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Poets & Quants Top Business Schools

HEC Paris


Location: 1, rue de la Libération 78351 Jouy en Josas cedex, France

Admissions Office: +



Admission Deadlines:

HEC’s admissions work on a rolling basis throughout the year. If you are applying for entry as part of the September 2014 intake, the deadlines for application occur at the 1st of every month until July 2014. For those wishing to apply for the January 2015 intake, the deadlines are the same as those for the September intake until July; from then on, the deadline is the 15th of the month until November 15, 2015. 

Paris naturally conjures up visions of sidewalk cafes, strolls along the Seine, and the vast beauty of a city seen from the top of the Eiffel Tower. And if you’re an MBA applicant, you can add to the list HEC Paris, one of Europe’s finest business schools. If you want a global MBA or hope to some day work in France, the school needs to be at the top of your list. HEC alums are well placed at the very top of many of France’s most important companies and in the government, and it’s an ideal choice for MBAs who dream of working in luxury marketing. In fact, a dozen of the 40 largest publicly-traded companies in France have an alumnus of HEC Paris as CEO or managing director. Among CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies, HEC ranks fourth in the world and first in Europe. That is a powerful alumni network, especially if you are French or pursue a career in France.

Despite the school’s entrenched position in its home country, HEC attracts an incredibly diverse mix of students, with only 15% of the MBAs in the latest class from France and 10% from North America. And unlike many European MBA experiences that last only a year, this is a 12 to 16-month program (or 18 to 24 months for part-time MBA candidates) that offers students an international exchange (there are 40 options) or a specialization and either a field project or electives. The program is highly selective with an acceptance rate of just 15%. Classes are taught in English, though students also can choose electives in French during the program’s customized phase. MBA students who do not speak French will study the language, and those already bilingual are required to study a third language.

HEC allows students to “personalize” their MBA during the second half of the program by taking a track of courses among some 60 electives in finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, or strategy. Another very good sign for HEC Paris is that the current administration has bold ambitions for the school. It recently concluded a major consulting engagement with Bain & Co. with the ultimate goal of sharpening the school’s positioning and strengthening its MBA program. The objective: to ensure that HEC becomes one of the top three business schools in Europe and one of the top ten worldwide. Among a broad range of conclusions, Bain suggested that HEC be positioned as an elite, personalized MBA program in Europe that offers students more access to faculty, tutoring, and mentoring—all at a great value for the money in what is being billed as the Silicon Valley of France. HEC wants to be known among employers as a supplier of MBAs who graduate with rigorous training in the core fundamentals of business, ready to roll up their sleeves and go to work. Bain also believes the school should admit more consultants and bankers to its MBA program to better satisfy market demand.

Going to HEC Paris does involve tradeoffs, however, particularly when compared with some of the better U.S. programs. In common with many non-U.S. schools, the quality of teaching across the program is inconsistent and the career services office has been criticized by some students as less than ideal for non-French speakers. In sum, HEC Paris has reams of potential, particularly if it can smartly execute the Bain plan.

Latest Up-to-Date Rankings:

Poets&Quants (2014): 8 (non-U.S.)
Forbes (2013): 20 (international)
Financial Times (2015): 16 (global), 8 (non-U.S.)
The Economist Which? MBA (2014): #1 in Europe, #4 Worldwide
America Economia (2014): #5 Worldwide

Rankings Analysis:

One of a handful of top business schools in Europe, HEC Paris ranked eight in Poets&Quants’ 2013 survey of the best full-time MBA programs outside the U.S. The school slipped two places this year from a rank of sixth in 2012. HEC has done exceptionally well in both The Economist and The Financial Times rankings. The Economist bumped the school up two spots this year–HEC is now ranked second among non-U.S. program, while the Financial Times placed the school at No. 9.

It’s worth noting that the school’s lowest ranking comes from Forbes, which largely ranks MBA programs on the basis of their return on investment. Forbes ranked the school 20th on its international list in 2013.  But a slip in Forbes’ ranking certainly hasn’t tarnished the B-school’s appeal for MBAs seeking an international, hands-on experience. “HEC Paris is an extremely unique and diverse MBA program,” noted one HEC MBA. “The personalized phase of the MBA afforded me the opportunity to apply some of the theories we acquired in the classroom in a real-world environment by allowing me to work for four months in a management level position at a firm of my choice.”

Total Tuition & Fees:

  • Class of 2017: $71,750 (application fee $248) / €52,000 (application fee €180)

Class of 2015:

Average GMAT: 685
GMAT Range (mid-80%): 640-740
Average GPA: NA
GPA Range: NA
Acceptance Rate: 15%
Full-time MBA Enrollment: 200
International: 85% Female: 35%
Mean Age: 30

CAREER STATS – Class of 2014

Placement overview 3 months after graduation:

Employed: 90%

Job sector breakdown:

Industry: 54%

Finance: 16%

Consulting: 15%

Services: 15%

Job location by region

Western Europe: 45%

Eastern Europe : 2%

Asia: 30%

North America: 14%

Latin America & the Caribbean: 5%

Middle East/Africa: 4%

International mobility

Working outside their home country: 55%

Non-Europeans working in Western Europe: 74%

Non-French working in France: 60%

Non-Europeans working in France: 45%

From HEC Paris:

HEC Paris MBA: a leading global MBA

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, with the CEOs of BestBuy, L’Oreal, Kering, Lafarge, AXA and the Executive Vice President of Havas Worldwide hailing from HEC Paris, to name but a few.

As well as gaining access to our Alumni network of 50,000 worldwide, our students benefit from HEC Paris’ proximity to La Défense, the epicenter of European Business with the highest concentration of Multinational Corporation headquarters on the continent. 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.

As one of the founding members and the only Business School of the Paris-Saclay Innovation Cluster – ranked as one of the most influential Innovation Clusters in the world – HEC Paris has an important role to play in Business Innovation. Paris-Saclay brings HEC Paris together with top French research institutions and businesses, allowing our students to draw upon their expertise.

Our students constantly come into contact with different backgrounds throughout the MBA program: our 200-strong student body is made up of 90% international students, with a wide range of academic and professional experiences.

Our new curriculum, recently redesigned in partnership with Bain and Company, has two phases: the Fundamental and the Customized Phase.

During the Fundamental Phase, lasting 8 months, our students acquire the key skills that are essential in carving out a successful career in business. All the courses in this phase are mandatory, comprising of 11 core courses, a language course, Leadership Development, and Career Building and Coaching. At the end of this phase, students will be equipped with a strong basis of fundamental business disciplines. They will become adept at efficient decision-making, problem-solving, and critical evaluation as well as financial analysis. Students will also be able to integrate issues of ethics and sustainability in complex business situations, and identify global factors that impact organizational success.

The Customized Phase allows our students to tailor their MBA program to suit their individual career aspirations by choosing a Specialization – Strategy, Finance, Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Advanced Management in Global Enterprises. Students can further personalize their MBA by choosing from a range of International Exchanges and Double Degree programs with top-tier international partner schools around the globe such as the London School of Economics, the Wharton School of Business and the National University of Singapore. They also have the option of completing a Fieldwork Project which allows them to gain experience working with a company in a new sector or geography.

At HEC Paris MBA, the focus is on learning by doing. Students are given many opportunities to practice their leadership skills outside of the classroom with events such as the student-organized MBA Tournament and the Off-Campus Leadership Seminar at the elite St Cyr military academy. Our students graduate with an adaptable skillset which can be molded to fit any position in any company worldwide, as our Careers Management Center works to prepare students for their lifelong career and not just their first job after graduation.

Our ability to create Business leaders has been proven: 90% of our graduating class finds work within 3 months of graduation, with Amazon, Google, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and L’Oreal amongst our top MBA recruiters.

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