Archive for November 2013

28 November 2013

It’s likely that you have come across this blog after clicking on a link on our website. If you’re a frequent visitor, or if you’re particularly eagle-eyed, you may have noticed some changes; the site looks completely different for one thing, and the content has changed for another. Yes, Monday saw the launch of our brand new HEC Paris MBA website, the culmination of months of work and collaboration by the whole MBA community.

Falling in sync with our newly restructured curriculum, the site marks the latest in a series of changes in our offering at HEC Paris MBA. Our thinking behind the redesign was natural: to make our site more accessible, concise and easy to use, for all users. We wanted our visitors to feel part of the community, with the inclusion of Student Testimonies and individual Student Profiles giving you a real glimpse of life on campus and of the culture at HEC Paris MBA, as well as a dedicated ‘Faculty’ page, where you can read about each member of our teaching staff, in order to showcase the expertise that we are able to offer our students. We also wanted to give you as much information as possible, with a detailed breakdown of our Admissions Process, and of our MBA Curriculum with our Course Index, leaving you with a clear idea of the HEC Paris MBA offering and mindset.

And that’s not all that is new. Featuring prominently on our homepage, our new communications campaign features current CEOs and past HEC Paris students as they endorse the MBA experience. Featuring Jean-Paul Agon (CEO of L’Oreal), Francois-Henri Pinault (CEO of Kering) and Mercedes Erra (Executive President of Havas Worldwide) amongst others, this campaign serves to highlight HEC Paris’ ability to mold future business leaders.

So far, the feedback has been positive. Change often serves to divide opinion – there were a few nervous faces in the office on Monday morning – but with comments ranging from the specific, “I liked the Quick Facts Sections” (Pooja Bhardwaj) to the more general, “Great job! I love it” (David Hsu), it seems that the changes have been well-received, with Neisha Fernandes even suggesting the “SchoolPride” hashtag on Twitter!

Of course, the launch of the website does not mean that our job is done. With further changes planned, it is full steam ahead for the next stage of development, as we continue to evolve and adapt to the demands of our prospective and current students.

We hope that you like the new site as much as we do; enjoy!

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12 November 2013

“Do what you love in a job that makes you learn, and you’ll be doing the right job.”

When meeting Marc Onetto, ex-Vice President of Worldwide Operations and Customer Service at the Global giant that is Amazon, it’s hard not to feel just a little bit inspired. I admit I was nervous, facing  a man whose career has been nothing short of illustrious with only a crumpled sheet of handwritten questions to hand.

Prior to joining Amazon in 2006, Marc Onetto was Executive Vice President of Worldwide Operations for Solectron, a $12 billion leader in electronics manufacturing and integrated supply-chain service, where he has been credited with leading the company turnaround in 2003. He has also been awarded the « Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite », a French decoration given to mark his contribution to Franco-American business collaboration – it’s safe to say the man knows his business.

But within seconds of speaking to him, you forget all that. With an opening line of “So you’re English? My wife is English; that’s how I learnt that the customer is always right – she is too!” it’s pretty hard to feel intimidated.

Organized by Michel Safars, Associate Professor of Strategy & Business Policy at HEC Paris MBA, the title of Onetto’s talk – prepared as part of the launch of the newly redesigned Entrepreneurship track at HEC MBA (more on that soon!) – was “@ Amazon it is Still Day One,” a name Marc was only too happy to elaborate on:

“The idea of it still being Day One at Amazon signifies our desire to keep the “start-up” mind-set; we want to have the same spirit as a small company, despite being a larger company. When you’re a start-up, the only thing that matters is that you are providing a good product or service to your customers.”


… And that pretty sums up the content of Onetto’s presentation; Amazon still places the emphasis on customer satisfaction above all else – “This is not the chicken and the egg;  the customer always comes first” – and still holds the customer in the same esteem as it did the day Jeff Bezos first sold a book from his original garage headquarters. Onetto put this ‘customer-centricity’ down as a key factor in Amazon’s overwhelming success (“you don’t Google a product anymore, you Amazon it”) alongside Amazon’s dedication to the ‘3 Golden Rules of e-commerce’:

  1. Good price
  2. Good product selection
  3. Good delivery

Pretty simple, right? The third and final of these 3 rules was the one that Onetto was charged with during his 6 year stint at Amazon. As Vice President of Worldwide Operations, he was responsible for ensuring that people’s parcels arrived when they were meant to, in good condition and without hassle to the customer; or, in Onetto’s words, ensuring that Amazon could “walk the talk” by making sure that Amazon continued to deliver on its promises to customers. Obviously his job required a lot of logistics, a lot of metrics, as millions of parcels are sent across the world and delivered by Amazon every day, but Onetto insists that he always had the customer’s interests at heart, rather than opting for the easiest possible option to hand.

There is something in the whole “Day One” mind-set which seems amazingly simple; serve your customers well, and they will continue to give you their business in return. Sticking with the basic principles of start-up business certainly seems to have worked for Jeff Bezos, and no one can argue with the methodology of customer-centricity, but surely there must be something else, another secret to Amazon’s success?

“Don’t bow to the latest fad, take a long term view. Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it; that’s how you become average.”

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