YOU CAN’T BEAT PARIS FOR CULTURE AND NIGHT LIFE
In fact, the school’s location ranks alongside New York City, London, San Francisco, and Shanghai as the best places to start a career. Located in a wooded campus just 12 miles south of Paris, HEC Paris has location and momentum on its side. As a nation, France was home to 31 Fortune 500 companies in 2015, more than either the United Kingdom or Germany. In Paris, you’ll find La Défense, the largest and most celebrated business district in continental Europe, home to over 150,000 professionals. A half hour away is Paris-Saclay, a budding tech cluster that includes several research universities and features companies like General Electric, Ericsson, Oracle, Siemens, and Mercedes-Benz.
Despite being a commercial hub, Paris’ true charm stems from its ambiance of romance, magic, and glamour. Forget one-time visits to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, or Versailles. The city’s true charm comes from watching it spring to life at dusk or walking along the cobbled paths once tread by Hemingway and van Gogh. “Miles away from the “City of Light,” writes Ran Wang, “there is barely any program other than HEC that can satisfy my curiosity about French culture and bring me a unique experience immersed in the richness of the arts, fashion, and history of this country.”
Not to mention, the school retains one of the strongest alumni networks in the world. Boasting over 55,000 alumni, HEC Paris also ranked in the top five in three categories covered in the latest alumni surveys from The Economist: potential to network, breadth of alumni network, and internationalism of alumni. Such goodwill, coupled with HEC Paris’ alumni’s deep dispersion into French business and beyond, has helped the school boost its Class of 2015 placement rate to 93% within three months of graduation — a benefit that didn’t go unnoticed by the Class of 2015.
“Due to HEC’s long tradition of excellence in business education,” explains Mont’Alverne, “its alumni can be found today in many different key positions of top companies, making an exceptional professional network. This allows HEC to provide its MBA students with direct access to major executives, their ideas and testimonies, through activities such as the CEO Speaker Series.”
CLASS TAKES AFTER ITS SCHOOL’S AMBITIOUS PLANS
Over the past decade, you could describe HEC Paris as a continental miracle. Injecting new faculty and overhauling its curriculum (with help from Bain & Company), the school rose from an also-ran to a serious threat to INSEAD and the London Business School in the rankings. Now the school is undergoing another transformation, after Peter Todd took the helm as the school’s directeur general in 2015. In the process, he installed Andrea Masini, an operations and technology professor who’d joined the faculty in 2010, as dean of the HEC Paris MBA program. In a 2016 interview with P&Q, Todd laid out his vision for HEC Paris, which includes building on the MBA program’s strengths in entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and digital technology, along with forging deeper partnerships with engineering schools and better funding seed venture capital funds for startups coming out of the school.
He also hopes to build the school’s brand beyond the continent. “We have this incredibly strong base in France and a very strong base in Europe,” Todd shares in his interview with P&Q, “but what we need to do for our students is increasingly connect ourselves out to employers around the world.”
The Class of 2018 is equally ambitious as their school. Mamoudou Bocoum envisions contributing to the development of Africa. “Infrastructure plays a key role in economic growth and poverty reduction. I think the great deficit of infrastructure is one of the main factors that is slowing down Africa’s development. I no longer want to be only in the implementation phase. I want to assist decision-makers in defining their infrastructure-development strategies.”
Infrastructure is also top of mind for Mont’Alverne, who ponders questions like whether disruptive innovation or something more process-driven is the solution for sustainable mobility. “As an enthusiast of transportation and the industrial world, I want to do my part in answering such questions by taking part in the creation of tomorrow’s mobility. To do so, I would like to be part of a team that leads innovative initiatives which combine information-revolution technologies – embedded electronics, Internet of Things and Big Data, for example – to create products and service solutions that will replace the transportation methods we now use.”
Less specific, but no less profound, is Amr Wahby, who will be pursuing the Millennial dream after school. “I’d love a position where I can use my skills to make an impact that I can see with my own eyes.”
SERVANT LEADERSHIP WITH A TOUCH OF BOLDNESS
When it comes to their legacy at the school, the Class of 2018 is in tune with their generation’s desire to give back.”It is important for me to be remembered as a person who went out of his way to help others, shares Dobbs in a nod to servant leadership. “That is my style of leadership and teamwork. I would like to be a classmate who is considerate of others and willing to help when I can.” Martyak echoes his sentiments. “I want them to say that I led by example.”
However, Martyak also channels the daring and disruptive spirit that marks the incoming class. “I want them to say that I challenged them – to push their personal and scholastic boundaries, to explore new people and places, to be better every day.”
To read profiles of incoming HEC Paris students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.