Archive for December 2016

16 December 2016
Tahira Taylor (bottom, right) spent 3 months as an exchange student at HEC Paris

Tahira Taylor (bottom, right) spent 3 months as an exchange student at HEC Paris

 

HEC Paris MBA participants in international exchanges with 40 business schools throughout the world. In Fall 2016, we welcomed Tahira Taylor, an exchange student from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. We asked Tahira to share an insider’s view of her three months on campus, and the differences she found between European and American programs.

 

Course load

My experience so far has only been with the core 1 and 2 that are taken during the first year at Georgetown, and with the specialization at HEC. It has been an intense year and a half. Neither school presented itself as “easy” during either of these stages, and on most days I found myself either working on a group project, studying for a quiz or exam, finishing a paper, reading a case, preparing a model or, in general, just trying to stay ahead of all the work. In some cases, I found myself doing several of those things at the same time!

 

The courses from the marketing specialization at HEC were very specific, which I appreciated because Georgetown doesn’t offer specializations. The core classes at Georgetown were extremely helpful during my internship at Delta Air Lines, and the things I’ve learned in the HEC specialization have definitely been helpful as far as recruiting. Now I am able to speak about marketing at a very in-depth level. The courses and the cases go into such detail, I have come away feeling like an expert.

 

This fall's marketing specialization during their last day of presentations.

This fall’s marketing specialization during their last day of presentations.

Curriculum

I wanted a global curriculum. I have lived and worked in the US, Morocco and Lesotho, so I knew that wherever I did my MBA, I needed an international student body and a curriculum that understood how dynamic business in a global world can be. As far as the international student body, HEC wins hands down. In any one of my project-study groups, I worked with people from at least four countries (in groups of five people or less). The number of languages spoken among the student body and faculty is so impressive.

As for the curriculum, both schools do an excellent job of taking into account global affairs and business. I believe this is the direction that all business schools are going. Georgetown has the Global Business Experience, which is a semester-long consulting project that students must do for a company somewhere in the world. I will be consulting on a go-to-market strategy for a South African company. Both schools teach material that is relevant and timely to what is going on in the world. What is nice about HEC is that you learn about global cases and discuss them with people who can speak to the opinions of about 15 or so countries in one classroom.

Hike

Recruiting

The main event of an MBA is how it shapes your career. The United States has a mature MBA market, and so the recruiting process is very well choreographed. In the first year, you recruit during the fall for your summer internship. 100% of the students at Georgetown do an internship (though it isn’t mandatory, schools in the US kind of imply that it is). The US also has giant career fairs in the fall that are specifically for MBA recruiting. I got several internship offers by attending one of the fairs, and many of my classmates did as well.

Europe appears to be different. The MBA market in Europe is not as choreographed, so you will need to be grittier. In general, the companies that recruit heavily in Europe are large American companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon. That said, I received my job offer a few days ago from a company headquartered in Europe. I found the position though HEC’s Career Management Center. It’s my dream job and I’m going to love the work. It pays as much as an MBA job would in the States, and presents me with the opportunity to live in Europe! Keep in mind that for many MBA jobs in Europe, full language proficiency is mandatory, and the pay is sometimes lower than MBA jobs in the US.

 

Final word

Whether you chose to do your MBA in the United States or in Europe is a very personal decision. I chose to do the exchange in Europe because I wanted some exposure to the European MBA experience, and I wanted to do HEC’s specialization. One might choose to do exactly what I did, but the other way around. Exchanges are not so popular among schools in the US.

In any case, you will make amazing friends and gain a dynamic professional network. You will learn about key aspects of business and find out new things about yourself as well. I am so happy with my choices. Both schools can open doors for you that you never even knew were there. It is just a matter of taking the time to get to know your options and making a truly informed decision that works for your future.

 

–Text and photos by Tahira Taylor

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09 December 2016
AT Kearney global prize winners: Nadège Zambon, Elias Fares, Alexandre Legeay and Mathieu Mondan.

And the winners are (from left): Nadège Zambon, Elias Fares, Mathieu Mondan and Alexandre Legeay.

 

When the four HEC Paris MBA students first stepped onstage at the AT Kearney Global Prize Strategy Case Competition, they had already logged 120 hours writing their proposal. Add in another 10 rehearsals for their verbal presentation, and it’s easy to see why team “Istisharat Key” won the prestigious, multi-week contest.

Now in its 20th year, the Global Prize offers participants an intense, real-time window into the consulting world. Competitors must develop an innovative and strategic solution to an actual case brought to AT Kearney. The four HEC Paris MBA students—Nadège Zambon, Elias Fares, Alexandre Legeay and Mathieu Mondan—faced off against nearly 100 teams from 10 schools, including LBS, Insead, Kellogg, SDA Bocconi, Booth and Columbia, to claim the prize. Their proposition brought the client’s annual growth to 15 percent, and overcame many of its operational problems.

This tweet from Nov. 18 says it all

Along with crunching data, interviewing, strategizing and making presentations, the long hours spent hammering out their proposal taught Istisharat Key many important lessons about teamwork.
 

Here are five takeaways:

 
1. Start with a well-balanced team
 
From the beginning, the students sought team members with complementary skills. “We had someone who is good at crunching numbers, we had someone who is good a drafting PowerPoints, and one of our team members is highly innovative and capable of seeing the big picture,” Elias explains. “Putting them all together was one of our main strengths.” As a result, the students easily capitalized on each other’s talents without having to choose a project leader.
 
2. Take it step-by-step
 
The team discussed many topics in the days before the competition, including the book, The Monk who sold his Ferrari. They embraced its advice to focus completely on the task at hand. “It says that if you have one eye on what you are doing now, and the other eye on your future goal, you will not be able to achieve your target,” Elias says.  “We tried not be distracted by the idea of winning the entire competition. Even before our initial presentation at HEC, we felt like we had already learned from each other.”
 
3. Evenly distribute the workload
 
With a whopping 120 hours spent just on their written presentation, the four students made sure to evenly divide the work. “From the very beginning we said, ‘if we are doing this, we are really working for it’,” Mathieu explains.  “We had to find the time to work together in the evening, on the weekend, in-between classes.” In the end, no one missed a work session, and the team benefitted from a solid, trust-filled relationship.
 
4. Focus on a common goal
 
Once committed to the project, the students clearly articulated a team mission. Instead of working for personal gain—landing a much sought-after job interview at AT Kearney, for example—they decided to promote the HEC Paris MBA. “We set one goal, which made the team very solid,” Elias says. “We said ‘if we do this well, it will benefit future intakes’. We wanted to pass the message, ‘This is HEC. We exist, we’re good, and we can compete against any university in the world’.”
 
5. Embrace creativity
 
In addressing the five years of stagnant growth experienced by their client, a mid-sized pharmaceutical company, Team Istisharat Key could have just focused on operational issues. Instead, their presentation had a story line and used a pyramid as a metaphor.  “Like a pyramid, the base of our solution was strong,” Mathieu says. “You can see far from the top of a pyramid. That’s why our work included a vision for the future, three to five years out.” Applauded for the clarity and innovation of their proposal, the students scored the win.

For more about this year’s competition, visit: www.hec.edu/News-Room/

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