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Nicolas Million, a PhD at the IMF

Laurent Cousin

Nicolas Million, a PhD in economics, is looking into the mechanisms of the current economic crisis at the IMF, which has just hired him

Nicolas Million, a PhD in economics specialized in econometrics, has just been recruited by the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C.

Econometrics is a set of statistical and mathematical methods used to test and verify economic hypotheses empirically. Nicolas has been using these methods for some time to better understand the mechanisms of the financial crisis that has shaken the world economy over the past several months. "A job at the IMF is challenging, especially in the context of this crisis. I’ve joined an institution that will work to restore a healthier situation, and that’s a real challenge,” he told us a few weeks before crossing the Atlantic.

An accomplishment that Nicolas may not have foreseen when he started on his doctorate in 2000. At the time, he was more drawn by academic research and university teaching, yet without closing the door on the private sector because his research topic met corporate needs as well. He began by studying the relations between monetary policy and international finance, the topic of his thesis, which he nevertheless decided to put off for a while.

The mobility choice

He packed his bags and headed for Warsaw, Poland, where he landed a job as economist at the French embassy. For two years, Nicolas did monitoring on Poland’s economic policy (budgetary and monetary) and its financial situation for the Ministry of Economics and Finance (MINEFI). Poland is France’s most important trade partner in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). At the time he was in contact with Polish ministers and the Polish central bank. "The job was right in line with my thesis topic. I used my knowledge to understand Poland’s situation in its accession process to the European Union and for me that was an opportunity to confront reality. It really helped me in my doctorate,” Nicolas explains.

His stint in Poland is not his only experience abroad. He studied for 6 months at the University of Warwick, which has one of the best economics departments in England, and then did a few stays in the United States, particularly at Duke University as visiting scholar and at Brown University for a research stay.

Back home again, he was recruited by the Banque de France, which offered him a researcher position in the monetary policy research unit. In late 2007, he was also recruited as a researcher in the ISG interdisciplinary research group, while continuing to teach in business curriculums. He continued these activities until the IMF hired him. “It’s extremely difficult to get into the IMF. There are very few jobs like this. It’s an opportunity you can’t refuse,” Nicolas Million concludes enthusiastically.

Mini CV:

Since June 2009:  Desk Economist, IMF
From late 2007 to June 2009: researcher with GrIIsG
2006: researcher at the Banque de France
2005: PhD
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