Meet The HEC Paris MBA Class of 2017

Members of the Class of 2017 at HEC Paris

Members of the Class of 2017 at HEC Paris

There’s something romantic about returning to business school – meeting new people, exploring fresh haunts, and reverting to those fall rhythms. And it’s only amplified when you take a pilgrimage to Paris to study. Like many, you probably picture strolling down the artist’s square to discover the next Picasso or flirting with a stranger in a sun-drenched café. You may be earning an MBA in Paris, but you’re really embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime romantic adventure.

At first glance, such ambiance might seem like HEC Paris’ biggest draw. Just a few miles from the school’s Jouy-en-Josas campus, you can experience the grandeur of the Louvre or enjoy the finest cuisine and shopping along Champs-Élysées. When you’re homesick, there’s always Disneyland. Inside HEC Paris, you’ll find an intimate, global MBA program, renowned for a diverse student body and experiential focus.

A decade ago, HEC Paris was another provincial business school. After a staff and curriculum overhaul, it has emerged as a global powerhouse, ranking as high as #4 globally by The Economist. With the Class of 2017 arriving on campus in September, Bernard Garrette, associate dean of the MBA program, is energized by the school’s future prospects.

Bernard Garrette

Bernard Garrette

“With an international student body of nearly 90%,” Garrette tells Poets&Quants, “our incoming class is one of the most diverse we have ever had. From a biotechnology researcher who wants to create a lab that produces vaccines against infectious diseases to a banker wanting to become an entrepreneur, there is no standard profile in the HEC Paris MBA. Our program continues to attract top talent from around the world, and we are excited to be welcoming a geographically, professionally and culturally diverse range of new MBA participants.”


Since HEC Paris conducts MBA student intakes in September and January, the full 2017 Class statistics won’t be available until next year. However, a look at the 2016 Class offers a glimpse of the school’s composition. For starters, HEC Paris is one of the most exclusive programs in the world. Last year, 1,908 prospective students applied to the school, with only 206 accepted (good for a 16.45% acceptance rate). To put those numbers in context, that rate would rank sixth-lowest among American programs (making it more exclusive than programs like Wharton, Columbia, and Tuck). What’s more, HEC Paris’ MBA cohort is roughly half the size of the London Business School (but 20% larger than Cambridge Judge).

Despite HEC Paris’ French locale, 90% of its students hail from 51 countries – including India, Romania, Nigeria, and Venezuela. This is equivalent to other global programs, including LBS (92% from 68 nationalities), IE Business School (91% from 65 countries), and (Judge 91% from 40 nationalities). However, it falls short of INSEAD’s 96% international student benchmark. Another third of HEC Paris students are women, higher than IESE (28%), INSEAD (30%), and IE (31%) but lower than LBS and Cambridge (Both 37%).

Academically, the previous class averaged a 690 GMAT, the same as Judge. At 25%, the highest percentage of students came from engineering, followed by business and management (16%), and economics (9%). Par for the course, nearly a third of the class had previously worked in financial services (18%) and consulting services (13%) – closely followed by technology (12%).

Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.

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