20 March 2017

watercolor map of world

In front of a filled-to-capacity classroom, Othmane Khelil is describing the start of the Arab Spring. “After Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire, the people of Tunisia moved to a clear message: ‘We want freedom, we want dignity’,” he says, switching from a photo of the emblematic Tunisian vegetable seller to one of a massive street demonstration.

What is most interesting about this presentation isn’t the vivid images, or Othmane’s impassioned insights into the Arab Spring’s impact on Tunisia up until the present day. Instead, it’s the fact that as an MBA student from Tunisia, Othmane is speaking firsthand about events that rocked his homeland.

Using students as a powerful source of information about their own countries is the crux of a new speaker series organized by the HEC Paris MBA’s International Affairs Society (IAS). The brown-bag sessions, held Tuesdays at lunchtime, allow students to learn about geopolitical issues from their peers while sampling a traditional dish from whichever region or country is being discussed (in Othmane’s case, a spicy Shakshuka).

Two HEC Paris MBA students discuss India-Pakistan relations

Jawwad Ali Syed and Siddarth Gurnani discuss India-Pakistan relations.

Started in January, the weekly sessions are a big hit with our 92 percent international class. As an entirely student-led initiative, they are free (except for those who order a meal), and cover subjects suggested by MBA students themselves. Every Tuesday brings a hard-hitting new topic—recent ones included the French presidential election, the Venezuelan oil crisis and India-Pakistan relations.

“These talks perfectly complement the business side of the education that we receive at HEC Paris,” Othmane explains. “They analyze the geopolitical contexts that affect business and market dynamics.”

As a member of the IAS core team, Yee Theng Ng, MBA ’18, finds such interactions offer more value to MBA participants than bringing in outside speakers (though the IAS still does for formal evening events). The big advantage she sees is that students are more likely to dedicate a lunch hour to learning if they know the speaker. She also says that students ask questions more freely. “We know each other by nationality,” she explains, “but sometimes we feel like we don’t know enough about our respective countries.”

A HEC Paris MBA student discusses events in his native Tunisia.

Othmane Khelil, MBA ’17, talks about events in his native Tunisia.

Others appreciate the opportunity to share—and correct misconceptions—about their homelands. Othmane volunteered to talk about the Arab Spring because “not many of my classmates knew that it started in Tunisia. I wanted to clarify incorrect ideas about the country’s safety and terrorism problems—problems that exist in many European countries, too—and to promote tourism in my country,” he explains. “My dad has his business in tourism, and the industry was massively affected after several attacks.”

The IAS began in 2014 as a student-led initiative within the HEC Paris MBA. Events are planned by a team of 10 to 15 MBA participants. The group’s faculty advisor, Affiliate Professor Jeremy Ghez, says, “It’s a great initiative that explores the intersections between business and geopolitics. When they interact with each other, with professionals and with diplomats, the MBA participants are better able to understand the overall business environment. In their professional careers, they will never make a decision in a political or geopolitical vacuum. Therefore, it’s crucial that they understand those dynamics.”

Along with the brown-bag series, the Society has two upcoming events on this year’s calendar. The group will invite speakers from outside the HEC community to discuss the Iranian Presidential Election in April, and One Year after Brexit in June. To learn more, follow the AIS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/International-Affairs-Society-HEC-Paris-MBA-381184955592382/.

 

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16 March 2017

An estimated 700 people came together last Sunday to celebrate the first ever Holi Festival hosted by HEC Paris students and the town of Jouy-en-Josas. Dating back as early as the 4th Century, Holi is a Hindu festival typical to India and Nepal. Otherwise known as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love”, it signifies the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. The festival has its origins in a Vishnu legend which honors the eponymous Hindu god and his follower Prahlada.

Along with sampling traditional Indian food, music and performances, participants also splashed each other with brightly colored, biodegradable powders, which signify spring and all the new hues it brings to nature. Photographer and HEC Paris MBA student Baskara Aditama was on hand to capture the spirit of the event:

 

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01 March 2017
HEC Paris representatives Aidan O'Connor and Sara Vanos meet with potential students during a Bogota MBA Fair.

HEC Paris representatives Aidan O’Connor and Sara Vanos meet with potential students during a Bogota MBA fair.

 

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Aidan O’Connor, I am relatively new to HEC Paris and relatively new to France in general. Like 90% of the HEC Paris MBA candidates, I am outside of my native borders (Canada, in my case) and adjusting to life in a new country. Fortunately, discovering other parts of the world is a passion of mine as I’ve been lucky to travel to almost 50 countries, so having the opportunity to represent the HEC Paris MBA Program as a Marketing and Recruitment Manager in Latin America and the Middle East is a perfect fit for me. And in February I did just that, by visiting five countries and six cities in two weeks.

Here’s what I learned.

Heeding the advice from current MBA candidates, like Jean Pierre and Claudia from Peru, Domingo from Chile, and Raphael, Rodolfo, and Anderson from Brazil, I was prepared to take on each country for the first time. What I wasn’t prepared for, but happily surprised by, was the overwhelming amount of interest from prospective candidates in each location. Just as we had hoped, the HEC Paris brand is becoming more and more recognized worldwide. My days and nights were jam-packed with 1-to-1 meetings, MBA fairs and our own hosted events. With every interaction, I encountered fantastic profiles, genuine kindness and undeniable passion; all of which will surely contribute to the steady growth of HEC Paris MBA candidates from Latin America.

It was great meeting Alumni currently living in Mexico City, including Guillermo Ferrari (MBA ’13), Ruben Yahir Ahumade Esteban, Cesar Vergara Sanroman, and Daniel Elizondo (MBA ’16)

It was great meeting alumni currently living in Mexico City, including Ruben Yahir Ahumade (MBA ’13), Guillermo Ferrari (MBA ’13), Cesar Vergara Sanroman (MBA ’16) and Daniel Elizondo (MBA ’16).

I also learned, unsurprisingly, that most prospective candidates are interested in changing their geography, industry or function, and I’m very thankful to the alumni on-hand who shared their unique perspectives on changing at least one of the three. For instance, Thiago Castello (Brazilian, MBA ’16) and Luiz Sollero (Brazilian, MBA ’16), who joined me in Rio de Janeiro, changed all three. Both just started working for Amazon; Thiago in Luxembourg and Luiz in Paris.

From the endless sand of Copacabana Beach, to the colorful, unique houses of Bogota, I found a different kind of beauty around every corner. It was frankly very inspiring to meet so many motivated individuals. As a result, I gained an acute understanding into the candidate-and-application process that I didn’t have before.

I cannot wait to do it all over again in September.

Latin America notables from a first-timer:

  •  Peruvian food is incredible, especially Aji de Gallina.
  •  When it’s 30+ degrees Celsius, nothing beats a pisco sour.
  •  Flying over the Andean Mountains (Andes) is absolutely amazing.

Interested in the HEC Paris MBA Program? Fill out a Candidate Profile today to receive a preliminary evaluation of your candidacy or contact me directly at oconnor@hec.fr.

Written by Aidan O’Connor, Marketing and Recruitment Manager for Latin America and the Middle East

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27 February 2017

We sheepishly admit it: It is satisfying to be the best. We are referring to the Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index, the prestigious annual ranking that reveals the academic backgrounds of the world’s top chief executives. The January 2017 edition names HEC Paris as the top business school in Europe for educating the CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies.

Here’s the breakdown of the world’s 10 leading educational institutions, showing the number of degrees they awarded to chief executives and their companies’ combined revenues:

Graph courtesy of the Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index

Graph courtesy of the Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index

To celebrate the ongoing power of the HEC Paris MBA to forge leaders, we decided to expand on the results of the Alma Mater Index and create our own list. The following highlights just a few HEC Paris MBA graduates who are currently working worldwide as chief executives. With nearly 4,000 HEC Paris alumni who are CEOs, CFOs or have founded their own companies, this list is far from complete. Think of it as a small sampling of the impact HEC Paris MBA graduates are having on the future of business worldwide.

To learn more about these and other alumni, visit the careers section of our website.

Banking and Finance

Pascal Cagni was the guest speaker at an Afterwork Drinks reception in Paris; Photo courtesy Matthieu Marquenet (MBA '13)

Pascal Cagni was recently the guest speaker at an Afterwork Drinks reception organized by alumni in Paris. Photo courtesy of Matthieu Marquenet (MBA ’13)

Pascal Cagni, MBA ’86
CEO, C4 Ventures

Pascal Cagni’s career trajectory is the stuff of business legend. An encounter with Steve Jobs on the Big Island of Hawaii (where the Apple cofounder was celebrating his 45th birthday) ended with Pascal accepting the position of General Manager and Vice President of Apple Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Under his 12-year tenure, Apple’s EMEA revenue increased from $1.3 billion in 2000 to nearly $40 billion in 2012. In 2014, Pascal founded C4 Ventures, a venture capital fund which invests in European startups and companies wanting to enter European markets.

Olivier Combastet, MBA ’86
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Pergam Finance

Sixteen years after it was founded, Pergam Finance manages assets valued at an estimated € 800 million. Under Olivier Combastet’s guidance, the company has earned a reputation for finding atypical investments for its customers. From railroad wagons to arable land in Uruguay to undeveloped real estate in the US, it’s been said that the former triathlete has a knack for finding investments not yet on the radars of other asset management companies.

Jean-Yves Fillion, MBA ’92
CEO, BNP Paribas USA and Head of CIB Americas

Jean-Yves Fillion started his career at BNP Paribas in 1984 as an account officer. He worked in several different departments before deciding to earn his MBA at HEC Paris in 1990. After his studies, he returned to BNP Paribas and became Vice-President of North America’s Corporate Banking Department. He was appointed CEO of BNP Paribas USA in 2012.

Energy

Emilie Flanagan, MBA ’14
Managing Director and Founder, Obi Partners Pte. Ltd.

After earning her MBA degree, Emilie Flanagan joined KPMG Singapore as a strategy consultant specialized in the Southeast Asian energy market. She left KMPG in 2015 to start her own company, Obi Partners, with the goal of decreasing the environmental impact of the palm oil industry and creating value from palm-oil waste streams. Obi now sources and structures $10-20 million transactions to develop and deploy small-scale renewable-energy infrastructure projects, such as hybrid solar and biogas power plants.

Hospitality

Ankit Gupta greets customers at the Dialogues Café in Bangalore.

Ankit Gupta greets customers at the Dialogues Café in Bangalore.

Ankit Gupta and Saurabh Priya, MBA ’16
Co-founders, Dialogues Café

After living and working in countries throughout the world, both Ankit Gupta and Saurabh Priya wanted to return to their native India to create their start-up. At Dialogues Café, patrons are charged for the time spent in the welcoming co-working space, and are provided with unlimited food and drinks–or they can choose to bring their own. Corporate level wifi, meeting spaces and a boardroom are provided, as are a wide range of books and board games. “We wanted to focus on building collaboration, and create a space where customers could meet, dream, discuss, share and execute ideas,” Saurabh explains.

Industry

Eric Olsen, MBA ’93
CEO, LafargeHolcim

Eric Olsen joined Lafarge North America in 1999, and subsequently worked in high-level positions in its finance, human resources and operations departments. When the company merged with Holcim in 2015, Eric became the CEO of the newly combined companies. At the time, the Financial Times reported that it was Eric’s international experience that caused the Board of Directors to tap him to head the group, which is the worldwide leader in the building industry.

Investment Services

Ole Rollag, MBA ’02
Managing Principal, Murano Connect

Ole Rollag started his career working as bond runner for Dean Witter. Upon graduating from the MBA, he joined Société Générale as a fund manager. In 2009, after working for big banks for nearly his entire career, Ole decided to create his own asset management consulting firm, Perfecta Partners. Murano Connect spun out of that business as an “investment dating service” connecting compatible funds with investors.

Luxury and Media

Xavier Romatet, MBA ’86
Vice President, Condé Nast International

Xavier Romatet (center) welcomes students during the Luxury Club's Trek to Paris.

Xavier Romatet (center) welcomes students during the Luxury Club’s Trek to Paris.

After completing his MBA, Xavier Romatet and fellow HEC Paris graduate Christophe Chenut (MBA ’86), created their own marketing company. In 1993, the company became part the DDB group, where Xavier served in several leadership positions, including president of Rapp Collins and the head of their French subsidiary. He stayed with DDB until 2006, when he was recruited to take the helm of Condé Nast France. His tenure as CEO included the launch of French-language versions of GQ and Vanity Fair. In January 2017, he was promoted to vice president of Condé Nast International.

Pharma

Michel Vounatsos, MBA ’90
CEO, Biogen, Inc.

He speaks six languages, runs marathons and has over 20 years of experience working for drug manufacturers in half a dozen different countries. In January 2017, Michel Vounatsos took on an even bigger challenge: leading Biogen, a Massachusetts-based biotech firm. Michel takes the helm at a critical time, when the company is delving into a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and considering entering markets outside of North America and Europe.

Retail

Marc Hanisch, MBA ’09
CEO, Dos Caballos

Despite its Spanish name, Dos Caballos is a German company established by MBA alumnus and world-class mountain biker Marc Hanisch. Using his own experience of powering through rough terrain on two horse power—the amount of force that most cyclists wish for while riding a racing or mountain bike—Marc is constantly testing, improving and advancing new products and trends in bike, sports and casual wear. Known for blending fashion with technical functionality, Marc compares his company’s high-end offerings to retailers like Ralph Lauren and La Martina.

Start-up

Bhavna Suresh, MBA ’16
CEO of Lamudi Philippines and MyProperty.ph

Lamudi is a leading global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. It offers sellers, buyers, landlords and renters a secure and easy-to-use platform to find or list properties online. Lamudi was established in 2013 in Berlin, and is currently available in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Within less than three years, the company has established its presence as a key online real estate marketplace in the countries where it is operating.  

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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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