Archive for June 2014

27 June 2014

Graduation is a day that is undoubtedly nerve-wracking. Falling over on stage, collecting the wrong diploma and being late for the ceremony are all scenarios that commonly play out in the minds of soon-to-be graduates. Not forgetting that our 2014 Graduation Ceremony was held on Friday 13th June, it’s easy to see why a few of our MBA Class of 2014 were more than a little nervous come the morning. As is usually the case, however, these fears were proven totally unfounded last Friday as our MBA Class of 2014 graduated without a hitch and with plenty of sunshine.

The day started early, with a welcome lunch buffet and cocktail held in the MBA building on campus. This was more than mere ceremony, as this the graduating class was the first to have their classes based in the newly designed building which opened September 2012, coinciding with the launch of the new curriculum. Indeed, this was a class of firsts: the first run for the new curriculum, the first appearance of the HEC Zebra at MBAT and the first Saint-Cyr seminar that resembled Noah’s Ark more than a mere field exercise.

For many of our graduating class, the graduation was a chance to be reunited with classmates for the first time since classes ended last December. A lot can change in 6 months; jobs have been found, promotions have been earned and babies have been born, and so the buffet was a perfect chance for students, friends and families to catch up before the formalities got underway.

The MBA ceremony was a nostalgic affair, with the Associate Dean of the MBA Program at HEC Paris Bernard Garrette, setting out to present the first ever “virtual” graduation ceremony via webcam in keeping with the presentation’s ‘Digital Transformation’ theme. He soon emerged on stage, however, reliving the highs and lows of the Class of 2014 before introducing the Class Patron and Chief Development Officer at Capgemini Group, Pierre-Yves Cros (HEC Paris MBA Class of 1984) to the stage. Cros spoke succinctly, sharing his secrets for success with the graduating class and advising them to listen to nothing but their own instinct: “If I had listened to my parents, my friends, my teachers… I would not be where I am today.”

With this advice in mind, our students were ready to collect their diplomas, making the transformation from HEC Paris MBA Students to HEC Paris MBA Alumni. Following the presentation of the Academic Awards to the students with the highest GPAs, each student was called up individually to collect their diploma on stage, to a chorus of applause and the occasionally shout of encouragement from the audience.

A class photo soon followed – including the obligatory “cap in the air” shot – as well as the grand ceremony for all graduates from every program at HEC Paris. Here they were addressed by the Dean of HEC Paris, Bernard Ramanantsoa and his distinguished guests, with the announcement of the Dean’s List 2014 celebrating the best and brightest from across the school, both in terms of leadership development and academic quality. Included on this list were MBA students Hamassala David Dicko, Malik Baudry, Julie Haspeslagh, Impreet Natt, Emilie Flanagan, Ashley Bienvenu, Jodi Neuman, Thomas Philbeck, Subajan Sivandran and Mark Thomas – Congratulations!

So with the end of the ceremony (and one final dance) came the end of the MBA at HEC Paris for our graduates. After a day charged with nostalgia, congratulations and goodbyes, feelings were decidedly mixed. Yamini Naik summed up the feelings of the class well; “I’m kind of both happy and sad about leaving HEC Paris. It’s been an amazing experience, but now after nearly 2 years I am ready to move on and I am excited about the future!”

Of course, this isn’t a goodbye for our graduates; as they now go on to play an important role as HEC Alumni within our global 50,000-strong network. While their role within the school may have changed, it is by no means diminished.

Best of luck to our graduates, stay in touch!

For more on this year’s Graduation ceremonies at HEC Paris, check out our storify here and listen to our SoundCloud below.

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19 June 2014

When filming for our Student Profiles, there are a few topics that come up time and time again: the MBA Tournamentthe Leadership Seminar at Saint-Cyr, Professor Rosu’s Financial Markets Class, and, of course, the Global Consulting Practicum (GCP) in partnership with Wharton.

Indeed, the chance to participate in the GCP – a consulting project carried out by HEC Paris and Wharton MBA students (in total making a team of 11), in conjunction with a paying real-life client such as Microsoft or the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation – is the decisive factor for many in coming to do an MBA at HEC Paris. “It was definitely one of my main motivations in coming here. Within a month of arriving on campus we had already made our team up and were looking for projects to get involved in,” says Hugo Kuo, one of the six HEC Paris students who took part in this year’s project.

This year’s project addressed the spread of cloud technology, and how that can play an important role in the expansion and sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises in the Private Sector. You can read more about the details of this mission on the Wharton website here.

Once the project, client and teams were announced in October last year, our team were hard at work; researching, arranging interviews and organizing team meetings once a week, be it in person, through email or even via Skype. They also had to begin working closely with the Wharton contingent (no mean feat, with time differences, entire oceans and geographical distance standing between them) to find a good way to coordinate and synchronize.

In January, the team got stuck into their work as they departed for Benin and Rwanda to meet with the client and conduct interviews with employees and industry experts. This was also the first time that the two teams from Wharton and HEC Paris met in real-life; it would be the last time, too, until the final presentation in Philadelphia in May.

This field visit was the first practical experience of consulting for many of our students, as they got to grips with the task at hand. It also served as a stark example of the power and breadth of our Alumni network, as Hugo recalls, “There was one company in Benin that our client had been trying to arrange a meeting with for some time, but they just couldn’t get through the door. Luckily, we found out that the CEO was actually an HEC Alum, and so we were able to get in touch with him and arrange a meeting no problem!”

In fact, you could say that the GCP itself is an exercise in networking to a certain extent. Not only do the participants get to name both HEC Paris and Wharton on their CVs, but they also get to meet with prestigious clients and get a handle on the working culture of three different continents: Africa, North America and Europe.

Alongside this new knowledge of how to adapt to work within different cultures (the teams were multicultural within themselves, too), the GCP allows participants to gain a whole new transferable skillset that can be adapted to fit almost any industry, from Marketing to Consulting. “I learned a lot during the GCP,” says Iuliana Covaci, another of this year’s HEC participants, “how to present and deliver key messages, how SMEs in emerging countries function, how to manage large-scale projects, as well as how to work within a team of 11 when disagreements arise.” This is not just a project for budding strategists.

While it may seem that the field visit was the climax of the project, the real work really begun when the team returned to HEC Paris in February. With monthly check-ups with the client and the final presentation to the client in May approaching, our team really had to get down to work; Hugo – a Part-time MBA student at HEC Paris – took two months away from work in order to focus on the project.

For the final presentation in mid-May, our team flew into Philadelphia for one final meeting with the Wharton team. They then presented their final recommendations to the client and answered any questions the panel had. Recommendations made and job done, the client was delighted with the work of the HEC Paris and Wharton team and vowed to take the team’s recommendations on board. And the feeling was mutual. “They really made us feel as though we were part of the company,” says Hugo, “We weren’t just ignored for nine months and then judged only on our final presentation; they really made an effort to stay in touch with us, giving their comments and encouraging us to think in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise. They took our final comments into consideration and even agreed to collaborate with another company we recommended.”

For more information on the Global Consulting Practicum with Wharton, please visit our website.

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04 June 2014

Alyssa is a recent but welcome addition to our team at HEC Paris MBA, arriving in January. As Development Manager for the Middle East, Africa, Oceania and East & South Asia, Alyssa works to attract the best candidates from these regions. Her job means that she is often travelling, attending MBA fairs around the world and answering questions from candidates. When on campus, Alyssa attends Development events such as Roland Garros, campus visits and individual meetings with prospective candidates, either online or in person.

Despite all the travelling and country-hopping, for Alyssa, the best bit of her job is “getting to meet highly intelligent people… you have so many ambitious, motivated people all in the same room and you really have to up your game. It’s inspiring.” As diversity is one of the key values at the heart of our MBA ethos, with 85% of our students coming from outside of France, Alyssa’s job is crucial in ensuring that our student body is as multicultural as it is academically excellent.

Of course, Alyssa’s exposure to prospective MBA students makes her somewhat of an expert at spotting high potential candidates. When asked what she thinks makes a candidate stand out from this ambitious and intelligent crowd, she says, “For me, it’s all about showing real motivation and personality in your application.” She also, however, underlines the importance of creating a clear outline of your future goals and professional aspirations, “Obviously not everyone is going to know exactly where they’ll be in 5 years’ time, but you need to know what you are trying to achieve and get out of an MBA, such as networking, gaining a deeper understanding of business or developing key leadership and managerial skills.” Alyssa suggests getting in touch with our Alumni to help consolidate your plans, or even sending an email to one of our Development Team.

And as for advice, for those considering applying to HEC Paris MBA? “I would recommend targeting only 2-3 schools max; really focus and use your energy to get accepted into those programs!”

If you are interested in knowing more about our MBA program and your MBA potential, you can attend Development events such as MBA fairs and Networking Sessions, all over the world throughout the year. On the horizon for Alyssa is a tour of Asia and the Middle East, fall 2014.

See our full Development Calendar here.

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