A castle, a picturesque lake and our newest MBA students

Hours after finishing the fast-paced, multi-day business game known as Negosim, students in the January 2018 intake embarked on a different type of adventure—Integration Weekend.

Designed as a fun retreat to one of France’s most luxurious corporate resorts, the event transported HEC Paris MBA students to Les Fontaines, a wooded estate originally owned by the Rothschild family. The 52-hectare property boasts a fairytale castle, an indoor pool with thermal baths, and tree-lined paths meandering to a picturesque lake.

A group of MBA students at Integration Weekend

All fun and games

It is the perfect place for getting to know your MBA classmates.

Navya Ekkirala, MBA ’19, who worked in banking in India, was one of the students who participated in the unique excursion. “Literally everything was the best part: the pool, the main course, the desserts, the wines, everything,” she says.  “It’s going to be a lifelong memory for me.”

Though scheduled activities revolved around gourmet meals, icebreaking games and even a DJ, much of the weekend was intentionally left unstructured. “It was so relaxing,” Navya says. “Though I’d already met many of my batch mates, the weekend provided us with a different type of opportunity to connect. There was absolutely no end to the conversation. I found myself discussing complex business topics, girly topics and the world at large.”

Stanislav Gorozhankin and Navya Ekkirala at the HEC Paris MBA's Integration Weekend

Stanislav Gorozhankin and Navya Ekkirala play to win

As with every Integration Weekend, the intent was simple: to develop bonds between MBA participants. To that end, students played games such as “popcorn,” where everyone takes turns popping into the center of a circle to share a fact about themselves, and engaged in a professionally organized teambuilding session.

“The mood was great,” says Ahmed Esbi, MBA ’18. “Saturday night I went to bed at 2 am, and the dance floor was still going strong.”

The next visit to the resort is planned for the HEC Paris MBA’s September 2018 intake.