the consensus. The average Sciences Po student in most cases does have the knowledge and the expertise- what is needed is a little self-nudge to put it to productive use.

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