21 July 2016
Blue skies over the California campus in summertime

Blue skies over the California campus in summertime

Thomas Vermeulen, MBA Part-Time class of 2017, describes how he chose and what he learned from doing an exchange program with UCLA as part of his HEC Paris MBA studies.

It is a Sunday evening in late June when I cross the UCLA campus. The cinematographic “magic hour” has just started, making the Anderson School of Management appear golden against a dark-blue backdrop. I am on my way to the welcome drink that kicks off my exchange week at the U.S. business institution, remembering how the idea for my participation had occurred to me 18 months before.


Part-time MBA students Kai Qian, Philippe de Mijolla and Thomas Vermeulen during the UCLA exchange.

Part-time MBA students Kai Qian, Philippe de Mijolla and Thomas Vermeulen during the UCLA exchange.

At that time, I was new to the HEC Paris MBA and still felt a bit overwhelmed by all the new information, in and out of the classroom. The Academics Team presented us with the different options for the customized phase of our programs, which ranged from fieldwork projects to elective courses to several international exchange programs. The UCLA option immediately caught my attention: It offered the chance to experience a different teaching style and business mentality within the very convenient framework – one week per month – of the part-time modules. There and then I decided to make the UCLA experience the cherry on my “MBA cake,” even though the summer of 2016 still seemed so far away. Now, those one and a half years had passed and I was ready to see if the experience would match my expectations.


My first impression of UCLA does not let me down. I had always dreamt of visiting a U.S. college, and the park-like campus that comprises the different faculties and departments completely meets my expectations. Next to the business school, a large stadium houses daily American football training sessions, and the entire area has a sportive vibe. Even before entering a classroom, I am emerged in a different context.


Classes too vary from the approach and content at HEC Paris. I signed up for two courses that were a nice addition to the curriculum at my home university, expanding my knowledge of emerging markets as well as of branding. Classes take place every day from 2 to 10 p.m. and each one requires preparing several assignments as well as reading one or more cases and articles. As such, the exchange is also a useful exercise in efficiency and time management. As could be expected with such extensive preparations, class discussions of the cases play a central role in the teaching experience and take up most of the time. For me, this is a clear difference from the HEC Paris MBA, which focuses on a more equal combination of class interaction and classic teaching. At the same time, the discussions at the Anderson School of Management are more steered by the professor, leading to less animated debates among classmates and more anticipated outcomes.


My final motivation for doing the UCLA exchange was to expand my network with professionals from all parts of the world. I am thus very happy to see that UCLA also has a strong diversity of nationalities and professions, and I am able to connect with many interesting people during the five class days. A further plus is the participation of UCLA’s EMBA students. Their managerial experience leads to interesting discussions and creates a nice addition to what I am learning at the HEC MBA.


Stepping out of your comfort zone and encountering new challenges is useful for any kind of learning experience, not the least for an international MBA. Spending the week at the Anderson School of Management confirmed my initial motivations for the exchange: Getting to know a different teaching style and making new contacts with other international professionals. At the same time, the format allowed me to maintain my normal working rhythm at my company, showing the many possibilities available in the part-time program at HEC Paris.

– Text by Thomas Vermeulen


To learn more about the HEC Paris MBA Part-Time option, visit: www.mba.hec.edu/Learning-Experience/Part-time


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27 June 2016
Sharon Chan at the castle's doorway

Sharon Chan at the castle’s doorway

When Sharon Chan first applied to the HEC Paris MBA, she didn’t know the experience would include living in a stylish castle in the French countryside. The “Château of Montebello” as it’s known today, once belonged to the Countess of Vassart. The property was later purchased by Maurice Delaire, who gave it to his daughter as a wedding gift when she married the Count of Montebello. The Montebello family owned the castle until the 1940s, when the building and much of the surrounding forest in Jouy-en-Josas was converted into private homes and apartments.

Sharon shares a few insights into castle life:

How to Rent a Castle

“Back in October, when I knew that I wouldn’t be living on campus, I started looking for a place. The apartment was listed on www.PAP.fr. The MBA program has Facebook group for admitted students, and I asked if anyone would like to share a duplex in a castle. I found another girl, and she found our two other housemates.

There’s seven units in the château. The four of us occupy the top floor. It’s very different than what we expected; it’s actually very modern. We have a superintendent who takes care of the building and the landscaping. My bedroom looks out on the swimming pool.”

Meet the Neighbors

“I moved in the afternoon of December 27. The next day I went downstairs to get some groceries and check out the neighborhood. I remember that I was almost through the gate when a man passed by on a horse. He was dressed in a traditional French gentleman’s riding outfit, and he said ‘Bonjour’ with the most perfect accent. That felt like my first real day in France.”

Life with Housemates

The living room

The living room

“I have three housemates who are Americans: Jess, Alison and Heather. We’re all extroverts. Heather cooks a lot and Jess bakes a lot so we always have tacos, quesadillas, cupcakes and cookies lying around. My housemates are all in the same program, so we do our homework together. We’re always talking together. Last night I had decided to use the pool, then I ended up staying inside to talk with the girls. Because we don’t live on campus, we count on each other for support. We’re really a close-knit family.

There’s also a group called the ’Burbs (short for suburbs). It used to be us and about six other people who lived near the château. There were two girls and one guy who lived about three minutes down the street from us. They used to host barbecues. Some members have moved away, but there’s still a few of us around. Aaron rented out space in one of those big houses near the swimming pool. Gabor lives below us; he sublets a room from our neighbor.

We always say that we’ll get together to do homework, but I don’t think that’s ever actually happened. We usually get together either in the château or in someone’s apartment just to talk and share a bottle of wine.”

Telling People Where She Lives

“Everyone in the MBA program has to study a language. I’m learning French, and one of the first exercises in class is to say our name, where we’re from, and where we live. I felt silly saying, ‘Je m’appelle Sharon. J’habite dans un château à Jouy-en-Josas.’ One time we had to explain what we did the night before. My response, ‘J’ai nagé dans la piscine du château de Montebello’.

I’m sure that 10 years from now, I’ll look back and say, ‘I can’t believe that I lived in a castle in France.’ But for the moment, I’m trying to sublet my room. Before I leave France, I also want to have the Parisian experience as well.”

Sharon’s Housing Advice

The Château of Montebello

The Château of Montebello

Consider a shorter-term lease. “After the Core 2 classes, you might want to try living closer to campus or in Paris to get a Parisian experience,” she explains.

Look for a furnished apartment, especially if you don’t drive. “It took us four or five IKEA trips to furnish our apartment. All of our furniture, we bought and assembled ourselves.”

Bring your favorite foods. “I can’t live without ginger ale. But really, you can get everything here in France. It just might take you a while to find it.”

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17 June 2016

Group photo class of 2016 So proud of the accomplishments of the Class of 2016!
Despite hosting a commencement celebration that included champagne and cocktails, an elegant garden party, and speeches by several of France’s top CEOs, those of us at the HEC Paris MBA program wanted yet another way to honor this year’s graduates. The Class of 2016 was that impressive.

Take, for example, Cécile Villette. The entrepreneurial track student decided to forego significant job offers in order to follow her dream and launch her own business (stay tuned to www.mba.hec.edu for more details). There’s also Ryan Howard, who transformed his internship with Amazon Prime into a prestigious managerial position. Those are just two of countless ways our graduating class are benefiting from their studies.

We’re certain to hear more of the accomplishments of the Class of 2016 in the months and years to come. In the meantime, we’d like to share a few memories from graduation day, held on June 10, 2016 at the HEC Paris campus. Highlights of the day’s events: a new scholarship created in memory of student Juan Gonzalez Garrido; Chris McEvoy’s widely quoted commencement speech; and the words of wisdom shared by Bruno Moineville, MBA ’88, and Emmanuel Faber, CEOs of Altice and Danone, respectively. It was also the first Commencement Ceremony for Andrea Masini as Associate Dean of the business school.

The images in the video were taken by Marcella Barbieri and by HEC Paris MBA staff.
We hope you enjoy them as we bid farewell to the Class of 2016.



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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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25 April 2016

Earlier this month, as part of HEC Paris MBA’s leadership in action and learning by doing focus, the entire MBA class (both full-time and part-time) took part in the annual 2-day off campus leadership seminar at the elite Saint-Cyr Military Academy in Brittany.

Students were challenged both mentally and physically through a series of individual and team activities, under the supervision of French officers. Some of these officers were current MBA students like Christophe De Ligniville from our September ’15 intake. “My biggest objective was to help each of my peers identify key factors of efficient leadership and in the same time realizing how they could enjoy from leading a team,” said Christophe.


For the various activities, which ranged from building rafts and bridges to scaling walls, solving crisis scenarios and getting an injured person to safety, students took turns being the team leader for the activities.  “Two exercises were undoubtedly my highlights of the seminar: the X-bridge and the zip line. With the X-bridge exercise, I realized how good ideas cannot succeed without good communication and with the zipline, I learned that sometimes reflection has to follow action,” reflected Teles N’Guessan, one of the MBA participants.



HEC Paris MBA Dean, Andrea Masini, got involved as well!

The tasks were designed to  take students out of their comfort zones, allowing them to put their problem solving capabilities to the test, in a unique and different environment from the classroom. “Working as a team (#team8thebest) in a non-academic atmosphere was challenging and rewarding. We all worked at choosing a leader, coordinating efforts and following instructions. In an MBA classroom, we discuss a lot to find answers but in Saint-Cyr, it was more about learning to trust peers’ directives and to find adequate solutions,” said Teles N’Guessan.

For more pictures from the seminar, visit the HEC Paris MBA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hecparismba.



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04 April 2016
Andrea Masini

Andrea Masini, HEC Paris MBA Associate Dean

HEC Paris is Europe’s premier business school. With more alumni in CEO positions than any other continental business school, it is the alma mater of CEOs in Europe. The CEOs of L’Oreal, Kering, Lafarge, AXA and the Executive Vice President of Havas Worldwide, to name but a few, hail from HEC Paris. Our MBA students are at the forefront of business innovation, acting as ‘connectors’ for international businesses and implementing their global strategy locally around the globe. Our MBA student body, which is composed of over 200 high-potential participants from over 40 nationalities is a true testament to this international focus.

As a testament of its quality, the HEC Paris MBA recently broke into the top fifteen MBA programs worldwide in the 2016 Financial Times Global MBA Rankings, while maintaining its number 1 place in Europe in The Economist full time MBA ranking. We aim to continue this journey and to further elevate the program by leveraging its core strengths: academic excellence, a talented and extremely diverse student body, personalized service with a hands-on approach to leadership, a forward-looking mindset, and an optimal program length.

With a duration of 16 months, the HEC Paris MBA is shorter than many MBA programs, yet long enough to ensure that participants willing to switch careers are able to acquire the necessary skills to excel in a new field. Tomorrow’s global leaders not only need solid fundamentals in multiple disciplines. They also need to be able to develop a vision, sharpen their intuition, challenge conventional wisdom, and master communication skills. To develop those qualities, HEC Paris MBA participants receive the best possible training and benefit from extensive access to faculty, a personalised approach towards tutoring and mentoring, as well as exposure to real projects in the fields they have chosen. These activities are deployed during an intensive program in which 8 months are dedicated to fundamental courses, 4 months to elective courses or fieldwork projects and 4 months to specialized courses in a specific domain (strategy, marketing, finance, advanced management or entrepreneurship). The resulting 16-month program is a true transformational experience. It is also the best compromise between two needs: the need to maximize the return on investment, and the need to prove recruiters that candidates are high potentials who master all the fundamentals of management while at the same time possessing advanced competencies in the selected industries they target.

These strengths are well reflected by the recruitment opportunities offered by the HEC Paris MBA. Supported by a Career Management Centre, 90% of the participants find a job within three months after graduation, with Amazon, Goldman Sachs and L’Oréal being amongst the top MBA recruiter for the program.

In short, by capitalizing on these key strengths, we give participants the time and attention that they deserve and we equip them with the skills that they need to become responsible leaders, reflecting our conviction that the more you know, the more you dare.

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21 March 2016

Culture weeks are fun, culture based events organized by our diverse student body. They provide students with yet another opportunity to put their leadership skills into practice, and they allow both students and staff to get a real feel for other cultures. So far this year, there have been three culture weeks: Chinese, Latin America and Japanese.

To coincide with Chinese New Year, Chinese Culture Week kicked off on the 15th of February with a Spring Festival Gala and a delicious Chinese New Year dinner. The gala consisted of a collection of traditional activities from singers and lion dancers, to tai chi performers and students modelling traditional Chinese clothes.





Latin America Culture Week was next, and the celebrations began with screenings of the critically acclaimed ‘City of God’, which depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro, and ‘Relatos salvajes’. This was then followed by a dinner party. There were local specialties from Peru, Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil, as well as plenty of delicious food, drinks and desserts.





After the Latin America Week, students then celebrated Japan Culture Week. Throughout the week, the organizing team planned great events such as a Japanese dinner party, with authentic Japanese dishes like sushi and sake, and a Japanese ‘virtual trip’.

The week’s main event was a fashion show that featured MBA students modelling beautiful kimonos and ‘cameos’ from famous Japanese characters such as sumo wrestlers, samurai, Pikachu and Mario. Students and guests were also able to pound mochi, a Japanese rice cake that is made out of mochigome, a short grain glutinous rice, as well as getting the chance to have their names written in Japanese calligraphy.





All the culture weeks have been incredible so far and they are a true testament to the international focus of the HEC Paris MBA program!

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19 February 2016

Last month, the Finance Club organized a professional trek to London and twelve students from the September ’14 and ’15 intakes ended up seeing four firms over two days: HSBC, a bulge bracket investment bank, EBRD,  a large development bank, Chenavari, an HEC alumnus run hedge fund and Virgin Management, a family owned private equity/ venture capitalist firm.

EBRD Visit

The trek concluded with drinks with alumni in the city and it was a success as good connections were made with alumni and firms who will hopefully recruit on campus in the future.


Listen to Drazen Visnjevac (S15), the president of the Finance Club, discuss his experience of the trek on Soundcloud:

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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. (more…)

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