22 February 2017

timemanagement

There is no doubt that an MBA is an incredibly time-consuming, challenging experience. The course load, homework, job searches, recruitment and extracurricular activities can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. In the end it is all worth it, but navigating your way through the process can seem a little tough at times.

That’s where time management skills come in.

I’ve always been known for taking on every project and activity possible. Currently I’m juggling many activities – I’m on the executive committee of both the annual MBA Tournament (MBAT) and the Luxury Club, trying to maintain a healthy GPA, traveling several times a month, keeping an active social calendar including hosting dinner parties and events for 20-50 people at a time, and moonlighting as a chef for Our Kitchen. Put this against the backdrop of the MBA and all the work that the academics and job-search process entails, and it makes for a very busy schedule indeed!

Often people ask me how I’m able to manage so many things and still show up to classes (most of the time). For me, it’s all about task management and planning ahead.

Here are two of my best organizational tips:

Find a Productivity Tool

Before there were such things as smartphones and apps, I used to rely – heavily – on Post-it Notes. Today, I rely on time-management applications. While virtual post-it notes are fine, I now use Google Keep which allows me to keep track of almost everything in life. It contains my to-do lists, grocery shopping lists, notes and project deadlines. I even get email notifications when deadlines are coming up.

Maria Martyak was one of the participants in the MBA's Champagne Trek.

Maria Martyak participated in the HEC Paris MBA’s Champagne Trek last fall.

Another trick of the trade is the Gmail plug-in Boomerang for Gmail – it has been a life-saver! I start and end each day planning and writing and emails. I also schedule the send time for my emails – this allows me to get through a large volume of emails, knowing they will be sent at the appropriate time for each recipient. This is especially useful for sending job applications that span different time zones, ensuring that I apply during working hours.

Achieve Balance

Being able to handle a large workload with many different projects isn’t for everyone. It’s important to find your balance and stick to it. One way I’m able to handle all these different subjects is by allowing myself downtime when I know I need it.

Take time to plan your vacation time, enjoy alone time and make sure to schedule time with friends. Often I travel on weekends, which allows me to disconnect and relax.

At the HEC Paris MBA, we are very lucky to be in such close proximity to amazing cities and countries. Exploring new places is always fascinating. These adventures have allowed me to learn about history, architecture, people, cultures and foods across a variety of countries.

Successfully juggling your MBA workload – or any workload – can be daunting, but it’s all about the balance. One of the best skills we gain from the MBA isn’t found in our core textbooks. It’s how to properly prioritize and efficiently manage our time while still maintaining that sense of balance.

Written by Maria Elena Martyak 

Mariabio

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13 February 2017

Chinese students from the HEC Paris MBA and HEC Paris recently hosted a series of events designed to introduce the entire campus community to different aspects of their culture. To kick off Chinese Cultural Week, the students celebrated the Year of the Rooster with a Temple Fair which offered activities ranging from tea-drinking and fortune telling to trying on traditional clothes and learning traditional games. The next evening at the Lantern Festival, participants shared an authentic Chinese dinner, followed by a show both organized and performed by members of the student body. From traditional and modern dances to a fashion show and music recitals, they displayed their artistic talents and united the HEC community in a fantastic celebration of culture.

The following videos offer a sampling of the week’s events. The first one features MBA students Dengke Li, Vincy Zhang and Leslie Zhu, who were among Chinese Cultural Week’s main organizers. The second includes excerpts of some of the evening performances.

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10 February 2017
Daria Jacob, Class of 2017

Daria Jacob, Class of 2017

Even though inventing a new vaccine technology might seem like the ultimate in scientific research, it left Daria Jacob unfulfilled. “I see so many researchers who have fun only doing lab work, but that’s not me,” the Russian MBA candidate explains. “I really missed communicating with people.”

It was in the middle of her post-doctorate research at Paris’ famed Institut Pasteur that Daria first sampled the business side of biomedicine. “I was leading experimental research on my vaccine project and, at the same time, trying to find funding and negotiate with investors,” she says. “That was my first experience outside of research. I realized that I am more driven by business tasks within the pharmaceutical industry. I wanted to switch to the industry side, and that led me to discover HEC.”

We asked Daria about her personal strategies for making a career pivot as a scientist, and how she’s been able to leverage the HEC Paris MBA as part of her journey.

For someone who is looking for a similar career switch, what’s your advice?

I know quite a few researchers who have transferred from pure scientific research to lab management or other business-side jobs. It’s just a question of whether to do it through an MBA. I was really interested in corporate management and strategy, and an MBA is indispensable to reach the corporate level.

Is that an easy career transition to make with an MBA?

I knew that I needed to do a fieldwork project to have some hands-on experience solving business problems.

Describe your fieldwork project.

I worked for Tecan, a highly technical company that makes automated laboratory robots. I did a 12-week project to help them understand and potentially expand into a new market. The market is very niche, very specific, and divided into very different potential applications of Tecan’s technology.

I had to perform a very complex analysis and make strategic recommendations about the best way to enter the market. I did 55 interviews with customers and specialists in the field to get different points of view and different pieces of data. That information helped me to formulate my conclusions and advise the company on which direction to go.

At the end of the project, I had to pull all my research together into a business-oriented PowerPoint presentation, something that I’d never done before in my life. I presented it to Tecan’s corporate development team, which includes the company’s CEO, CFO and the vice presidents of different departments. It was really important for them to get into the details of what I analyzed, so we ended up discussing every one of my slides for at least five minutes. It was a very interesting and dynamic interaction.

Did the MBA’s Fundamental Phase help prepare you for the fieldwork project?

The amazing thing is that everything that I learned during the core classes was applicable to my fieldwork project. Unlike many students, I don’t have a background in business. For me, most of the classes were rather new, but they were taught so deeply and efficiently that I started the fieldwork project with the feeling, ‘I do know how to do this’.

Has the MBA benefitted you in other ways?

Without the HEC Paris MBA, I would’ve never met so many people from different industries and backgrounds. People usually come to the MBA not just with a single background, and their future is not a straight line, either. We serve as examples of what the opportunities are, and what you can potentially do. What’s next for your career? I received a job offer from Tecan, which I accepted. Before the MBA, my job title was post-doctorate researcher. When I start full-time with the company in April, my title will be associate for corporate development. It’ll be a completely different job for me, in exactly the direction that I want to go.

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30 January 2017
Stopping by Condé Nast's Parisian office

Stopping by Condé Nast’s Parisian office

In a uniquely Parisian office with sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, Xavier Romatet (MBA ’86) described his rise to CEO of Condé Nast France. Twenty-three HEC Paris MBA students from the MBA Luxury Club listened to him speak about his personal experiences as part of the club’s trek to the French capital last November. “It was very inspirational to hear how Xavier drove his career to head such an iconic publishing company,” Caroline Spegiorin, then-president of the MBA Luxury Club, explained. “While meeting with us, his attitude was, ‘I’m here for you. Ask me whatever you want’.”

Student-led treks are designed to expose MBAs to different sectors within an industry and the particular issues they face, yielding thought-provoking results. During the Luxury Club’s trek, participants benefitted from an insider’s view into the acclaimed fashion and perfume house Givenchy, and visited Skintifique, a newcomer to the high-end world.

Orestes experiences the skincare industry first-hand.

Orestes experiences the skincare industry first-hand.

At Givenchy, Patricia Huyghues Despointes (H ’98) asked participants to analyze whether the upmarket icon should open a new store in Asia. “In luxury, branding and image mean as much as net revenue,” Caroline explained, “and as Chief Financial Officer, Patricia shared with us her own measures of how to strategically select a new location as an investment.”

The group also met with Marie Andrade (M ’05), Director of Digital and Marketing at Skintifique, as well as Dr. Jacques Delort, the company’s CEO. Skintifique was founded in 2012 and is known for its 100 percent pure, non-allergenic and innovative skincare products. The conversation included the company’s plans to expand their portfolio in this niche market.

“It was great to add something tangible to the strategies and concepts that we have been learning in the classroom,” said trek participant Orestes Peristeris (MBA ’18). “By visiting these companies’ offices and meeting their staff, we were able to understand first-hand their ways of doing business.”

For Caroline, the event’s main coordinator, the treks can aid participants in defining their future. “This kind of event is about more than networking,” she said. “Treks are a way for students to immerse themselves in the know-how of a specific industry. They help students gather a broader knowledge not only about the sector, but also about themselves. Many HEC MBAs are career switchers, and these events help them to understand how they can fit into a particular industry and bring their expertise to it.”

That’s why Romatet’s own career trajectory—he went from the HEC Paris MBA to his own advertising agency, then Condé Nast asked him to head their French office—particularly resonated with the group. Along with discussing how the publishing powerhouse changed its business model to overcome digital disruption—partially by opening a Vogue Café in Russia and a Vogue Bar in Bangkok–he gave his personal dos and don’ts on how to break into luxury.

Other Luxury Club-sponsored treks in 2016 included visits to the champagne estates of Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon. The club also has springtime plans to travel to Milan for the MBA Retail and Luxury Forum.

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19 January 2017

Meet some of our new HEC Paris MBA students in this awesome, student-produced video. In a tradition that started in 2014, the MBA program’s incoming participants collaborate to create a video prior to their arrival on campus that introduces them to their classmates, showcasing their unique personalities and their home countries. “It really is a collective effort,” says Orlando Guerra, MBA ’18, who compiled the individual video clips for the HEC Paris MBA January 2017 Intake. “Forty people—or almost half of the incoming class—participated. We started with a WhatsApp group and we voted on our paper-plane theme.”

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16 December 2016
Tahira Taylor (bottom, right) spent 3 months as an exchange student at HEC Paris

Tahira Taylor (bottom, right) spent 3 months as an exchange student at HEC Paris

 

HEC Paris MBA participants in international exchanges with 40 business schools throughout the world. In Fall 2016, we welcomed Tahira Taylor, an exchange student from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. We asked Tahira to share an insider’s view of her three months on campus, and the differences she found between European and American programs.

 

Course load

My experience so far has only been with the core 1 and 2 that are taken during the first year at Georgetown, and with the specialization at HEC. It has been an intense year and a half. Neither school presented itself as “easy” during either of these stages, and on most days I found myself either working on a group project, studying for a quiz or exam, finishing a paper, reading a case, preparing a model or, in general, just trying to stay ahead of all the work. In some cases, I found myself doing several of those things at the same time!

 

The courses from the marketing specialization at HEC were very specific, which I appreciated because Georgetown doesn’t offer specializations. The core classes at Georgetown were extremely helpful during my internship at Delta Air Lines, and the things I’ve learned in the HEC specialization have definitely been helpful as far as recruiting. Now I am able to speak about marketing at a very in-depth level. The courses and the cases go into such detail, I have come away feeling like an expert.

 

This fall's marketing specialization during their last day of presentations.

This fall’s marketing specialization during their last day of presentations.

Curriculum

I wanted a global curriculum. I have lived and worked in the US, Morocco and Lesotho, so I knew that wherever I did my MBA, I needed an international student body and a curriculum that understood how dynamic business in a global world can be. As far as the international student body, HEC wins hands down. In any one of my project-study groups, I worked with people from at least four countries (in groups of five people or less). The number of languages spoken among the student body and faculty is so impressive.

As for the curriculum, both schools do an excellent job of taking into account global affairs and business. I believe this is the direction that all business schools are going. Georgetown has the Global Business Experience, which is a semester-long consulting project that students must do for a company somewhere in the world. I will be consulting on a go-to-market strategy for a South African company. Both schools teach material that is relevant and timely to what is going on in the world. What is nice about HEC is that you learn about global cases and discuss them with people who can speak to the opinions of about 15 or so countries in one classroom.

Hike

Recruiting

The main event of an MBA is how it shapes your career. The United States has a mature MBA market, and so the recruiting process is very well choreographed. In the first year, you recruit during the fall for your summer internship. 100% of the students at Georgetown do an internship (though it isn’t mandatory, schools in the US kind of imply that it is). The US also has giant career fairs in the fall that are specifically for MBA recruiting. I got several internship offers by attending one of the fairs, and many of my classmates did as well.

Europe appears to be different. The MBA market in Europe is not as choreographed, so you will need to be grittier. In general, the companies that recruit heavily in Europe are large American companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon. That said, I received my job offer a few days ago from a company headquartered in Europe. I found the position though HEC’s Career Management Center. It’s my dream job and I’m going to love the work. It pays as much as an MBA job would in the States, and presents me with the opportunity to live in Europe! Keep in mind that for many MBA jobs in Europe, full language proficiency is mandatory, and the pay is sometimes lower than MBA jobs in the US.

 

Final word

Whether you chose to do your MBA in the United States or in Europe is a very personal decision. I chose to do the exchange in Europe because I wanted some exposure to the European MBA experience, and I wanted to do HEC’s specialization. One might choose to do exactly what I did, but the other way around. Exchanges are not so popular among schools in the US.

In any case, you will make amazing friends and gain a dynamic professional network. You will learn about key aspects of business and find out new things about yourself as well. I am so happy with my choices. Both schools can open doors for you that you never even knew were there. It is just a matter of taking the time to get to know your options and making a truly informed decision that works for your future.

 

–Text and photos by Tahira Taylor

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09 December 2016
AT Kearney global prize winners: Nadège Zambon, Elias Fares, Alexandre Legeay and Mathieu Mondan.

And the winners are (from left): Nadège Zambon, Elias Fares, Mathieu Mondan and Alexandre Legeay.

 

When the four HEC Paris MBA students first stepped onstage at the AT Kearney Global Prize Strategy Case Competition, they had already logged 120 hours writing their proposal. Add in another 10 rehearsals for their verbal presentation, and it’s easy to see why team “Istisharat Key” won the prestigious, multi-week contest.

Now in its 20th year, the Global Prize offers participants an intense, real-time window into the consulting world. Competitors must develop an innovative and strategic solution to an actual case brought to AT Kearney. The four HEC Paris MBA students—Nadège Zambon, Elias Fares, Alexandre Legeay and Mathieu Mondan—faced off against nearly 100 teams from 10 schools, including LBS, Insead, Kellogg, SDA Bocconi, Booth and Columbia, to claim the prize. Their proposition brought the client’s annual growth to 15 percent, and overcame many of its operational problems.

This tweet from Nov. 18 says it all

Along with crunching data, interviewing, strategizing and making presentations, the long hours spent hammering out their proposal taught Istisharat Key many important lessons about teamwork.
 

Here are five takeaways:

 
1. Start with a well-balanced team
 
From the beginning, the students sought team members with complementary skills. “We had someone who is good at crunching numbers, we had someone who is good a drafting PowerPoints, and one of our team members is highly innovative and capable of seeing the big picture,” Elias explains. “Putting them all together was one of our main strengths.” As a result, the students easily capitalized on each other’s talents without having to choose a project leader.
 
2. Take it step-by-step
 
The team discussed many topics in the days before the competition, including the book, The Monk who sold his Ferrari. They embraced its advice to focus completely on the task at hand. “It says that if you have one eye on what you are doing now, and the other eye on your future goal, you will not be able to achieve your target,” Elias says.  “We tried not be distracted by the idea of winning the entire competition. Even before our initial presentation at HEC, we felt like we had already learned from each other.”
 
3. Evenly distribute the workload
 
With a whopping 120 hours spent just on their written presentation, the four students made sure to evenly divide the work. “From the very beginning we said, ‘if we are doing this, we are really working for it’,” Mathieu explains.  “We had to find the time to work together in the evening, on the weekend, in-between classes.” In the end, no one missed a work session, and the team benefitted from a solid, trust-filled relationship.
 
4. Focus on a common goal
 
Once committed to the project, the students clearly articulated a team mission. Instead of working for personal gain—landing a much sought-after job interview at AT Kearney, for example—they decided to promote the HEC Paris MBA. “We set one goal, which made the team very solid,” Elias says. “We said ‘if we do this well, it will benefit future intakes’. We wanted to pass the message, ‘This is HEC. We exist, we’re good, and we can compete against any university in the world’.”
 
5. Embrace creativity
 
In addressing the five years of stagnant growth experienced by their client, a mid-sized pharmaceutical company, Team Istisharat Key could have just focused on operational issues. Instead, their presentation had a story line and used a pyramid as a metaphor.  “Like a pyramid, the base of our solution was strong,” Mathieu says. “You can see far from the top of a pyramid. That’s why our work included a vision for the future, three to five years out.” Applauded for the clarity and innovation of their proposal, the students scored the win.

For more about this year’s competition, visit: www.hec.edu/News-Room/

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06 November 2016

Photo by Carlos Sadovnik

 

Sailors can become MBA students or vice versa. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the largest MBA regatta held on the globe–the Rolex MBA Regatta and Conference–hosted in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, by the SDA Bocconi Sailing Club. From 29 September to 2 October, 23 HEC students and alumni competed in two divisions for the opportunity to represent their school on the podium.

Salty dogs and firstregatta1S-time sailors alike from 18 global MBA programs competed, with HEC Paris coming in a best-ever 5th place overall. With a jam-packed schedule of sailing, networking cocktails, and a black-tie keynote conference and gala, the weekend was something to be remembered for all the participants. It is already eagerly anticipated for next September.

For more information about the HEC MBA Sailing club and the 2017 MBA regatta schedule, visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hecmbasailingclub/.

–Text by Ryan Bates
–Photos courtesy of Arturs Smilkstins, Carlos Sadovnik and the SDA Bocconi Sailing Club

regatta5

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11 October 2016
"Engineering" a roller coaster out of paper.

“Engineering” a roller coaster out of paper.

After a smooth check-in on campus, expect to deep-dive directly into the transformation you dreamed about while drafting your candidate profile for the MBA program. “Act your Success” is a three-day seminar where you interact for the first time with your fellow MBA students through a series of writing and improvisational workshops.

The end goal is to provide MBA students with the communication skills needed to succeed in the program and the professional world.

The seminar begins with the outstanding consultants guiding you (and sometimes pushing you!) in the basic elements of a business presentation. You have to introduce yourself to a group of 12-15 students without using a microphone.

The focus is on you:

  • -Being understood by people of diverse backgrounds
  • -Using the appropriate structure, attitude and content to make your presentation memorable
  • -Making eye contact
  • -Using simple and easy-to-understand gestures
  • -Speaking loud enough to be heard and using a slow rate of speech

Remember, only 10 percent of the message you’re conveying is in the content itself! The rest is in your body language and other non-verbal means of communication.

Success!

Roller coaster success!

Next, jump into the first workshop and discover what it takes to work with a diverse group of people while following rigid guidelines. Choose your role: Are you going to be an engineer or a public relations specialist? You are in charge of a roller coaster, and it’s up to your team to build it, prepare the press release and market it at a new product launch. That’s pure team work, a lot of fun and the perfect occasion to become closer to your peers!

Eventually, you start intensive trainings in improvisation and acting. Forget about intellect for a while and observe other people’s emotions and reactions. When you first get on stage with your group to act out your story, you are acutely aware that there’s more than 100 people in the audience watching you. That feeling fades away once you start acting, and eventually you forget that they are even there.

Quickly forget that everyone is watching your performance

Quickly forget that everyone is watching your performance.

My advice to the next group of “Act Your Success” participants? Get connected, be creative, just let go. But be aware, because you could find yourself, like I did, playing the part of a desperate monkey in front of every member of your class!

Overall, “Act Your Success” was an outstanding experience.

Text by Noel Marciniak, Class of 2018

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30 September 2016

groupembassy
On September 22, the HEC Romanian community organized this year’s first networking event with all three MBA intakes. In partnership with the Romanian Embassy, the cultural evening was held in the Hôtel de Béhague, one of Paris’ finest hôtel particuliers, and a property owned by the embassy. Built in the second half of XIXth century, the hôtel particulier is a work by Gabriel Destailleur, the architect famous for his recuperation of sculpted wooden elements put on the market by Haussman’s important transformation of Paris.
 

Romanian team

The night’s Romanian team included (from left to right):
Alina and Ioanid Rosu (professor of finance), professor Roxana Barbulescu and event organizers Amalia Bejinaru and Pierre Bortnowski

Combining the complex agendas of HEC Paris and the embassy meant that planning had to start four months in advance of the event! But the result was a success. Students tasted many Romanian culinary delights, watered with fine Feteasca cépage. The beautiful architecture of the building and Romania’s famous Tuica plum brandy were the final touch to this happy gathering.
 

foodtable It is always a pleasure when you can share with your colleagues a little bit of what makes your country so special. We really hope to have inspired some of them to come and visit us back home and, who knows, we might have set a benchmark in cultural-day organization for the next batch!

Many thanks to the French Connection Club for their help during the event; it’s another example of the friendship that has existed for many centuries between the two countries.

Text by Pierre Bortnowski and Amalia Bejinaru

 

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