HEC’s admissions work on a rolling basis throughout the year. The school’s 16-month-long program has two intakes per year: January and September. Please refer to the Admissions Deadlines page on the HEC Paris website for the most recent information about deadlines for both Full-Time and Part-Time applicants: http://www.mba.hec.edu/
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.
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.”