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08 December 2020
Alumni stories

Anne-Sophie Bouville

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What is your educational background ?

After a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, achieved at the University of Cergy-Pontoise, I decided to specialize in the formulation of cosmetic products. I joined the Professional Master of ISIPCA, in Sensory Formulation and Evaluation, integrating the cosmetic option. The main goal was to acquire the necessary skills for this cosmetic field, which has always been a passion for me. I completed my work-study program within Symrise company, in Applied Research and Innovation team.

 

What is your professional path after your ISIPCA degree ? 

The training at ISIPCA turned out to be very comprehensive and perfectly career-oriented. However, during the master’s degree, I quickly identified my desire to do more research, to conduct a scientific research that would be my own, and on which I would have time to study in its entirety. In addition, perfumery was a field in which I was interested and that I wanted to know better, just like education and transmission of knowledge.

The research project of ‘Forgotten Perfumery Plants’, as part of a doctoral thesis carried out at Université Côte d’Azur and funded by L’Occitane en Provence, has then been proposed to me. A real beating heart! This project appeared to be as created on my profile and my professional ambitions, showing a remarkable multidisciplinary approach!

Despite everything, the project took some time to set up (one year and a half in total). So I took advantage of this period to develop other skills, more or less linked to my initial area of activity: language internship abroad, entrepreneurship and oenology.

 

Why did you choose this field ?

Following a thesis after a professional master at ISIPCA is not the most common path, nor the one most considered by students. Indeed, the master being professionalizing, its main objective is to train students for a specific trade, not for additional studies; even less to a thesis.

However, my desire to do a thesis quickly appeared to be an obvious project during my master’s degree, even though I was passionate about research and very keen to experiment teaching. Finally, with such a PhD subject like mine, I enlarged my horizons even more widely, with skills developed in history, perfumery, biology, botany, chemistry, archaeology, and so on! Areas that I could never have studied (or with difficulty) without a series of endless additional training.

In addition, thesis is known to be the ultimate diploma, which opens the doors to an international profession, not to mention the personal and professional qualities it helps to develop. It’s a tough experience, to be sure, but the opportunities are well to worth it!

 

What advice(s) would you give to an alumni interested in your job?

Before starting my thesis, I met a lot of people who tried to dissuade me from this project: “The thesis is difficult, think carefully about this project! A doctorate involves a great deal of investment, the hiring rates are low afterwards, the doctor is overqualified, he is a lifelong student…’. There is some truth to all these statements, but also a lot of false beliefs relating to the thesis, and too little knowledge about the possibilities of valuing such a diploma. And regardless of the career opportunities at the end, a thesis topic that is well chosen can be genuinely exciting to lead, much like a startup to set up, develop and flourish.

Once again, every day is not easy and the amount of work can turn out to be heavy (even very heavy), but the pride that comes from it, the qualities and skills developed constitute an undeniable added value for the future. 

Not everyone is called, or feels called, to achieve a thesis. But if the idea come to the mind, it deserves the attention and to work toward that direction, without considering the popular beliefs that are sometimes too widespread. Another thing to know, I have often believed that, with a professional master’s degree, I would have a level of chemistry (or more broadly, scientific knowledge of the research community) too low to undertake a thesis. Certain concepts sometimes appeared to be difficult, but three years, including compulsory training time, are more than enough for a refresher and a deepening of some disciplines that were initially less mastered.

Finally, my main advice is summed up in this little mantra: dream, plan, go for it!

 

How would you describe your experience at ISIPCA in 2 words?

Rich and intense! But exciting! The very positive points: teachers from the industrial fabric, who know the reality of the profession and can transmit their own passion. And the work-study program, which allows you to quickly put into practice the knowledge acquired and to refine a professional project.

 

Do you have a memory of ISIPCA that you would like to share with us?

The professional project! With two friends, we were in charge of the ‘Sensory Analysis’ pole of the cosmetic product formulated by other students. It was a real moment of freedom and creativity, that I completely found in my thesis. Let your imagination run free to suggest innovative ways, diversify your network, and learn from other’s experience. It was a great moment, which allows us to better understand the issues related to the creation of a startup or the completion of a doctoral thesis!

 

What are your post-thesis projects? 

A thesis is a kind of marathon, a race that you have to run over time and that involves a significant investment of yourself. After my PhD defense, I therefore decided to take a year off to travel to Northern Europe, in a kangoo, fitted out to live inside. I am writing these few lines even though I am in Sweden. It is important to thrive in your professional life, but it is just as important to take time for your personal life. And if you don’t decide to take this time, you will ‘never’ have that opportunity available. All too often, personal projects are set aside to ensure a serene and stable professional future. But is it a real guarantee? All too often, we miss some dreams and think about living them later because now is not ‘the right time’…

The kind of trip I have undertaken today is so enriching, so fulfilling, so important to get to know each other better, to live according to the rhythm of nature and to discover the world around us. Definitely, this is an incredible and unique experience, which I recommend everyone to live once in their life!

In the future, I would like to get involved in a project in which I could combine the skills acquired during my master’s degree, with those developed during my thesis. Putting eco-responsibility and naturalness at the core of my profession, and look for new cosmetic or perfume raw materials with a strong history. Dream, make people dream, while continuing to protect this beautiful planet that welcomes us!

 

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