Hat throwing at Graduation

Joséphine Gantois

MPA International Development

Research Associate, Columbia University
Class of 2013

Josephine Gantois


Joséphine Gantois

MPA alumna

To me, the greatest strength of the MPA is to create a close-knit group out of people from around the world, of different ages, with different academic and professional backgrounds, and very different expectations. Each of us leaves with a different experience, though equally strong, and a common language with which to create policies around the world. We all find our own balance to live through those fast-paced two years, and take away something precious from them.

My own experience revolved around the amazing people I met. The most straightforward illustration of the friendships you build on this programme is that, if you try to create a map of the friends you have made, you will soon realise that it would take you ages to travel to all of these locations! On top of this, the MPA’s diversity made the group work we engaged in highly useful for the future: we learned to deal with people who express their thoughts, approach problems and react to criticism in a different manner to ourselves.

On the MPA, none of the classes leave you indifferent: even those that I liked less helped me to understand what kind of work I wanted to do (or not do), in particular thanks to the reaction they elicited among students, and the animated discussions that followed. There will always be one course that takes you far from your comfort zone (for me, those that had the least maths and logic in them), but it still strengthens and broadens your previous analytical skills by challenging them to the core.

Any student who goes through the MPA will love some of it and criticise others, but the most important point is to do both with conviction and to engage fully in the experience.