22 September 2014

“The past few days have been a great introduction to the program.” – Summer Lindman (HEC Paris MBA Class of 2016)

With summer vacation over and school back in session, September saw the MBA program welcoming its latest set of students to campus. These new students, arriving from all corners of the globe, have had a busy first week of presentations, career workshops and networking luncheons.

We sit down with two students from this latest intake, Summer and Sabu, as they discuss their first impressions of life on campus and their MBA experience thusfar.

Listen to the SoundCloud interview:

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30 July 2014

MBA students at HEC Paris benefit from over 35+ international exchange opportunities at some of the top business schools worldwide.

HEC Paris MBA and UCLA’s Anderson School of Business are one example of this powerful exchange network and have a special program setup for its Part-time students. This July, we welcomed 6 students, all of whom were able to benefit from our week-long workshop on Big Data with IBM.

“It’s been a great global experience” – Alok Gandhi (UCLA Anderson Class of 2015)

Listen to our SoundCloud where we interview a few of the UCLA exchange students and ask them about their experience and why they chose to study at HEC Paris.

For more information about our exchange programs, click here: www.mba.hec.edu/Learning-Experien…ational-Exchanges

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04 July 2014

Lauranne recently joined the Development Team at HEC Paris MBA after 3 years at Columbia University in New York where she worked to develop new cooperation initiatives and dual degrees with French institutions. Added to her prior experience in the management of European programs in the Youth and Education fields, and it’s clear that Lauranne knows her way around the education system – both in France and abroad – making her the perfect advocate for our MBA program internationally. “I came to HEC Paris because I felt it was essential for me to find a position which will allow me to continue working for the promotion and development of global education programs,” she says, adding that her role as the Development Manager for North America (as well as the Part-time option in France) allowed her to maintain strong links with the United States.

As well as tying in her professional background, the Development Manager position at HEC Paris MBA appealed to Lauranne for reasons of sheer variety, as she is quick to point out there is no ‘standard work day’; “This is a strongly networked position at the best Business School in Europe…  The HEC MBA program brings students coming from a wide range of profiles and diverse backgrounds, which makes the experience so enriching as each and every candidate has a very unique profile.” On top of that, Lauranne is in constant contact with Alumni, corporate institutions and top academics across the globe.

It cannot be denied that Lauranne knows her stuff about the MBA Program, as her daily interaction with these people gives her an insight into what makes the most successful MBA student; what skills recruiters look for, what kind of students these Professors want to work with and what competencies help post-graduation. When asked what she looks for in an MBA candidate, she places the emphasis on communication and people skills, combined with a strong international profile; “The ideal MBA candidate needs to show high interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, while significant international exposure within past professional experiences and academic background is particularly valued at HEC.” Candidates shouldn’t shy away from emphasizing their international background or skillset during the applications process, either; “It is important to particularly highlight this aspect throughout the admission process and to show how your special professional and international experiences will contribute to the success of the classroom.”

As an expert of the MBA program, Lauranne is in high demand. If you are interested in meeting her, you can register for any of her upcoming events on our Development calendar. Some of these events include a tour of the North America in September, which will see Lauranne travel to Toronto, Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles to attend MBA fairs and events organized with HEC Alumni. In the meantime, Lauranne will be organizing Part-time specific events throughout June and July including Breakfast Presentations, Negotiation Workshops and Virtual Information Sessions. Alternatively, you can sign up for a Drop-in session – a one-on-one conversation with one of our Development Managers – every Wednesday in Paris for individualized feedback on your MBA candidate profile.

So, does Lauranne have any advice for potential MBA candidates? Yes – do it! “At HEC Paris MBA, we work to prepare our candidates to become the future global leaders by offering them the chance to work and study alongside promising mid-level professionals from over 50 different countries. This is a real life changing experience!”

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27 June 2014

Graduation is a day that is undoubtedly nerve-wracking. Falling over on stage, collecting the wrong diploma and being late for the ceremony are all scenarios that commonly play out in the minds of soon-to-be graduates. Not forgetting that our 2014 Graduation Ceremony was held on Friday 13th June, it’s easy to see why a few of our MBA Class of 2014 were more than a little nervous come the morning. As is usually the case, however, these fears were proven totally unfounded last Friday as our MBA Class of 2014 graduated without a hitch and with plenty of sunshine.

The day started early, with a welcome lunch buffet and cocktail held in the MBA building on campus. This was more than mere ceremony, as this the graduating class was the first to have their classes based in the newly designed building which opened September 2012, coinciding with the launch of the new curriculum. Indeed, this was a class of firsts: the first run for the new curriculum, the first appearance of the HEC Zebra at MBAT and the first Saint-Cyr seminar that resembled Noah’s Ark more than a mere field exercise.

For many of our graduating class, the graduation was a chance to be reunited with classmates for the first time since classes ended last December. A lot can change in 6 months; jobs have been found, promotions have been earned and babies have been born, and so the buffet was a perfect chance for students, friends and families to catch up before the formalities got underway.

The MBA ceremony was a nostalgic affair, with the Associate Dean of the MBA Program at HEC Paris Bernard Garrette, setting out to present the first ever “virtual” graduation ceremony via webcam in keeping with the presentation’s ‘Digital Transformation’ theme. He soon emerged on stage, however, reliving the highs and lows of the Class of 2014 before introducing the Class Patron and Chief Development Officer at Capgemini Group, Pierre-Yves Cros (HEC Paris MBA Class of 1984) to the stage. Cros spoke succinctly, sharing his secrets for success with the graduating class and advising them to listen to nothing but their own instinct: “If I had listened to my parents, my friends, my teachers… I would not be where I am today.”

With this advice in mind, our students were ready to collect their diplomas, making the transformation from HEC Paris MBA Students to HEC Paris MBA Alumni. Following the presentation of the Academic Awards to the students with the highest GPAs, each student was called up individually to collect their diploma on stage, to a chorus of applause and the occasionally shout of encouragement from the audience.

A class photo soon followed – including the obligatory “cap in the air” shot – as well as the grand ceremony for all graduates from every program at HEC Paris. Here they were addressed by the Dean of HEC Paris, Bernard Ramanantsoa and his distinguished guests, with the announcement of the Dean’s List 2014 celebrating the best and brightest from across the school, both in terms of leadership development and academic quality. Included on this list were MBA students Hamassala David Dicko, Malik Baudry, Julie Haspeslagh, Impreet Natt, Emilie Flanagan, Ashley Bienvenu, Jodi Neuman, Thomas Philbeck, Subajan Sivandran and Mark Thomas – Congratulations!

So with the end of the ceremony (and one final dance) came the end of the MBA at HEC Paris for our graduates. After a day charged with nostalgia, congratulations and goodbyes, feelings were decidedly mixed. Yamini Naik summed up the feelings of the class well; “I’m kind of both happy and sad about leaving HEC Paris. It’s been an amazing experience, but now after nearly 2 years I am ready to move on and I am excited about the future!”

Of course, this isn’t a goodbye for our graduates; as they now go on to play an important role as HEC Alumni within our global 50,000-strong network. While their role within the school may have changed, it is by no means diminished.

Best of luck to our graduates, stay in touch!

For more on this year’s Graduation ceremonies at HEC Paris, check out our storify here and listen to our SoundCloud below.

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19 June 2014

When filming for our Student Profiles, there are a few topics that come up time and time again: the MBA Tournamentthe Leadership Seminar at Saint-Cyr, Professor Rosu’s Financial Markets Class, and, of course, the Global Consulting Practicum (GCP) in partnership with Wharton.

Indeed, the chance to participate in the GCP – a consulting project carried out by HEC Paris and Wharton MBA students (in total making a team of 11), in conjunction with a paying real-life client such as Microsoft or the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation – is the decisive factor for many in coming to do an MBA at HEC Paris. “It was definitely one of my main motivations in coming here. Within a month of arriving on campus we had already made our team up and were looking for projects to get involved in,” says Hugo Kuo, one of the six HEC Paris students who took part in this year’s project.

This year’s project addressed the spread of cloud technology, and how that can play an important role in the expansion and sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises in the Private Sector. You can read more about the details of this mission on the Wharton website here.

Once the project, client and teams were announced in October last year, our team were hard at work; researching, arranging interviews and organizing team meetings once a week, be it in person, through email or even via Skype. They also had to begin working closely with the Wharton contingent (no mean feat, with time differences, entire oceans and geographical distance standing between them) to find a good way to coordinate and synchronize.

In January, the team got stuck into their work as they departed for Benin and Rwanda to meet with the client and conduct interviews with employees and industry experts. This was also the first time that the two teams from Wharton and HEC Paris met in real-life; it would be the last time, too, until the final presentation in Philadelphia in May.

This field visit was the first practical experience of consulting for many of our students, as they got to grips with the task at hand. It also served as a stark example of the power and breadth of our Alumni network, as Hugo recalls, “There was one company in Benin that our client had been trying to arrange a meeting with for some time, but they just couldn’t get through the door. Luckily, we found out that the CEO was actually an HEC Alum, and so we were able to get in touch with him and arrange a meeting no problem!”

In fact, you could say that the GCP itself is an exercise in networking to a certain extent. Not only do the participants get to name both HEC Paris and Wharton on their CVs, but they also get to meet with prestigious clients and get a handle on the working culture of three different continents: Africa, North America and Europe.

Alongside this new knowledge of how to adapt to work within different cultures (the teams were multicultural within themselves, too), the GCP allows participants to gain a whole new transferable skillset that can be adapted to fit almost any industry, from Marketing to Consulting. “I learned a lot during the GCP,” says Iuliana Covaci, another of this year’s HEC participants, “how to present and deliver key messages, how SMEs in emerging countries function, how to manage large-scale projects, as well as how to work within a team of 11 when disagreements arise.” This is not just a project for budding strategists.

While it may seem that the field visit was the climax of the project, the real work really begun when the team returned to HEC Paris in February. With monthly check-ups with the client and the final presentation to the client in May approaching, our team really had to get down to work; Hugo – a Part-time MBA student at HEC Paris – took two months away from work in order to focus on the project.

For the final presentation in mid-May, our team flew into Philadelphia for one final meeting with the Wharton team. They then presented their final recommendations to the client and answered any questions the panel had. Recommendations made and job done, the client was delighted with the work of the HEC Paris and Wharton team and vowed to take the team’s recommendations on board. And the feeling was mutual. “They really made us feel as though we were part of the company,” says Hugo, “We weren’t just ignored for nine months and then judged only on our final presentation; they really made an effort to stay in touch with us, giving their comments and encouraging us to think in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise. They took our final comments into consideration and even agreed to collaborate with another company we recommended.”

For more information on the Global Consulting Practicum with Wharton, please visit our website.

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04 June 2014

Alyssa is a recent but welcome addition to our team at HEC Paris MBA, arriving in January. As Development Manager for the Middle East, Africa, Oceania and East & South Asia, Alyssa works to attract the best candidates from these regions. Her job means that she is often travelling, attending MBA fairs around the world and answering questions from candidates. When on campus, Alyssa attends Development events such as Roland Garros, campus visits and individual meetings with prospective candidates, either online or in person.

Despite all the travelling and country-hopping, for Alyssa, the best bit of her job is “getting to meet highly intelligent people… you have so many ambitious, motivated people all in the same room and you really have to up your game. It’s inspiring.” As diversity is one of the key values at the heart of our MBA ethos, with 85% of our students coming from outside of France, Alyssa’s job is crucial in ensuring that our student body is as multicultural as it is academically excellent.

Of course, Alyssa’s exposure to prospective MBA students makes her somewhat of an expert at spotting high potential candidates. When asked what she thinks makes a candidate stand out from this ambitious and intelligent crowd, she says, “For me, it’s all about showing real motivation and personality in your application.” She also, however, underlines the importance of creating a clear outline of your future goals and professional aspirations, “Obviously not everyone is going to know exactly where they’ll be in 5 years’ time, but you need to know what you are trying to achieve and get out of an MBA, such as networking, gaining a deeper understanding of business or developing key leadership and managerial skills.” Alyssa suggests getting in touch with our Alumni to help consolidate your plans, or even sending an email to one of our Development Team.

And as for advice, for those considering applying to HEC Paris MBA? “I would recommend targeting only 2-3 schools max; really focus and use your energy to get accepted into those programs!”

If you are interested in knowing more about our MBA program and your MBA potential, you can attend Development events such as MBA fairs and Networking Sessions, all over the world throughout the year. On the horizon for Alyssa is a tour of Asia and the Middle East, fall 2014.

See our full Development Calendar here.

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14 May 2014

There are a few subdued faces in the MBA today. Indeed, coming off the back of a weekend full of activities, sports and celebrations, Monday morning seems just that little bit harder with the post-MBAT comedown.

The annual MBA Tournament (MBAT) was held this past weekend (8th-10th May) on the HEC Paris Campus, with Europe’s top Business Schools coming to town; 1,400 students, from London Business School, Cambridge Judge Business School, ESADE and IE School of Business amongst others, all brought their best and brightest for a weekend of sporting competition.

Competition kicked off on Thursday afternoon and continued throughout Friday and Saturday, with a party being held each evening on campus. The sports on offer for participants and spectators included the traditional Basketball, Football, Swimming and Rugby, as well as sports such as Salsa, Pétanque, Chess and Ultimate Frisbee. With HEC Paris victories in the Football, mixed rowing and rock climbing, it’s safe to say that our players did not let us down, giving their all and working together to achieve results. Our team efforts were of course accompanied by the HEC Paris troupe of cheerleaders and our school mascot, the HEC Paris Zebra, who acted as the twelfth man out on the field.

Of course, the MBAT is not all about fun and games. The tournament itself constitutes a key part of our MBA curriculum as it embodies our ethos of “Leadership in Action.” The connection between team sports, leadership, teamwork and discipline does not need to be stressed, and it is easy to see how sports can prove a beneficial supplement to a Business Education. Providing the perfect opportunity to work in a team in competitive circumstances, the MBAT allows our students to collaborate with their peers on a real-life project, working towards a common goal.

The MBA Tournament is an entirely student-organized event; from logistics to marketing, our MBA students do it all. It’s a sometimes thankless task – with late nights, long hours and last-minute changes – but it’s one that is undoubtedly worth it in the end, as hours of preparation came together for 3 days of competition and fun. Huge thanks must go to all of the MBA Organizing Committee for their dedication and teamwork, as well as all of the volunteers who gave up their time to work at the welcome desk, behind the bar and in the cloakroom to make the MBAT run as smoothly as possible. Under the watchful eye of the MBAT Presidents, these students worked tirelessly to ensure that all of the participating schools had the best possible time at their MBAT; thank you and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!

The winners of the 2014 MBA Tournament were London Business School: Congratulations! Oxford Said Business School and HEC Paris came 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

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15 April 2014

“In 20 years’ time, this will be the part of your MBA that you will still be talking about”

– Professor Kevyn Yong, Saint-Cyr Leadership Seminar

If you asked any of our soon-to-be graduating class of 2014 for their 3 most cherished MBA memories, you can almost guarantee that they would mention the leadership seminar at St Cyr. Every year, our entire MBA cohort (that is to say, the September, January and Part-time intakes) eagerly pile onto buses towards the elite Saint-Cyr Military Academy in Brittany, ready for 2 days of field-based team exercises to test their leadership abilities.

But while the word “seminar” may usually bring classrooms, clipboards and complicated theories to mind, it’s safe to say that this isn’t your standard lesson in leadership. Epitomizing the “learning by doing” philosophy that is at the very heart of the MBA program at HEC Paris, Saint-Cyr is a great opportunity for our students to work with and adapt their leadership style to their peers, receiving constructive feedback on their leadership from both fellow students and military leaders alike. Students are divided into ‘teams,’ supervised by a military mentor and they are each required to lead at least one field exercise.

The exercises themselves are as varied as they are exhausting; the first day consists of team-based exercises towards a common goal – rafts were built (and consequently sunk), bridges were built and planks of wood were used as walkways over imaginary swamps, acid pools and shark-infested waters. Not only did these exercises work to test leadership, but also the skills of delegation, foresight and preparation in working towards a set goal. While maybe not as physical as the other activities, the crisis center at the end of the day proved to be a mentally exhausting and incredibly rewarding exercise, as students were put under pressure as they had to cope and adapt to a set of scenarios with strict deadlines and ever-complicating constraints.

The second day, at the beautiful Fort de Penthièvre, sought to test our students’ ability to push themselves and continue in demanding – and sometimes frightening – circumstances. With zip lines, tightropes and climbing ropes, this day was no less team-based than the previous as the groups had to work together to encourage and calm their teammates as they scaled walls and walked across walkways 20-feet above the sea. The strong bonds between participants became abundantly clear, with some displays of teamwork and courage even bringing the staff close to tears!

Feats of determination aside, perhaps the most notable thing about the seminar was the clear change in our students over the course of only two days. While at first there was perhaps a tendency for the leader to rush in and immediately begin to call the shots in an attempt to assert their authority, later exercises saw the students take a step back and contemplate what they had to get done before doing it, leading to a marked increase in efficiency and confidence.

So, do we have some newborn leaders among our ranks, the future titans of business? Oh, definitely; there are no two ways about it. Providing the perfect chance to learn by doing in picturesque surroundings with expert support and peer encouragement, Saint-Cyr is a once in a lifetime experience. Not surprising it comes top of many of our students’ lists, then.

“It’s the confidence. If I can do all this when I am frightened, I feel like I can do anything. It’s like, what was I so afraid of?”

– Srinivas Kishore, Class of 2015

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04 March 2014

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey

They say that learning from experience is one of the best ways to learn. They also say that learning from the mistakes of others is an invaluable way to avoid making the same mistakes yourself. They are very wise.

Indeed, it is this ethos that is at the very heart of the theory behind the celebrated CEO Speaker Series at HEC Paris MBA. This series, organized by the General Management & Leadership Club, brings top CEOs and Business Leaders to campus for an evening of intimate discussion with our students. These guest speakers open up and talk about their past experiences in business and offer invaluable advice to the leaders of tomorrow, as well as answer any specific questions our students may have.

Recent CEO Speakers have included Virginie Calmels, chairman of Disneyland Paris Supervisory Board and ex-CEO of Endemol and Jean Hornain, CEO of Le Parisien-aujourd’hui en France, as well as Fabrice Brégier, CEO of Airbus and Jean-Yves Fillion, CEO of BNP Paribas North America.

Engaging with these accomplished Business Leaders constitutes a golden opportunity for our students to engage in conversation with innovative and illustrious figures, learning from their experiences (and sometimes even their failures!) and hearing their secrets for success. For whilst we believe in “learning by doing,” we also realize the importance of reflection and learning by example.

But don’t just take our word for it; both Jean-Yves Fillion and Fabrice Brégier took time out from their visit to HEC Paris to talk about their thoughts on the CEO Speaker Series.

Jean-Yves Fillion is Chief Executive Officer for BNP Paribas’ North American Corporate and Investment Banking and Investment Solutions activities and is responsible for overseeing the North American operations of the Bank’s Asset Management and Securities Services activities. Fillion started his career with BNP Paribas in the Marketing team of the Investment Banking division. Fillion received a Master’s degree from Dauphine University and obtained an MBA from HEC Paris. He also studied at the J.L. Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University in Chicago.

Fabrice Brégier is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus. He started his career in 1983 as a test engineer at Creys-Malville nuclear power station, becoming sales manager at Pechiney (Japan) in 1984. In 1986 he joined the DRIRE Alsace (Ministry of Industry) and was then appointed Director of economic and financial affairs with the Ministry of Agriculture in 1989, serving under several French ministers. Brégier joined Airbus in 2006 as Airbus Chief Operating Officer. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 1980 and Ecole des Mines previously.

Both Jean Hornain and Jean-Yves Fillion are Alumni of the HEC Paris MBA program. To read about the careers of other Alumni post-MBA, visit our Alumni Profiles here.

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25 February 2014

Cultural Weeks are undoubtedly a highlight of the MBA calendar at HEC Paris. Providing the perfect opportunity to energize, socialize and above all organize, the cultural weeks are student-led and always prove a hit amongst students and MBA staff alike. They hold a lot of academic credit too; not only are they a lot of fun, but they also constitute a key leadership experience for our students as they lead and co-ordinate their teams to put on a week-long show for all to see.

With no less than 3 different cultural weeks taking place within the last month alone, it is safe to say that recently our schedule has been rather full. First up was a week celebrating all things Japanese, 23rd-24th January. Next was the Chinese Cultural Week – scheduled to coincide with Chinese New Year during the first week of February – followed by Latin American Week last week


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