Archive for May 2016

12 May 2016

Stephen Prsa, from the HEC Paris MBA Class of 2017, discusses the lessons that he learned in this year’s MBA Tournament.


Victory always boils down to the same ingredients: endurance, strength, aptitude, strategy and dedication. This year’s MBA Tournament was the perfect showcase for such ingredients, as over 1500 participants from 17 of the top business schools across Europe gathered at HEC Paris for the largest 3-day sports competition of its kind. From the high-top sneakers on the basketball court to the high-heels on the salsa floor, the competitors certainly earned their blisters. But from my eyes, this year’s winner was a different type of victor; A victor who nevertheless collected the same blisters on their feet as the competitors. While the athletes of one school were guaranteed to walk away with the trophy at the end of the tournament, it was the volunteers who demonstrated the ingredients of victory more than any sports team.

Many had tasks that required a lot of endurance. Perhaps no one endured more over the tournament than the man behind the zebra – a 10-kilogram fleece zebra with absolutely no ventilation. Now imagine you’ve been wearing that zebra costume for 8 straight hours, it’s 27 degrees Celsius outside, you’ve walked a 300-meter vertical climb 4 times already and now you’re running back and forth trying to fire up the crowd at a football match. God bless the zebra (and every other school mascot that showed up for the event to cheer on their squads).

And then there was strength. The strength required of the saints who volunteered to lug the kegs of beer around from tent-to-tent to ensure our guests stayed cool throughout the weekend. Let me put that into perspective for you. A full keg of beer is 73 kilograms. We consumed 141 of them. That means our volunteers muscled the strength to move and pour over 10.2 metric tons of beer in 3 days. I’m sure it was appreciated.

Of course, coordinating an event like MBAT wouldn’t be possible without a keen level of mental aptitude. As I was leaving campus shortly after 1 in the morning on the second night, there was one sight in particular that caught my eye. It was the lights in window of a meeting room on the second floor of the MBA Building – the MBAT meeting room. While there were 1500 participants enjoying their evening a few hundred metres away, a few bright minds were sitting around the table with their own lights on, enhancing and improvising the logistics for the following days. While a few minor glitches are to be expected, those bright minds ensured an incredible weekend for everyone in attendance.

But mental acuity can only get you so far if it’s applied with the right strategy. For the MBAT organizing committee, that strategy started almost 8 months ago. That was before we had sponsors, participating schools, a selection of sports and even volunteers. This team developed a roll out strategy to serve all 1500 participants from 17 schools. That includes 350 different sports teams, over 13,000 meals served, 10 hotels, and jumping through a countless number of unexpected hoops and roadblocks.

Finally, there’s dedication; It came from the head of the MBAT planning committee, to the students who spent their weekend sitting by themselves in the sun, helping the odd student find the right bus to get back to their hotel. And this goes beyond HEC Paris. The captains across all 17 volunteer schools collaborated endlessly to the last minute to ensure a seamless integration, and even new friends stepped up when they could to help a rival athlete with injury, or even just point them to the tennis courts.

And sure, the HEC Paris students might get a credit or two for volunteering their time, but the credits don’t matter. I realized it on the second night while I found myself crowdsurfing on top of 1500 screaming fans watching battle of the bands when my friend yelled to me “Can you believe we’re getting credits for this?!”

The MBA Tournament isn’t about victory, but when you’re surrounded by 1500 MBA students you know that competition is at the core of the experience. HEC Paris was proud to take the trophy this year – We certainly worked hard for it. But when I compare the roar from the crowd at the announcement of “And the winner is: HEC Paris!” to the smiles on the faces of the volunteers who made this year’s MBAT a roaring success, I know where the true victory lies. You could see it in the hidden smile behind the zebra mask, the stressed muscles of the girl carrying that keg of beer, the bags under the eyes of the planning committee, the handshake of every new encounter, and in the blisters on the feet of every single volunteer.


For more photos from this year’s MBA Tournament, visit the Facebook page.

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02 May 2016

 The HEC Paris MBA Part-Time option is unique in the way that it allows participants to earn their MBA, whilst still actively pursuing their professional careers. Here, we chat with Lauranne Bardin, one of the HEC Paris MBA Development Managers about aspects of the program.

What are the advantages of the part-time MBA?

 First of all, what’s important to know is that at the end of the part-time program, you end up having the exact same qualifications as the full-time MBA. The students who are doing a part-time MBA have the chance to keep their current jobs and they’re able to get financial security by continuing working. What’s also really important is that they can apply what they learn during the week to their current positions, and bring something new to the company at the same time. Compared with full-time MBA, I would say that the experience of doing a part-time MBA is different due to the part-time format of one week per month, where the students spend a full week on campus. It’s a very unique format because the students are still very integrated into the MBA community, and they can benefit from all the extra-curricular activities, such as those organised by the student clubs and the Career Management Centre (CMC). For the one week that they’re on campus each month, part-time students need to be completely free, which is why it is important that they negotiate with their employer, so that they’ll be able to focus completely on their courses during the week.

MBA Career Day-HecParis2013Does HEC Paris MBA help potential candidates prepare for this negotiation process in any way?

 Yes- as part of our recruitment strategy, we know that doing a part-time program needs even more preparation than a full-time one, especially with negotiation as it’s not that easy. We know that it can be tricky and we have a lot of candidates who have very big challenges with negotiation. So, what we’ve done over the past two years and what we’re going to keep on doing is that we’re working with one of our faculty members, Philippe Gaud. He was the HR Director at Apple Europe for over 10 years, and then he joined HEC Paris. He was the Executive Director of the MBA program, then he also took part in the creation of this part-time format and he’s currently teaching within the MBA program. Once a month, he teaches a 2-hour workshop in Paris, where a group of 6-8 potential candidates are given advice on how to start negotiating with their employers, and all of them are given the opportunity to present their main challenges. Another challenge that we’ve noticed amongst potential part-time applicants is the preparation for the GMAT. Due to this, we also work with preparation centres, who give presentations to the potential applicants about opportunities to take GMAT classes.

Does the recruitment process for the part-time differ in any way from the process for the full-time?

In terms of recruitment, the admissions process is completely the same and we have the same requirements and rolling process of admissions etc. We do a lot of specific events that are geared towards the part-time such as the negotiation sessions, campus visits when the current part-time candidates are there on campus, so that they can be put in touch with and pose questions to students who have gone through exactly what they’re going through. Our dedicated staff is constantly available to guide students through the application process. We usually have the academic calendar for the part-time program well in advance, so that students can show their employers the schedule and plan ahead, and this helps with negotiating and letting the students take the needed weeks off work.

Visit the HEC Paris MBA website for more information on part-time focused events and interviews with students

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