Archive for November 2014

27 November 2014

Sitanshu Shekhar, HEC Paris MBA, Class of 2015

What is it like to be a student at HEC Paris MBA? Student Voices is a student contributed section where current students share their first-hand experiences of life on campus and beyond.

 

champagne cup 2014 (3)

Ryder Cup is the premier golf team tournament in the world, and every golf fan dreams of playing in one. So on the weekend of the 2014 Ryder Cup, I thought, how much fun would it be if we could play in similar tournament against INSEAD. So after some inquiries from INSEAD students, I finally got hold of their Golf Captain. He jumped on the idea of a match between the two schools on the rules of the Ryder Cup. We decided to hold the first edition of the tournament on the 2nd of November at their home course, Chateau D’Augerville. We were divided between the name of the tournament – Paris Cup or Champagne Cup, but decided to go with Champagne cup, as the winning team would drink a bottle of champagne from the cup!!!

champagne cup 2014 (2)

 

With the sun shining on a beautiful Autumn morning, we departed for Augerville in high spirits. The team consisted of Andrew Young, Alfonso Alvarez Prieto, Othmane Benlamine, Yukiko Toyoda and me. After some quick introductions with the INSEAD team, we got down to the business of golf. The course was tough, and INSEAD played some really good golf to beat us convincingly. But, it was not a day of wining and losing, but of making new friends and golf buddies. The day ended with prize winning ceremony, a few rounds of beers and lots of laughs. When I look back at that day, I like to think of it as the start of something historic and special, just like the Ryder Cup.

Champagne cup1

 

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10 November 2014

The HEC Paris MBA Net Impact Club and Women in Leadership Club recently organized Driving Change, a roundtable in which three exceptional women shared their experiences, explaining how they drive change in both for-profit and non-profit activities.

The guests speakers included: Estelle Mironesco, a consultant and coach in Sustainable Leadership, Christelle Van Ham, a consultant in Social Entrepreneurship, and Emilie Vuillequez, the co-founder of Pro Bono Lab.

The aim of the event was to present unconventional stories. The guest speakers had all benefited from an excellent educational background and had started their careers in business, but, after a few years, they decided to switch from the more traditional finance and consulting sectors into professions which focus on sustainable leadership, social entrepreneurship, and innovation-led practices.

“They are now successful entrepreneurs because they didn’t limit themselves: they wanted to have an impact in society and were committed to creating value; they weren’t afraid of hard times and took risks to achieve their goals.” (Giovanna Santaniello – Class of 2015)

Both male and female MBA participants found these women inspiring, and were eager to learn about their personal backgrounds and career trajectories. They also wanted to discover more about their ways of thinking: the skills they found crucial for driving change in today’s society, and the key challenges faced in making conventional financial services act more responsibly. Looking ahead, the speakers and participants also discussed what consumers and stakeholders can expect from business leaders over the coming years in terms of sustainability.

The event marked a breakthrough moment, with these remarkable speakers being considered not only guests, but influencers and opinion makers.

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05 November 2014

The Career Management Center has put in place a series of bootcamps that give students in inside look into key career sectors from industry experts.

Last month, students had the opportunity to follow a multi-day Consulting bootcamp, full of presentations, case studies and insider tips from  former Executive Recruiter at McKinsey & Co, Nick Oak.

What does he advice students interested in a career with a top consulting firm? Below, we ask him a few questions on how best to prepare the competitive consulting application process.

How important is the preparation process for a career in consulting?

Without specific case interview practice I can categorically say the probability of a career in consulting are low – so very important; however, MBA students will often, realizing this obvious importance, over prepare by attempting to figuring out all “correct answers” via repetition.

This over fixation on practice alone is a huge mistake as consulting firms are evaluating candidates for their ability to demonstrate sound judgement and thinking that produces the right answers and not the correct answers themselves.

What kind of background/skills/qualities do big consulting firms look for in the hiring process?

This changes year to year and depends on the firms; however, let me provide the following list of attributes that standout:

-  Strong undergraduate experience

-  Outstanding professional experience before MBA

-  Competitive internship

-  Academic performance during MBA

-  Leadership:  evidence of leading people, groups and organizations

-  Extracurricular and community involvement

-  GMAT/GRE score

-  Networking, networking and networking

No one item above will get you an interview, indeed, it is the sum total of the consulting firms interpretation of your background that will answer if an interview will happen; however, most weaknesses can be overcome with diligent networking if you are able to find an advocate, especially a HEC alumni, at the firm of your interest.

What do people need to know about the case analysis aspect of the recruitment process?

The case should not highlight only their ability to do cases but should demonstrate they can leverage the learnings from the MBA program as a tool to strengthen and deepen their problem solving skills.  Also, the case is only half of the assessment as the behavioral interviews will need as much preparation.  Some firms will also have a standardized test which will need some attention although not as much as the case and behavioral.

What is important to know in order to succeed in consulting?

MBA students need to start the transformation process to grow now.  Everything they are learning will be useful if they successfully navigate the interview process and get a job as a consultant.  This evolutionary process starts by first applying the listening, thinking and verbalization skills in their classes and by collaborating to learn from not only the professors, but more importantly, from other students.

This deliberate cultivation of  their time at HEC will empower them to do well during the interview process and succeed during their tenure in consulting.  Some obvious issues to focus on are as follows:

-  Don’t pick the easiest answers.  Think critically about possible counterintuitive and unintended outcomes that are discovered by evaluating interdependence (we had examples during case practice).

-  Recast data to realize not only what it tells you but more importantly what it doesn’t say

-  Without listening carefully nothing else much matters.  Start by listening well to your peers.

-  Work on your verbalization and speak in a structure manner thoughtfully.  This means don’t speak quickly with the easiest and most obvious point that pops into your mind – take time to formulate a response that characterizes critical thinking and practice it daily.

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