Posts Tagged ‘Student profile’

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

Read next
05 April 2013


Name: Charles-Emmanuel Daviet

Nationality: French

Intake: September 2012 Full-Time

In his literary work “Persian Letters”, written in 1721, the French social commentator and political thinker Montesquieu recounts experiences of two Persian noblemen travelling through France. During their trip, they comment on various aspects of an environment completely different from the one to which they are used. I enjoy a similar experience: Cavalry officer in the French Army, I have left aside temporarily my uniform to attend the HEC MBA program and will go back to the armed forces at the end.

Why this choice? I decided to apply for an MBA program firstly because I felt I lacked the skills and know-how to be effective in my future appointments. As I progress in my career, I will be offered increased managerial responsibilities in very various branches of the armed forces.  It will require skills that support my understanding of the global working of the military system, such as finance, management, communication, or marketing. I am convinced that most of the things I’m learning here at HEC are transferable to my future jobs.

I also felt that learning to know better how civilian economic leaders think and work could be of huge interest for me. Military means, although essential, are not enough on their own to meet the complex challenges to crisis management, which often implies stabilization and reconstruction in an international environment. I believe that in my future appointments I will need to work closely with various civilian partners on the ground, and the MBA program is a unique opportunity to understand the mind-set and way of working of future top-level managers from many countries.

Finally, I felt I lacked the economic culture I deem necessary in order to serve my country at best. George Washington said, “When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen”. For me it means that military leaders of a democratic country must have a deep understanding not only of evolving security threats, but also of societal, technological and economical changes. It requires from them an increasing degree of adaptability. Attending an MBA program is a way of acquiring this.

MBA Presentation

Why HEC? In France, when you think about business schools, there is one name and only one: HEC. The reputation of the school is superb. This is why I decided to apply. General de Gaulle used to say that you should always aim for the top, because it is less crowded there. It is a demanding and developing motto.

Diversity at HEC is incredible. Not only do the students reinforce the international awareness required to communicate fluently with businesses worldwide, but also HEC provides an incomparable list of useful contacts. I receive and I learn a lot from other participants and I feel indebted towards them. So sometimes I ask myself what I can bring to them.

With fellow classmates at the Sustainable Business Conference Cocktail

First, I try to share my vision of the importance of national factors in economy and of the role of the State. I have been a public servant for the last 15 years and I am a great believer in the positive role of the State. I do think that in a world of highly mobile capital, states are still vital to the social and economic well-being of their citizens, not even to mention their physical security. Obviously the way states promote wealth creation and social protection in an era of economic interdependence is changing, but it will not disappear. Moreover, national factors still have a he impact on economics. Sometimes we tend to think that economics are a science like chemistry or physics: raise taxes and achieve result X, cut budgets and achieve result Y. In doing this, we forget about national history, national culture, and perhaps national psychology: in two different countries, perception of the same economic policy can vary a great deal. By exchanging with people from so many different countries, the MBA program provides a unique opportunity to understand this.

Second, I try to share my vision of leadership. In the military, we have a specific understanding of leadership responsibility. We call it Command. It is the authority that a military leader exercises over subordinates. It includes leadership, authority, responsibility and accountability for effectively using resources to accomplish assigned missions where human lives can be at stake. Therefore command is very broad, it includes responsibility for almost everything about assigned personnel: unit readiness, health, welfare, morale, discipline, etc. The true commander is someone of character, presence and intellect. But he is nothing without good followers. In fact no one leads all the time. All of us are alternatively followers and leaders. Therefore it is often illuminating to consider the relationship between followership and leadership. Collective work during the MBA provides good opportunities to assume both roles and learn about their relationship.

Finally, I like to think that I can bring something to other participants about ethics. In combat or complex and dangerous situations, ethical choices are not always easy. Yet decisions have to be made quickly. This is why ethics are so important in the armed forces. Military leaders are expected do the right things for the right reasons all the time. Followers count on their leaders to be more than just technically and tactically proficient. They rely on them to make good decisions that are also ethical. To be an ethical leader requires more than knowing one organization’s values. Leaders must be able to apply them as well as ethical reasoning to find moral solutions to diverse problems. As emphasized by Winston Churchill, “The price of greatness is responsibility”.

After graduating, I will go back to my Regiment (1st Spahis Regiment) as chief of the operations office, in charge of planning and conducting the activities and the deployments of the entire regiment (800 soldiers). Becoming a contributor to the delicate intricacies involved in successfully planning and executing complex military operations on the ground is an exiting challenge. I look forward to it.

Read next
18 January 2013


Name: Yamini Naik

Age: 25

Nationality: Indian

Intake: September 2012 Full-Time

Club Involvement: Co-President of General Management & Leadership Club, Member of The Executive Committee on campus (TEC)

At the start of my MBA program at HEC, in one of the programs organized by the Career Management Center (CMC), we were asked to describe ourselves in 3 words. The words I chose were discovery, passion and fun and surprisingly these are the exact words I would choose to describe my HEC MBA experience!

Contrary to how I might appear on first sight, I’m a geek at heart!

I come from a software engineering background; having enjoyed my engineering studies, 5 years in the software industry as a developer, and 4 years as a software quality engineer.

As community service has always been important to me and just testing software was not service oriented enough, a couple friends and I started a social initiative that enabled students to participate in real life industry projects. This experience helped me realize the business skills I lacked and I started to feel that I wasn’t discovering enough as a software engineer.

And that’s when I made one of the best decisions of my life – to quit my job and do a MBA at HEC!

Travelling, meeting people from different cultures, discovering their stories, learning new languages and understanding new cultures have always been something I love!  As I was learning French for a year before I joined HEC, I knew I wanted to live and work in France to strengthen my command over the language. I also knew I wanted a school that focuses on diversity. And HEC Paris MBA was the best choice and I am not disappointed at all.

Where else can one find 33 nationalities in one room! In the last 5 months at HEC I have discovered so many new cultural traits, festivals, places and traditions! One of my good friends is a girl from Kazakhstan! The learning from the professionally and culturally diverse class has been the greatest value added for me.

At HEC we have cultural weeks organized by each cultural group: so far we have had the American, French, Indian and Japanese weeks and I enjoyed these events thoroughly. I’ve especially learnt so much about Japanese culture and the people and now I know for sure that I want to visit and live in Japan at some point in my life!

Recently we also had the HEC Talent Show which was great way to discover some of the talents of my classmates and also showcase my own talents as an Indian classical dancer.

<My performance at HEC Talent Show >

You’ll find that clubs at HEC are very active, helpful and great value adds to any MBA participant. Through clubs you can network with classmate with backgrounds in fields that might interest you, get in touch with alumni, do additional case cracking, meet and listen to great speakers, participate in business school competitions. There is something in store for everyone.

HEC Paris MBA Student Profile Photo

<CEO Speaker Series Event with GML Club>

The MBA at HEC has also been one of self discovery. Though I am still exploring different career options, I’ve narrowed down my list and now know that I’m best suited for business development or corporate strategy roles.

See more photos and read more about my MBA journey after the jump… (more…)

Read next
20 December 2012

David ZHU Profile Photo HEC Mba Paris Student


Name: David Hsu

Age: 27

Nationality: American and Taiwanese

Intake: September 2012 Full-Time

Club Involvement: President of Luxury Club, VP Corporate Relations for Wines & Spirits Club, VP Communications for MBAT, PR & Digital Marketing Officer for MBA Council

Prior to starting my MBA at HEC Paris I was a Publicist and Social Media Consultant in New York City. I had lived in the “Concrete Jungle” for a little over four years before the big move to Paris. Having done PR and social media for hospitality and luxury brands I wanted to make the switch to business development and strategy for the same type of brands.

I was attracted to HEC Paris because of its strength in luxury and its proximity to Paris. The opportunity to study with Jean-Noël Kapferer and Vincent Bastien, authors of “The Luxury Strategy,” was too good an opportunity to turn down. The added bonus of being able to pursue the Luxury Strategies Certificate, where I would learn from practitioners in the field of luxury and gain hands-on experience working on a project for PPR Luxury Group, further reassured me that I was making the right decision when I ultimately chose HEC Paris over other U.S. based MBA programs.

Boarding my one-way ticket to Paris was nerve wrecking to say the least; but my experiences since I’ve been at HEC Paris have confirmed that this was the best decision I’ve ever made. Even before arriving on campus my HEC Paris experience began; during the application process I realized how helpful the current students and more importantly the alumni are. One alumnus in particular advised me throughout my application process, gave me tips once I got admitted and has since welcomed me with open arms and introduced me to the “City of Light.” The alumni and classmates from the earlier intakes, with their enthusiasm and generosity have made the transition easier than I had expected.

HEC Paris MBA Student and Alumni 2013

Party with Alumni

Besides the alumni, the professors here are first class in their fields of expertise. For someone that is essentially allergic to Quant and had no interest in Finance before setting foot on campus, my Financial Markets professor, Ioanid Rosu, was able to not only teach me the subject but also pique my interest. This one class actually has me considering the Finance Track during my Personalized Phase of the program, those that know me understands how shocking this is.

Luxury Club Buddy Program Holiday Dinner

Luxury Club Holiday Dinner

Saving the best for last, my favorite aspect of a day at HEC Paris is when classes are finished and club activities and the social life commences. There is basically a club for every professional interest, but if there’s something that interests you but no club exists, the MBA Council is very welcoming in helping you create one. For instance, one of my classmates founded the Wines & Spirits club, and every month we have a tasting and a speaker that teaches us about wine and the industry. Clubs play a huge part in my life here and even before arriving on campus the president two terms ago was incredibly helpful in introducing me to the Luxury club. As a result, I was able to hit the ground running and immerse myself in the Luxury club immediately.

My Study group from the end of core termWhich brings me to the most surprising and beneficial aspect of the program in my opinion. The admissions committee has gathered an extraordinary and truly diverse student body. Over the summer, the number one thing on my mind was what would my future classmates be like? I now have friends from all corners of the world whom I can turn to when I need advice, help or simply to share a drink and unwind after a long day of classes and club activities. Whether it’s during study groups or at a party in the Piano Bar, I’ve learned more from my classmates and they’ve taught me more about myself than I thought was possible.

On-Campus Raclette Dinner in Expansiel

On- Campus Raclette Dinner in Expansiel

Although I’ve only been here for one term, the past four months have been spectacular and as corny as it sounds have truly changed me. Who I am now would not have been possible just eight short months ago, before I replied to that acceptance letter with a Yes.


If you would like to learn more about my MBA experiences at HEC Paris you can get a first hand view from my twitter: @Hsud. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

You can also follow HEC Paris MBA on Facebook
You can follow HEC Paris MBA on Twitter

Read next