Name: David Hsu
Nationality: American and Taiwanese
Intake: September 2012 Full-Time
Club Involvement: President of Luxury Club, VP Corporate Relations for Wines & Spirits Club, VP Communications for MBAT, PR & Digital Marketing Officer for MBA Council
Prior to starting my MBA at HEC Paris I was a Publicist and Social Media Consultant in New York City. I had lived in the “Concrete Jungle” for a little over four years before the big move to Paris. Having done PR and social media for hospitality and luxury brands I wanted to make the switch to business development and strategy for the same type of brands.
I was attracted to HEC Paris because of its strength in luxury and its proximity to Paris. The opportunity to study with Jean-Noël Kapferer and Vincent Bastien, authors of “The Luxury Strategy,” was too good an opportunity to turn down. The added bonus of being able to pursue the Luxury Strategies Certificate, where I would learn from practitioners in the field of luxury and gain hands-on experience working on a project for PPR Luxury Group, further reassured me that I was making the right decision when I ultimately chose HEC Paris over other U.S. based MBA programs.
Boarding my one-way ticket to Paris was nerve wrecking to say the least; but my experiences since I’ve been at HEC Paris have confirmed that this was the best decision I’ve ever made. Even before arriving on campus my HEC Paris experience began; during the application process I realized how helpful the current students and more importantly the alumni are. One alumnus in particular advised me throughout my application process, gave me tips once I got admitted and has since welcomed me with open arms and introduced me to the “City of Light.” The alumni and classmates from the earlier intakes, with their enthusiasm and generosity have made the transition easier than I had expected.
Besides the alumni, the professors here are first class in their fields of expertise. For someone that is essentially allergic to Quant and had no interest in Finance before setting foot on campus, my Financial Markets professor, Ioanid Rosu, was able to not only teach me the subject but also pique my interest. This one class actually has me considering the Finance Track during my Personalized Phase of the program, those that know me understands how shocking this is.
Saving the best for last, my favorite aspect of a day at HEC Paris is when classes are finished and club activities and the social life commences. There is basically a club for every professional interest, but if there’s something that interests you but no club exists, the MBA Council is very welcoming in helping you create one. For instance, one of my classmates founded the Wines & Spirits club, and every month we have a tasting and a speaker that teaches us about wine and the industry. Clubs play a huge part in my life here and even before arriving on campus the president two terms ago was incredibly helpful in introducing me to the Luxury club. As a result, I was able to hit the ground running and immerse myself in the Luxury club immediately.
Which brings me to the most surprising and beneficial aspect of the program in my opinion. The admissions committee has gathered an extraordinary and truly diverse student body. Over the summer, the number one thing on my mind was what would my future classmates be like? I now have friends from all corners of the world whom I can turn to when I need advice, help or simply to share a drink and unwind after a long day of classes and club activities. Whether it’s during study groups or at a party in the Piano Bar, I’ve learned more from my classmates and they’ve taught me more about myself than I thought was possible.
Although I’ve only been here for one term, the past four months have been spectacular and as corny as it sounds have truly changed me. Who I am now would not have been possible just eight short months ago, before I replied to that acceptance letter with a Yes.
If you would like to learn more about my MBA experiences at HEC Paris you can get a first hand view from my twitter: @Hsud. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.