10 December 2013

For this week’s blog post, we are delighted to welcome a special contribution to our blog, straight from the heart of the Organizing Committee for the recent Indian Cultural Week. Cultural weeks are a real highlight of our MBA calendar, as they allow both students and staff to get a real feel for another culture and make friends from all around the world, all whilst having fun and eating delicious food! Take it away!

A splash of color, a flash of light, a sprinkle of glitter and a pinch of ‘wow’: HEC Paris’ Indian Cultural Week 2013 had it all.

Organized by the Indian community at HEC Paris MBA, together with Student Services, the two‐day festival was an unparalleled success.

The event kicked off on 27th November with a screening of the Bollywood hit 3 Idiots. 3 Idiots is one of the most Indian films ever, focussing on the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian education system; something that many of us have experienced. It was so heartening to see so many non‐Indians in the audience, enjoying the movie and the selection of tasty Indian snacks – including crowd-favourites such as Samosas and Pakoras - that were served during the interval.

The next day was the grand event, and saw many cultural performances by the students of the September 2013 intake, performing for a star-studded audience made up of the Associate Dean of HEC Paris Bernard Garrette, members of the administration and faculty members, as well as students from all levels of the HEC Paris community.

The evening began with a mesmerizing Kathak performance by Apeksha Deval, followed by a spellbinding rendition of Bollywood and Bengali songs by Promiti Prosun.

Together, these two performances had the entire audience hooked and ready for the celebrations ahead. The Indian Cultural Week Fashion Show is always a highlight, and this year it was made even more special as the majority participants were non‐Indian, and the show itself was a kaleidoscope of color and razzmatazz. The participants greatly enjoyed themselves, getting dressed up and learning how to tie a traditional sari whilst also learning how to work the catwalk.

The evening ended with a sumptuous Indian dinner in the MBA building and an all‐night party playing popular Bollywood dance numbers.

The curtains may have fallen on Indian Cultural Week 2013, but those present will cherish the memories forever!

Photos courtesy of Jijo Varkey John

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28 November 2013

It’s likely that you have come across this blog after clicking on a link on our website. If you’re a frequent visitor, or if you’re particularly eagle-eyed, you may have noticed some changes; the site looks completely different for one thing, and the content has changed for another. Yes, Monday saw the launch of our brand new HEC Paris MBA website, the culmination of months of work and collaboration by the whole MBA community.

Falling in sync with our newly restructured curriculum, the site marks the latest in a series of changes in our offering at HEC Paris MBA. Our thinking behind the redesign was natural: to make our site more accessible, concise and easy to use, for all users. We wanted our visitors to feel part of the community, with the inclusion of Student Testimonies and individual Student Profiles giving you a real glimpse of life on campus and of the culture at HEC Paris MBA, as well as a dedicated ‘Faculty’ page, where you can read about each member of our teaching staff, in order to showcase the expertise that we are able to offer our students. We also wanted to give you as much information as possible, with a detailed breakdown of our Admissions Process, and of our MBA Curriculum with our Course Index, leaving you with a clear idea of the HEC Paris MBA offering and mindset.

And that’s not all that is new. Featuring prominently on our homepage, our new communications campaign features current CEOs and past HEC Paris students as they endorse the MBA experience. Featuring Jean-Paul Agon (CEO of L’Oreal), Francois-Henri Pinault (CEO of Kering) and Mercedes Erra (Executive President of Havas Worldwide) amongst others, this campaign serves to highlight HEC Paris’ ability to mold future business leaders.

So far, the feedback has been positive. Change often serves to divide opinion – there were a few nervous faces in the office on Monday morning – but with comments ranging from the specific, “I liked the Quick Facts Sections” (Pooja Bhardwaj) to the more general, “Great job! I love it” (David Hsu), it seems that the changes have been well-received, with Neisha Fernandes even suggesting the “SchoolPride” hashtag on Twitter!

Of course, the launch of the website does not mean that our job is done. With further changes planned, it is full steam ahead for the next stage of development, as we continue to evolve and adapt to the demands of our prospective and current students.

We hope that you like the new site as much as we do; enjoy!

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12 November 2013

“Do what you love in a job that makes you learn, and you’ll be doing the right job.”

When meeting Marc Onetto, ex-Vice President of Worldwide Operations and Customer Service at the Global giant that is Amazon, it’s hard not to feel just a little bit inspired. I admit I was nervous, facing  a man whose career has been nothing short of illustrious with only a crumpled sheet of handwritten questions to hand.

Prior to joining Amazon in 2006, Marc Onetto was Executive Vice President of Worldwide Operations for Solectron, a $12 billion leader in electronics manufacturing and integrated supply-chain service, where he has been credited with leading the company turnaround in 2003. He has also been awarded the « Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite », a French decoration given to mark his contribution to Franco-American business collaboration – it’s safe to say the man knows his business.

But within seconds of speaking to him, you forget all that. With an opening line of “So you’re English? My wife is English; that’s how I learnt that the customer is always right – she is too!” it’s pretty hard to feel intimidated.

Organized by Michel Safars, Associate Professor of Strategy & Business Policy at HEC Paris MBA, the title of Onetto’s talk – prepared as part of the launch of the newly redesigned Entrepreneurship track at HEC MBA (more on that soon!) – was “@ Amazon it is Still Day One,” a name Marc was only too happy to elaborate on:

“The idea of it still being Day One at Amazon signifies our desire to keep the “start-up” mind-set; we want to have the same spirit as a small company, despite being a larger company. When you’re a start-up, the only thing that matters is that you are providing a good product or service to your customers.”

… And that pretty sums up the content of Onetto’s presentation; Amazon still places the emphasis on customer satisfaction above all else – “This is not the chicken and the egg;  the customer always comes first” – and still holds the customer in the same esteem as it did the day Jeff Bezos first sold a book from his original garage headquarters. Onetto put this ‘customer-centricity’ down as a key factor in Amazon’s overwhelming success (“you don’t Google a product anymore, you Amazon it”) alongside Amazon’s dedication to the ‘3 Golden Rules of e-commerce’:

  1. Good price
  2. Good product selection
  3. Good delivery

Pretty simple, right? The third and final of these 3 rules was the one that Onetto was charged with during his 6 year stint at Amazon. As Vice President of Worldwide Operations, he was responsible for ensuring that people’s parcels arrived when they were meant to, in good condition and without hassle to the customer; or, in Onetto’s words, ensuring that Amazon could “walk the talk” by making sure that Amazon continued to deliver on its promises to customers. Obviously his job required a lot of logistics, a lot of metrics, as millions of parcels are sent across the world and delivered by Amazon every day, but Onetto insists that he always had the customer’s interests at heart, rather than opting for the easiest possible option to hand.

There is something in the whole “Day One” mind-set which seems amazingly simple; serve your customers well, and they will continue to give you their business in return. Sticking with the basic principles of start-up business certainly seems to have worked for Jeff Bezos, and no one can argue with the methodology of customer-centricity, but surely there must be something else, another secret to Amazon’s success?

“Don’t bow to the latest fad, take a long term view. Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it; that’s how you become average.”


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25 October 2013

Word on the street is that HEC Paris and IBM are working together. Indeed, we are excited to announce that HEC Paris and IBM are collaborating on an academic initiative that will provide Business Analytics training to our MBA students, helping them to develop core analytical skills that will prove essential in becoming tomorrow’s business leaders. This initiative will feature a number of new courses for MBA students in the Strategy Specialization, with students being exposed to IBM proprietary technologies, engineers, and data scientists throughout the course. This world-class curriculum on Business Analytics was launched on the 16th, 17th and 18th October, as the MBA course on Business Analytics and Big Data kicked off.

By building stronger analytical skills, our MBA students will be able to tackle complex business and societal problems such as predicting and better understanding customer buying trends, optimizing organizational design, collecting and processing competitive intelligence, building an efficient healthcare system, improving retail sales, or helping brand managers gather critical feedback on the success of a marketing campaign. With plans to expand across the curriculum over the coming years, the future of the HEC-IBM Business Analytics Initiative looks bright, with plans to introduce a series of new courses such as Big Data, Strategy Simulation Modeling and Decision Models, Data Mining, Strategy Analytics, Prediction, Social Media Analytical Tools, and Data Visualization in the pipeline. The course itself will be supported by a series of guest-speakers from IBM who will be visiting the campus throughout the year to interact with students. The provisional list of IBM speakers who will be visiting us here at HEC Paris during the course of the year reads as follows:

  • Alain BENCHIOU (France): President IBM France
  • Didier BARBE (France): Vice-President, Marketing and External Relations IBM France
  • Katharine FRASE (US): Vice-President and CTO, Global Public Sector
  • Douglas DOW (US): Vice President, Business Analytics Transformation
  • Emily PLACHY (US): Past-President IBM Academy of Technology; Distinguished Engineer, Transformation Analytics
  • Arnold GREENLAND (US): Distinguished Engineer at IBM
  • Maureen F NORTON (US): Distinguished MI Professional, Executive Program Manager, Business Analytics Transformation
  • Sigrid LENTSCH (Austria): Global Leader Growth Play and Strategic Learning Initiative, Smarter Analytics Enterprise Learning Leader
  • Josiane GAIN (France): Executive Manager IBM France University Relations
  • Hammou MESSATFA (France): Government CTO IBM Europe, Government Sales Leader

As students of the IBM-HEC Paris collaboration, participants will receive privileged access to IBM technology, course materials, training and curriculum development, as well as the opportunity to collaborate further with IBM researchers and developers on innovative future projects.

Whilst constituting a vital part of our Strategy Specialization, the HEC Paris-IBM initiative has been structured to teach students vital analytical skills that will help them to prosper in any given sector. Indeed, the initiative has been designed to help meet the current need for business managers with analytical training – a need that exists in most industries today. HEC Paris is leading the way in the promotion of Business Analytics in Business Schools, as we work to transform the business world and how our students perceive it.

These welcome sessions were just the first step in what we know will be a fruitful and longstanding partnership.

Our Big Data & Business Analytics class after Friday's closing session

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03 September 2013

MBA Student Sophie Xiao worked for 5 years as a senior consultant for Ernst & Young. At HEC she is taking advantage of the school’s numerous exchange partnerships with top schools in the US, and will be joining the Fletcher School Of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University to complete her international study experience.

Learn more here:  Sophie Xiao on Youtube

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02 September 2013
Summer is over and the new academic year has begun! September is a busy month for us here at HEC, both on and off campus; we have a new batch of students arriving and a wide range of access events organised around the world. Here are the highlights for the coming month and some dates for your diary.

Orientation Week

- Beginning the 4/5th September and continuing throughout the week of the 9th

  • From helping new students arrive and get to grips with their new surroundings to welcoming back old faces, we have a full programme of events running throughout the week.

Career Day

- 26th September

  • For our 5th annual HEC MBA Career Day, we welcome twenty prospective employers from around the world to the HEC campus. With presentations, Q & A sessions and a chance to make some industry contacts, our Career Day is a unique opportunity and is certainly one of the highlights of the academic year.


Want to Learn more?

Worldwide events:

  • Members of our Admissions Development Team will be giving talks around the world this month. Highlights include:
  • 5-7th September: Lima
  • 5th September: Beijing
  • 7th September: Shanghai
  • 11th September: Santiago
  • 14th September: Sao Paulo
  • 15th September: New York
  • 27th September: Moscow
  • 30th September: Brussels
    • For a full list of HEC events around the world and further details, see here.

    Paris events:

    • On the 28th September, there will be an Access MBA event in Paris at Le Meridan Etoile, 75017 Paris, 9am-4pm

    Online Chat Sessions

    • If you want to learn more about the HEC MBA programme and you cannot make it to any of the worldwide events detailed above, you can sign up here for one of our virtual chat sessions.
      • 18th September: Virtual Information Session for South-East Asian Pacific candidates
      • 24th September: Virtual Information Session for women candidates


    And finally, we’d like to extend a warm welcome to all of our new students, the class of 2015!

    In order to be kept up to date with HEC events and news, you can follow us on Twitter here, or “Like” us on Facebook here

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    09 August 2013

    Admissions Recruitment Manager Pierrette Doz-Perdrix recruits MBA candidates from the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. She joined the HEC Paris MBA team in 2009 and also specializes in recruiting women MBA.

    Pierrette travels to your cities via MBA fairs and various global information events with the French consulates or partner universities for example.   You  can also meet her on  campus and virtual information sessions frequently held online. She responds to all questions, concerns and queries from prospective students.

    Today we asked her to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions by prospectives trying to get into the MBA program:

    Q: How will I finance my MBA? Are there any scholarships dedicated specifically for candidates from my region?

    A: Multiple financing options are available; you can find all the details on our website. Regarding the regions Pierrette works with personally, the Eiffel Scholarship, designed to bolster international recruiting by French schools of higher education, is often of interest.

    Q: Can I live on campus? What’s the campus environment like?

    A: We have dedicated MBA residences on campus, just a 5 minute walk away from the MBA building. We aim to accommodate every student who wishes to live on campus. The campus environment is one that fosters life-long friendships, with many social activities.

    Another major benefit of the campus environment is the sheer diversity; 85% of students are international.  Cultural weeks are a prime example of this – students put on social activities, meals and parties typical to their native culture.

    Pierrette often tells candidates about our Partners Club too – the club is a place for spouses of MBA students to get together, share their experiences and make the most of their time here at HEC. It’s a supportive environment in which people have made great friends over the years.

    See more information on the Partners Club website here

    Q: Can you tell us a bit about your work with female applicants, students and business women.

    A: We are happy to see the increase in percentage of women MBA  increase to 33% in 2013 – a great success for Pierrette!

    Pierrette is deeply involved in the Women in Leadership Club; the club focuses on topics that are close to Pierrette’s heart and she has always had a strong passion and interest for gender equality. Currently lead by two participants: Neisha Machado and Paula Quinones, the club works closely with our General Management Club, organizing events focused on women in leadership roles and fostering alumnae interactions. At HEC all women participants automatically become members of the European Professional Women’s Network (EPWN) and Forte Foundation, which creates further networking opportunities dedicated specifically to women.  On campus, the club participates in our Campus Visits, offering advice and support for all women candidates who visit. Check out the WIL Clubs blog here http://hecwomen.wordpress.com/ to learn more.


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    02 August 2013

    We hope you’re enjoying the summer wherever you are!

    Meet Us:

    Some exciting upcoming events for Asia in end of August and beginning September.
    Join our Recruitment Development Manager in your city.

    Date: 28 August 2013 : Tokyo – The MBA Tour http://www.thembatour.com/
    Location: Hilton Tokyo, 6-2, Nishi-Shinjuku 6-chome, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo,
    Time: 4pm – 10pm

    Date: 29 August 2013: Tokyo – Program presentation/Networking event
    Location: TBC
    Time: TBC

    In South America – we’ll be in Mexico city for a day.

    Date: 31 August 2013 : Mexico City – QS Connect 121
    Location: Hilton Mexico City Reforma, Av Juarez 70 Colonia Centro, Mexico City
    Time: 9am – 1pm

    In North America, as part of the Womens MBA Fair with Forte Foundation we’ll kick off in Chicago.
    Date: 19 August 2013 : Chicago

    Date: 20 August 2013 : Boston

    Date: 21 August 2013 : Washington DC

    Date: 22 August 2013 : Atlanta

    For all locations and exact times please check the Forte Foundation website here

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    18 July 2013

    Located in the MBA building, the CAREER MANAGEMENT CENTER (CMC) offers participants a rich array of services ranging from coaching to how to build a career plan via sector advice and meetings with businesses.

    Customized services

    Founded in 2009 at the initiative of Tony Somers, the CMC offers a very different approach from a standard career management department in that it provides individual follow-up throughout the students’ academic studies. Indeed, all these students already have professional experience and their decision to study at HEC often signifies a desire to change orientation and profession.

    As soon as they arrive, students are issued a ‘passport’ containing the individual program they are to follow. This passport will accompany them throughout their studies. Beforehand, they will have had an individual interview in order to clarify their expectations and their character traits.

    Students can then go on to pursue their studies and plan their career management along three specific lines: “Know Yourself”, “Know the Market”, and “Match Yourself and the Market”.

    In parallel to students’ lessons, coaching sessions, workshops and learning modules are thus offered all year long, alternating with individual interviews. Theater classes and various other events are also proposed, including meetings with recruiters and alumni.

    These alumni are very prominent and willing to share their experience and guide future graduates. Before leaving the campus, students write up a report for them, explaining their career plan. Following this work they get feedback and an assessment, both of which are much appreciated.

    “Everyone should be able to find the job of their dreams; the CMC doesn’t actually supply jobs but is there to help define and build the participant’s aspirations,” explains Corinne Bonifay, Associate Director, Operations.

    To achieve this, the CMC (in particular its team of Corporate Development Managers) tackles the “Match Yourself and the Market” aspect of the program through long-term or recent ties with businesses.

    Events on campus come at very regular intervals during the fall, the main hiring season: MBA Career Day, participation in other cross-department forums (Consulting, Finance, Crossroads), company presentations, conferences, treks, etc.

    Suffice to say that the role of the CMC is crucial to the image of the HEC MBA. Once they have graduated, 89% of participants change profession (just 8% return to their former company), and do so within three months following graduation.

    Today internationally acknowledged by numerous companies, the MBA and its CMC continue to take up the challenges of a constantly changing world.

    NB – You can still sign up for the MBA Career Day for September 26th, 2013

    (Source: Parole Exchanges)

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    03 July 2013

    A group of our MBA students recently went on a professional Trek to Dubai and Abu Dhabi with members of  The Career Management Center.

    A Trek is a trip that is organized to bring students to the best and most sought after companies globally. It gives them direct contact with their future environments; to learn more on-site about a prospective company culture, meet the HR Teams, and engage in meaningful discussions surrounding their industry with top decision makers.

    Not to mention,  this was a great opportunity to network within these regions with some HEC Alumni by setting up formal office and informal cocktail meetings.


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