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Ambre Nicolle: “I like the interdisciplinarity at ENSAI”

Ambre Nicolle recently joined ENSAI as an Assistant Professor of Economics. During the next semester, she will teach Econometric Analysis of Panel Data and will also develop and teach a course on Digital Economics with her colleague Yutec Sun. As a researcher at CREST, she will carry on her work on empirical industrial organizations.

Interview with ENSAI faculty’s newest addition.

What made you apply for the position of Assistant Professor of Economics at ENSAI?

Ambre Nicolle: I was eager to join a Grande Ecole because I know they offer great working conditions and that the students are really good and motivated. I had the chance to teach at Telecom Paris over the last few years and I liked the profile of the students there – not so far from ENSAI’s students.

Also, I liked the interdisciplinarity of the team of scholars there, something I really benefited from when I was at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich in a department that was between Management, Economics and Information Systems. ENSAI was obviously ticking all the boxes!

Moreover, after an international experience of two years in Germany, I felt like coming back to France to start my academic career.

Even though my network of co-authors is now quite widespread in Europe, my core team is here, in France.

Indeed, I am a member of the AFREN (Association Francophone de Recherche en Economie du Numérique) and being close to this community was something important for me. Also, over the long run, I would like to get my HDR and be able to supervise PhD students – something I would only be able to do in France.

What are your research areas?

A.N: My main research area is empirical industrial organization, that is concerned with understanding supply and demand in imperfectly competitive markets. My secondary research area would be digital economics, with a specific interest in the economics of platforms.

What’s your academic career history?

A.N: I  started with a Bachelor’s in Economics and Management at the Institut d’Administration des Entreprises in my hometown, Perpignan. Then, I moved to Montpellier to start a master’s in ICT Economics at the University (now renamed Digital Economics).

After that, I started a PhD that was partially funded by Orange (under a convention CIFRE) and I have spent my time between the University of Montpellier, Telecom Paris that was my second host institution, and the company. I had the chance to access great and unique data thanks to this collaboration and develop an expertise on the telecommunications markets – it was a great experience.

After my PhD, I was awarded a research fellowship co-funded by the Marie Curie program and I had the chance to spend two years at LMU Munich, under the supervision of a great scholar, teacher and person: Tobias Kretschmer.

How did you end up doing research and teaching? Is it something you’ve always aimed to do?

A.N:  I always knew, somehow, that I would teach. When I was in secondary school, I felt I would become a teacher there. In high school, I updated my goal: I’d be a high school teacher. After I started university, I thought I should try to become a professor… which seems to be the final goal now.

I really thrive transmitting what I know and exchanging with the students, fostering their interest in topics I personally love.

I am a first-generation student and education gave me access to a life I could not dream of otherwise – giving back is one of my major objectives.

Regarding research, my interest was sparked during the second year of my master when I had the chance to start working on data in the context of travaux dirigés– and then, during my internship when I had the chance to lead some exploratory work on consumer decision making with the company’s data. This interest was confirmed during my PhD – then I decided to go for this post-doctoral position in Munich, to strengthen my portfolio of research projects and tools.

When not teaching or doing research work, what do you do in your free time?

A.N: I was a photojournalist during my studies. I still take pictures, but I stopped political meetings and demonstrations – I shifted my focus towards my family, pets, and landscapes now, which is much more relaxing.

I am also a guitarist and singer – not a very popular one, obviously, but I am trying hard. I have been part of several bands but now I’ve moved on to a solo career.

Find out more about Ambre Nicolle and research at ENSAI