31 January 2016

Last fall, Poets & Quants introducted new MBA students from our September intake. To complement this, we are presenting a few students from the January intake who together make up the Class of 2017. With experience from around the world in fields such finance, pharmacy and consulting, the newest set of students has already gone through welcome week and integration week and is now well under way in their first semester of core courses. Kumari A Kumari Aminarta


Previous studies: Management and Finance, Institute for Financial Management and Research

Previous experience:  Associate, Goldman Sachs

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? Having worked predominantly in the finance industry, I wanted to learn and broaden my perspective on other functions like sales & marketing, operations, technology etc. At the same time, I also wanted to develop an international outlook. As a professional who is looking to work on and get involved in international assignments, I believe it becomes paramount to understand how different functions interact and complement each other and how they change in a global context. I think an MBA will help me achieve these.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? There were multiple reasons behind my decision. Given my educational background and 6 years of experience in the industry, I was looking for a short duration program. Also, HEC seemed the perfect place to help me develop a truly international outlook. The class size here is small but truly diverse, representing more than 30 nationalities, and the average experience of students is close to 5 years. Further, HEC Paris has an outstanding alumni network and is known to be the Alma matter of Europe’s top executives.  Close proximity to Paris makes the MBA experience more enriching. What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to experience both MBAT and the leadership seminar at St. Cyr.

What advice do you have for future applicants? My main advice to future applicants will be to take time and understand what they are really looking to achieve from an MBA. Each applicant has different career aspirations and personal goals and it is important to clearly reflect on those. Based on this, one should do an extensive research on business schools to identify the right fit. Applying to a business school is a long and time consuming process. I think each step should be carefully thought through and executed. larisa

Larisa Burakova


Previous studies: Public Administration, London School of Economics and Political Science

Previous experience Consultant, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? Once a person evaluating my CV concluded that it seems that I am more a thinker than a manager, that is when it became crystal clear to me that I have to prove to myself and others that I intend to be a manager who thinks. I applied to the HEC Paris MBA program because I wanted to switch career from the public sector to the private sector. After receiving a bachelors degree in business management I leaned towards public administration, however my varied undertakings in the public sector make me confident that I can realise my potential to its fullest only in the private sector. I believe that in the private sector I could see the results of my hard work as a visible outcome with a tangible impact. I have business ideas I want to realise and I see the MBA program as an ideal start for my career in the private sector after seven years working for an NGO, the media and an international organisation.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? I have chosen the HEC Paris MBA program because I think it is the best opportunity for sector switchers. The HEC Paris MBA program values the diversity of students’ backgrounds, the mid-term program length allows students to steadily immerse into a new role, and also provides an opportunity to get work experience in a company while still studying. I believe that the program will help me to fully discover myself through providing me with new challenges and letting me again enjoy being on a steep learning curve, and will keep up my learning agility. The program will broaden my understanding of business processes and will equip me with the tools necessary to go through the business adventure. But most importantly, the HEC Paris MBA program will put me with like-minded people: learning from them, brainstorming ideas together, competing and cooperating with each other – I believe these are the most important elements in achieving success in business and life.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? I look forward to experiencing hands-on leadership programs, such as an MBA Tournament (MBAT) and a situational leadership seminar in St.Cyr. I would say that the decision to chose HEC Paris for an MBA program was at a certain extent influenced by being able to participate in these leadership programs. Last but not least, I am thrilled to participate at the TEC-on-campus program. I find the TEC On-Campus practice of trusted dialogues in a small group being a very beneficial environment for developing various soft skills.

What advice do you have for future applicants? To place a bigger emphasis on the activities outside the academic curriculum and to settle down in France before starting the classes – you will take a deep dive into the MBA activities right from day one without getting your breath.   Mayra D (2) Mayra Durand


Previous studies: Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

Previous experience: Drug Safety Analyst, Roche

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program?    I reached a level in my career in which the development of my leadership and managerial skills was crucial to grow professionally. I needed to develop soft skills that I wasn’t able to develop in my daily work and during my 5 years of undergraduate studies. I needed a special environment designed to develop all my potential. Despite not having a management background, I felt the need to challenge myself and I decided to study an MBA.

What led you to choose HEC Paris?  I was looking for one of the best programs in the world and I wanted to learn from brilliant classmates in an amazing international environment. I also chose HEC because of its excellent reputation, curriculum and its great location and infrastructure.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? I’m really looking forward to start the TEC On Campus, a really unique leadership experience, the MBAT (helping with the organization of the event and also participating in some sports and winning the tournament), the elective courses (HEC offers an excellent variety), and the St Cyr Leadership Seminar.

What advice do you have for future applicants?   You should always look for the best possible option. Don’t be afraid to dream big. An MBA will change your life so look for all the variables that are important to you and make a good choice. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a high GMAT score or many years of professional experience, trust in your potential, you can be able to do whatever you want, you must have determination.   Peter E Peter el Khoury


Previous studies: Civil and Environmental Engineering, American University of Beirut

Previous experience: Controls Engineer, Consolidated Contractors Company

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? After working in Engineering for nearly four years, I realized the need for a new challenge in my life. I decided to steer my career radically towards Finance, an industry that shapes me better and matches my professional aspirations. Given my already acquired skills, an MBA seemed to fall perfectly with such a plan​as​ it utilizes such skills and exposes them to ​various fields. Further to that, a strong MBA program offers extra-academic skills that are crucial to the professional world. Leadership in the corporate context and learning to be adaptable to change are two of the many skills that one can gain from such a program. As such, an MBA is the ideal platform to pursue my future endeavors.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? As I was targeting top-tier schools in Europe​, HEC was one of those names that kept on flashing with its distinguished professors and selective admission. Other than its leading MBA program and renowned global ranking, HEC is known for the exclusive events that the student body organizes. I was personally impressed by the magnitude of the MBAT and wanted to be a part of that experience. These factors made my decision much easier to choose HEC Paris MBA over any other in the region.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? As I mentioned earlier, I will be looking forward to the greatest event of the year, the MBA Tournament. ​I have already met the president of the MBAT Organizing Team from the September intake. She revealed they will raise the number of invitations from 15 to 20 business schools coming from the UK, Spain, Germany and other countries. This will definitely diversify the participation and enrich the whole experience. As such, I will be running for MBAT Organizing Team when it is time for the January intake to take over and organize this event.

What advice do you have for future applicants? My advice for future applicants is to be genuine in their essays and interviews. This requires them to be honest to themselves first, and pursue an academic degree that matches their personal aspirations. HEC Paris MBA is designed to be most effective to certain people with specified goals and career orientations. Projecting a fake image can only get them so far, so I urge them to be themselves and share their own experiences.

Sofia E Sofia Eng


Previous studies: Accounting and Finance, London School of Economics and Political Science

Previous experience: Regulatory Advisor, EDF Trading

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? I decided to undertake an MBA for multiple reasons. On a professional level, I wanted to explore new areas and develop further. On a personal level, I was looking for a lifestyle change that would allow me to gain new skills. A full time MBA struck me as a way to review business concepts, gain access to different types of employers and ultimately trigger a change.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? I chose HEC Paris primarily because the program matches my background. First, with a background in the energy industry, HEC increasing focus on that sector triggered my interest. Second, I studied French in the past and wanted to continue learning the language. Another reason HEC appealed to me is the campus and its great facilities for outdoor sports. Time wise, the fact that HEC offers a January intake also fit my individual circumstances.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward both to academic courses and the non-academic part of the program. I always enjoyed school and am particularly looking forward to the courses in Managerial Economics and Corporate Finance. Outside of the academic parts of the program, I am definitely looking forward to the MBA Tournament, which is the competitive sporting tournament that HEC organises for other MBA programs, and the leadership training at the Saint Cyr military training camp. Clearly, I am also looking forward to exploring Paris and Versailles.

What advice do you have for future applicants? I would advise future applicants to start the application process early, to allow time for preparing the GMAT and time to plan the actual move to France. I would also advice admitted applicants to talk to current or past students on what to expect once the program starts. The career related events kick off almost immediately particularly for the January intake and knowing what to expect is useful.   YingYing L Yingying Li


Previous studies: Modern Languages, Chongqing Technology and Business University

Previous experience: Account Manager, ZTE Corporation

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? My intention to apply to an MBA stems from my working experience as a Key Account Manager of ZTE in charge of Vodacom account in Congo. I’ve witnessed and experienced in person the successes and failures of the major telecom giants in the world: Huawei, Ericsson, ZTE, Vodafone and Orange.  What leads to the success of these companies excited my interest in marketing, strategy and management, which are essential to corporate prosperity. I decided to learn business in a systematic way and prepare myself to bring success to the companies even competing with the best marketers. In addition, I want to understand better the business context as well as the world which we live in. An MBA is the best choice.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? The HEC Paris MBA, with its innovative curriculum and distinguished faculty, will enable me to consolidate the fundamental knowledge of business and help me to make right decisions in complex business situations. I’m also impressed by the diversity of MBA which enables students to have very close contact with people from different backgrounds and industries, connecting multiple dots of business all over the world and reshaping my values. Moreover, the program’s focus on leadership will prepare me to be a better leader.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? First, learning from the professors and students from very diversified background is the experience that I will never forget. We can exchange our opinions about business in an intimate environment, societies and life, we can also fight for our dreams together with those who share the same passion. Second, through TEC on campus program, I want to understand myself better and become a better person by communicating with the outstanding business leaders and open minded students.

What advice do you have for future applicants? My advice is to dream big and work hard. Do not give up just because you think that you may fail due to your education background, working experience or GMAT score. Do not give up even you are in the waiting list. Instead, find solutions to get the best result until the last moment. Learn from the experiences of others by internet and get advice from alumni, friends and the other applicants when preparing the GMAT,TOEFL or IELTS, essays and interviews. They can be more willing to help you than you think, because they experienced what you are experiencing and they know what it means to you. The whole application can be daunting, but it is absolutely worth all the efforts not only because we may go to the dream schools and have one of the best time of our lives, but also because we can learn and experience a lot from the application process.   Aida M Aida Mbaye


Previous studies: Engineering, ENSAM

Previous experience: Senior Field Manager, Schlumberger

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? After 3 years working as an engineer in the oil and gas industry across Africa, I felt the need to make a change in my career. I wanted to prepare myself to help drive West Africa’s economic development. An MBA is the best way to equip myself with the right toolkit. My aim for this MBA time is to supplement my education, interact with an extremely diverse and qualified group to gain a holistic perspective of the industry.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? The HEC Paris MBA program has a population with an amazingly varied professional background that provides every participant with a bigger take away. The size of the January intake, the length of the program are both ideal for networking and building life-long relationships with other students. As a career switcher, HEC Paris MBA program’s focus on career transformation and leadership development will be a keystone in my future professional life.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? Before arriving on campus, I looked forward to meeting my new classmates. Now, two weeks after the start of class, I look forward to developing our leadership abilities together. I am especially excited about the Saint-Cyr leadership seminar and hands-on events to develop practical tools and challenge myself.

What advice do you have for future applicants? Your story is what makes you the perfect candidate. You will do numbers of tests, including GMAT to validate your capacities – those are important. But anyone else will do them, in fact many people with similar or better scores will be applying to the same school. What will make you stand of the crowd, is the uniqueness of your story. Patrick N Patrick Nordstrom


Previous studies: Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology

Previous experience: Sales Manager, Vinci Technologies

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? After having worked as a sales manager for 4 years in the Oil & Gas industry, I decided to apply for an MBA as I was eager to progress in my career. My goal is to remain in the Energy sector, which I believe is a truly diverse and challenging industry, but I want to go into strategic management. I discussed my career objectives with a friend who is currently doing a MBA and who has an engineering background similar to mine, and the MBA clearly appeared to be the right next step for my career. The program will in fact bring me the business knowledgeI lack, as well as give me appropriate tools to connect these business concepts together. This will be required in my future targeted strategic managerial position, to take the right decisions and succeed in this role.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? As I have lived in France for more than 14 years, I directly thought of HEC Paris for my MBA. The school has an excellent reputation in France and its MBA program is one of the best in the world. When I did the market study of the different schools that I believed would fit me, I also felt that the content of HEC’s program was ideal for me. In addition to learning from a distinguished faculty, the flexibility of the program (after having integrated the core foundations in business) will allow me to customize and shape my MBA according to the subject matters I will need in my future career. Finally, the duration of the program (16 months), the great diversity and the relatively small size of the class (compared to other MBA programs) were key parameters that made me choose HEC.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? I’m first of all looking forward to learn and acquire new business concepts, but also to continuously develop my interpersonal skills. I believe the MBA is made to challenge you and to push your limits, which I will make sure to do. Finally, I’m really excited to further interact with all my classmates and to participate in clubs, as well as the different events/seminars HEC is offering.

What advice do you have for future applicants? The MBA is a life project and the first step is to do an in-depth study of the schools that you think would correspond to your personality, as well as to achieve your career goals. You should definitively get in contact with the admission team, as well as students, to learn more about the MBA program and if you can, visit the campus. You should also think that the application process is very long and make thereby sure to start your application long in advance.       Caroline S (2) Caroline Spegiorin


Previous studies: Marketing, Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing

Previous experience: Marketing Coordinator, Sanofi

What was your motivation to apply for an MBA program? When I was thinking about doing an MBA, my final decision was driven basically by 3 main objectives. I have a scientific background, but since the beginning of my professional life I’ve focused to build a career on the marketing area of industries. Therefore, my first motivation was to look for a program that would supplement my experience through new sources of knowledge in business and strategy. Secondly, I wanted to make a career shift to work at the Cosmetics and Luxury sectors, for which I have a personal affinity, and to improve myself as a leader. Furthermore, I was looking for developing an international career. So in this context, an MBA would be the right answer, sealing my career transition logically and optimizing the experience as a bridge to a path of success.

What led you to choose HEC Paris? The course’s remarkable reputation worldwide, the diversity of student nationalities and the wide extension of the alumni network were the first facts about HEC Paris that caught my attention. Moreover, the program is offered in a 16-month full-time option, which combines core courses and a customized phase with an extensive range of electives, among which I can highlight Luxury and Brand Management classes, both fitting my development plan and career shift. Finally, the location of the campus, a peaceful environment close to an important capital of the Luxury sector, made the course the best option to achieve my goals and complete my career transformation.

What part of the MBA are you most looking forward to? The entire experience is amazing, but I’m really looking forward to start working and exchanging with my classmates, learning different ways of thinking and valuing the rich diversity. Additionally, I am also very enthusiastic with participating in the MBA Clubs that exist at HEC, which will enable me to immerse into different sectors and expand my knowledge.

What advice do you have for future applicants? I would say that if you want to be constantly challenged, develop your skills giving your best, learn from an exceptional faculty, meet more than 30 different cultures, make awesome friends and network, this is your place!

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