Archive for April 2012

18 April 2012

“The colourful mist of culture, food and the diversity of India which had descended over the HEC Paris campus over the last week was slowly disappearing. The sound of the “Bhangra music” and boisterous singing greeted the air as we walked towards the Piano Bar, the on-campus socialising hotspot for MBA participants. As we walked, I reflected on the wonderful week that had just flown by.

The India Week is annually organized by the Indian participants of the HEC Paris MBA program and the Grand Ecole. This year it was held a few weeks following “Holi”, the Indian festival of colors. Although Indian food and Bollywood music are well known to everyone, the MBA and Grand Ecole students wanted to show the true meaning of being Indian, beyond food and music, – that is to say, “dive into the culture of a billion people, come and explore the true India”.

The Air India – India Week 2012 commenced with the celebration of Holi, on the HEC Campus. With special colours or “Rang” brought over from India, Holi was celebrated by both international and Indian students whole-heartedly.

However, this special week was not only intended to showcase the Indian culture but also the business enterprise of Indian companies in the form of Air India, the event’s main sponsor, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), InFact Group and India House. It was an honor to be associated with such illustrious names from the Indian business world and I, on behalf of the organisers, would like to thank them for their contributions.

InFact Group accepted to give a short presentation about their business and also discussed potential job opportunities in Paris. As a double delight, a Bollywood treat in the form of the internationally acclaimed movie, “Monsoon Wedding”, was screened on the campus along with snacks and specially prepared “Masala Coke”, a concoction of Indian spices and Coca-Cola.

A highlight of the Air India – India Week 2012 was the “Cultural Booth” held during the noon break between lectures. A unique opportunity for international students was presented in the form of the “Pani-Puri Workshop” by the Indian MBA students. Students and staff alike enjoyed the wonderful sweet and tangy flavours of the Pani-Puri’s that left the taste-buds craving for more. The “Photo Booth” was also a big hit with students – a photo opportunity to be an “Aladdin”, a “Maharaja” or a beautiful Indian “Maharani” (Queen) or Princess was too good to resist for many. Mouth-watering samosas and Choley Masala were also served as accompaniments to the amazing Pani-Puri.

For the Grand Finale, the Gala Night was THE standout of the whole Week. Commencing with a showcase of the various languages of India, the night began with a harmonious demonstration of the Indian percussion instrument, the “Tabla” by Anshuman Sarangi (MBA Graduate 2012). This was followed by an explosion of Indian folk dance and music, the Bhangra, demonstrated by the famous Indian Dance troupe from Paris called “Waris Punjabi De”.

Following a sumptuous Indian dinner, an Indian Fashion show and dance performances enthralled the crowd and the Air India – India Week 2012 ended with a special Indian Disco at the Piano Bar.

As part of the organizing team, I felt happy that the Indian community at HEC Paris was so enthusiastic and willing to spare time in contributing towards this event in spite of the demanding schedule. A successful event cannot be achieved without great teamwork and I would like to thank each one volunteer and participant for their great work. Well, enough of reflection …….now is the time to “turn the light bulb, pat the dog” and sing out loud – “O Balle Balle!!”

Kartik Kadle, HEC MBA Full-Time Participant, Class of 2013

Photos contributed by: LoVern Van Tonder and Shubham Bhattacharya

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02 April 2012

“I would define the CFA Research Challenge as one of my most exciting, learning experiences from MBA program at HEC Paris. This topic comes to my mind everytime I think of my MBA during the fundamental phase, and I am very happy to share this experience with everybody here. The official description of the CFA Institute Research Challenge can be found at the end of this blog post, however I would like to share my own impressions.
It was the end of September when the Finance Club leadership team announced that there was going to be a competition organized by CFA institute and that HEC was looking to enter. The objective of the competition was to write an analyst sell-side report on the French company selected by the CFA Organization. I was attracted to the competition as I really wanted to learn more about financial industry and the proper way a report should be done.

After organizing a team of 5 people (4 MBA students: Antoine Cossart, Stephane Quenet, Elli Suzuki and myself, and 1 student from Masters in International Finance Stanley Yeung) – we attended a kick-off meeting where we found out the name of the company – GROUPE SEB. As I am not French and the company is French, I had not heard of them before. But when my French team-members told me that this company owns international brands such as Tefal, Krups, Moulinex and Rowenta, it became obvious that our research would be interesting. Moreover it appeared that the L’Universite Lille 2 had won this competition over the last 4 consecutive years, and that put some pressure on us. But that was only the beginning…

In fact the research and the competition itself exceeded all of our expectations. On the one hand, we had very intense compulsory studies and on the other, we had to find time to work on the report. So the efficiency level we needed and the effort per hour to put into it was huge from all of the team members. And we were all very different – 5 different nationalities, different characters, different previous work and non-work experience, different skills, different time-schedules and different other commitments and different time-zones during the Christmas break, we nevertheless made this huge diversity our strong competitive advantage.

The mentor from BNP Paribas who was assigned to guide us, Norberto Cordisco, helped us to start actually working. When the input information from the kick-off meeting is just a company’s name and format of the report, and none of us has ever written this kind of report, to understand just what to start with and how to split the workload was essential. But we had a great team and everybody was willing to learn.
I do not have to mention that I would never expect that just by researching one company you almost memorize any corporate finance book: industry and business analysis, financial analysis, modeling and valuation, risks etc . We submitted the report on January 2nd , and we finalized it only on January 1st! Great start to the New Year. One month later, we received an invitation to the French National final. Out of 12 teams only 4 were invited to present their reports. So we had only 2 weeks to make a presentation, write a speech and to defend our hold position of the stock which performed extremely well during the last 10 years. Not an easy task I should say.
Deciding whether you should buy, hold or sell the stock of the company you already very much like, writing a report and making it coherent, compiling a pitching presentation, writing and trying to squeeze the speech in only 10 minutes, memorizing the speech and trying to guess what questions you might be asked at Q&A session, rehearsing the speech 100 times to yourself and presenting your research in front of the panel of senior investment analysts and equity research directors – just to name a few of the challenges our team faced.
We managed to get ready 4 days before the presentation and asked for the feedback our 2 corporate finance professors: Pascal Quiry and Yann LeFur. We really appreciated that they both not only devoted a substantial amount of their precious time to actually read the 10-page report and look through all the additional 16 pages of appendixes, but also they separately listened to our presentation and discussed with us how we can improve it.
And the result was rewarding – we won the French Final. In fact, HEC won the French level for the first time this year and that was a great achievement for us. Needless to say that it was not the presentation itself but mainly Q&A session that was a decisive factor for a winning team. Here you can really make a difference by answering the questions about the French company in France. And YES, we made that difference!
That was however not the case with the EMEA Final in London. For the London competition we would have to compete with 23 other national winning teams from 23 countries. And as by March 15th – the date of the competition – we had already known the actual 2011 numbers of the company performance, we had to do some homework on not only presenting the French company to European judges but also to update all the data and valuation model for the actual 2011 results. And of course, we rehearsed again and presented to our 2 corporate finance professors again.
The event in London itself was really well organized – everybody in the same hotel, 2 days of networking, different speakers presentations and a competition of course. At 7pm on the 2nd day we knew a winning team who would go to Global Final in New York in April – it was Stockholm School of Economy. Good job guys!!!
Of course it was kind of sad that we did not win but we left the event with the feeling of being proud to have represented France in CFA Challenge in London. It was 6 months of work, we advanced to EMEA Regional Finals, we presented a strong recommendation and the presentation was one of the team’s best performances. And we also greatly enjoyed the learning experience and the teamwork experience. With lots of challenges we had, I am very glad I had this chance and opportunity to participate, to learn and experience it.
Time to pass to the next HEC team in CFA IR Challenge – the bar is high, but I believe next team will make it. And the experience and learning are definitely worth all the difficulties and efforts.”

Olga Malovetskaya, member of HEC team in CFA IRC, MBA participant, Class 2013

CFA Institute member societies host and launch local competitions involving teams of three to five business or finance students (graduate or undergraduate) from participating universities. Mentored by senior professionals, each team researches and prepares an investment recommendation based on analysis of a local publicly traded company. The teams’ findings are then presented at the local event and are evaluated by a panel of high-profile heads of research, portfolio managers and chief investment officers. The local winners advance to regional competitions in Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA, and the winners of those events travel to compete in the global final.

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