Alumni Networking: Narimane Nekkab
- Where and what is your current work/professional situation?
I am currently in Paris in the second year of my Ph.D. thesis at Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers (CNAM).
- How did you get involved in your current work?
I applied for my Ph.D. while I was doing my MPH practicum to continue the research I was doing as an intern. I did my internship with Pascal Crépey and Pascal Astagneau who helped me finding different Ph.D. funding sources and a thesis director. I still currently work with both of them and I am supervised by Pascal Crépey.
- When did you graduate from the EHESP MPH?
I graduated in 2015.
- How long did it take for you to secure a job following the MPH?
As a Ph.D. candidate in France, I am considered as both an employee and student. I am employed by EHESP although my funding does not come directly from them. I also teach Biostatistics courses to M1 and M2 students in the MPH program at Paris.
- What types of internships did you do during the M1 (if applicable) and the M2 of the MPH?
During my M1, I interned between March (part-time until May) and August (full time since May) at Action Against Hunger, a French humanitarian aid organization. I was in the mental health and care services department working to adapt and pilot a questionnaire for program managers on the field that would eventually develop into a database. During my M2, I was an intern at EHESP working with Pascal Crépey and Pascal Astagneau on creating the hospital transfer networks of patients in France.
- What skills did you learn from the MPH program that are applicable to your current roles?
The M2 internship opportunity has a direct application to my current work since I am still working on the research project. I was able to acquire a very valuable experience using the R program that I currently use every day. In addition, many of the Biostatistics tests and concepts that I learned in the program have improved my analytic skills and I use them occasionally during my research.
- Any advice for future EHESP MPH graduates?
First and foremost, enjoy Paris and travel often! Second, take the opportunity during the program to learn as many skills as possible and to perfect one or two of them during the internships. Skills in Biostatistics are essential for all disciplines in public health whether it is linked to the interpretation of research study results or actually doing the data analysis, employers will want to know if you know how to use SAS, STATA, SPSS, or R. Excel is not enough! Third, know why you want to do the MPH program in the first place before you start and remember why you did it when you finish since it will help guide you to your future career path. The MPH program opens a lot of doors for new opportunities and we may not feel that we are qualified enough or think that there are too many options with no clear path to take; however, if we know what we want from the program since the beginning and work hard to gain the essential skills during class and during well-chosen internships, then doors will open for a career in public health.
- Tell us one thing about you that many people don’t know.
I lost my younger sister to cancer a few years ago.
- Finally, if you could choose a different career path other than the one you are on, what would it be?