With 90% of our MBA student body coming from outside of France, HEC Paris MBA is a truly international scene. The tremendous range of nationalities and backgrounds makes the MBA an exciting and enriching experience, but the benefits aren’t just limited to the classroom. The student-led cultural weeks are always highly anticipated here on campus, giving students and staff alike a week-long immersion into the cultures, traditions, and cuisines of their peers.
With 2 consecutive cultural weeks, November was a particularly busy month. The Brits were first up, kicking off the festivities with a beautifully presented High Tea. For Sitanshu Shekhar, organizing the cultural week was a perfect opportunity to shake Britain’s reputation for terrible cuisine, and the chance to offer something a little more unique: “Instead of the usual dinner, the high tea was all about sophistication and elegance. Though I am not sure how successful it was in its goals, as it probably reinforced the stereotype of snobby tea drinkers.” Snobbiness aside – with champagne, cakes, scones, and a range of sandwiches on offer, the event was a resounding success. This was followed by a screening of Richard Curtis’ classic, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ in the Piano Bar to round off the night in a truly British fashion.
Next came the Indian cultural week, and the chance to celebrate and showcase the richness and diversity of the Indian student body at HEC Paris MBA. For Aastha Sharma, the week’s events were about showcasing the breadth and variety of Indian culture: “We may all look similar, share an affinity for spicy food and rock the dance floor on Thursday nights, but we also have very different cultural upbringing, from speaking different Indian languages to following different Indian customs – which in itself makes each one of us unique.”
A surprise Bollywood-themed flash mob in the foyer of the S building caught students unaware and generated much excitement for the events to come. First came the ‘Mela’, an Indian fair, where students had the opportunity to try a variety of Indian snacks and drinks, and buy some traditional, hand-made arts and crafts. This was proceeded by a dinner and film night in the Piano Bar. Delicious food aside, the cultural weeks serve a greater purpose – as Johan Matthai put it: “One of the biggest intangible benefits of any international MBA is the relationships you build with people from all over the world. This is even ‘truer’ for the HEC Paris MBA, as diversity is one of the elements listed by a large number of students from my cohort when choosing their school. In line with this, cultural weeks provide a unique and ideal platform to truly infuse a country’s culture into the general student body. I was delighted at the interest shown by my friends from other countries, for in between the spicy curry and the Bollywood moves; I do believe they experienced something they’d cherish for some time to come!”