9 OUT OF 10 STUDENTS COME FROM OUTSIDE FRANCE
With January intake numbers still being corralled, it is too early to evaluate the Class of 2019 – by the numbers, at least. Traditionally, the school’s acceptance rate hovers near a highly selective 15%-17%. Thus far, the school reports a 22% rate for its 137-member fall intake, impressive – but no different than programs it normally laps like UCLA Anderson and Duke Fuqua. That said, the fall class brings a 688 average GMAT to HEC Paris, equivalent to past classes. At the same time, the percentage of women rose three points to 34%.
One number that stands out, however, is 93%: the percentage of incoming students who hail from outside France. This gives the program a distinctly international flavor. Here, students must learn to work in 4-5 member teams with people who possess very different backgrounds from themselves – perfect preparation for international careers for a majority of graduates who’ll be working in locations far removed from their cultural norms. Then again, says Jiménez Rivera, the desire to step out of their comfort zones is what inspired many to join the Class of 2019 in the first place.
“Contact with amazing people from different countries has taught me that cultural diversity leads to great learning and potentially life-changing experiences,” he explains. “The cultural diversity at the HEC Paris MBA is tough to beat with more than 50 countries represented in the class where approximately 90 percent are international students. Even before the program officially starts, I can already appreciate the great diversity of the student body from the conversations and introductions taking place in the Facebook group of the class. I am amazed by the variety of cultural and professional backgrounds and I feel privileged to be part of the class.”
AN ENGAGED AND DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI BASE
The program is also working to enhance the student experience even further, Masini tells Poets&Quants. First, the school has completed a revamp of its career center. The goal, of course, is to boost the students’ odds of finding their true calling and landing their dream job. Not that the program is lacking in this area. 92% of the Class of 2016, for example, landed jobs within three months of graduation. In October, The Economist found that HEC MBAs enjoyed the highest increase in pay after graduation. At the same time, Forbes reported that 2012 graduates experienced a whopping $85,300 gain in pay since earning their MBA, averaging $150,000 at present.
One advantage that HEC Paris MBAs enjoy is a 16-month program, which gives them a five month head start on their American counterparts – without having to sacrifice an internship or specialized courses. In addition, the program features a devoted alumni base. In the 2017 student satisfaction survey conducted by The Economist, HEC Paris ranked 1st in Potential to Network and 6th in Breadth of Alumni. Equally important, the school finished 4th in the Internationalism of Alumni, a nod to a network that includes 56,000 alumni in 132 nations.
“HEC Paris’ strong alumni network, which includes approximately 4,000 C-level managers and company founders, strengthens my confidence that I will be able to leverage my MBA to achieve my personal and professional goals,” says Amsalem.
CLASS SIZE HELD TO 250 TO MAINTAIN CLOSE-KNIT CULTURE
The school has also launched a capital improvement program, Masini says. “There are major, on-campus renovations, including new dormitories, to make student life even better and even more vibrant. And we have created a new Student Affairs Office to improve on-campus life across the campus and programs. In addition, the library has been modernized and transformed into a collaborative, digitized Learning Center accessible to students 24/7.”
Class size is one area that the school doesn’t intend to touch, however. “We are keeping class size capped at 250 participants,” Masini adds. “One of the greatest benefits of the HEC Paris MBA is that our students form a close-knit community for life. The perfect equation between our class size and our individual approach to learning ensures our students’ ideas and input are valued.”
Why wouldn’t they be valued? If past is prologue, the Class of 2019 is bound to have a future CEO or two among its ranks. In France alone, an HEC Paris alum helms 12 of the 40 largest publicly-traded companies. This tradition didn’t go unnoticed by students like Ntungicimpaye.
“With a deep history in forming many of the past and current business leaders, HEC Paris has built a globally recognised track record,” he explains. “Upon further research, I was excited to test and develop myself in an environment that placed such strong value in developing our leadership skills. Initiatives such as the leadership seminar at Saint-Cyr or the student-run MBAT tournament all form part of HEC Paris’ unique leadership development program, which will be an opportunity for me to test my leadership skills while also learning from my fellow classmates.”
LIVING IN THE LAP OF LUXURY
Such leadership skills are quickly put to the test. Notably, HEC Paris students are responsible for organizing and hosting the MBAT. Think of it as the MBA Olympics, where 1.500 athletes from programs like INSEAD and Stanford converge on campus to compete in sports ranging from rugby to running to rowing. Masini calls the event a “pressure-cooker” that tests students’ skills in marketing, fund-raising, management, and operations. If that’s not enough, MBA candidates must also complete a two-day leadership seminar with the French Army at Saint Cyr, where the class’ teamwork, communication skills, ingenuity, and grit are exposed in challenges like building boats to cross a river.
If “leadership” is the first word that comes into applicants’ heads when they hear HEC Paris, “luxury” would undoubtedly be the second. Paris itself is the luxury and fashion capital of the world, home to Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Chanel, L’Oréal, Hermès, and Dior. The program has seized on these riches, building an intensive curriculum that even includes trips to Hermes and Dior, not to mention the Antwerp diamond district and the Faiveley wine cellars in Burgundy.
In fact, this concentration of luxury brands near campus was a driving force behind why Wang chose HEC Paris for her MBA. “HEC Paris has exceptional resources in fashion industry,” she notes. “For example, HEC Paris has alumni that were CEOs in the fashion industry, such as the former CEO of Louis Vuitton. Also, HEC Paris help students to get in touch with plenty of job opportunities in fashion industry. Furthermore, HEC Paris provides specialization courses in luxury management. All of these resources can contribute to my future career goal in the fashion field.”
Considering the program’s prestige in leadership, enviable location near the Innovation cluster, and deep investment in entrepreneurship, technology has naturally become a bigger draw – for students and recruiters alike. “Last year, the top three recruiters from HEC Paris MBA were Google, Apple and Amazon,” Lashari points out. “In the next phase of my career, I would like to move out of the fast-moving consumer goods sector and learn about the tech-marketing world, so I strongly believe HEC Paris is the ideal choice for me.”
In short, HEC Paris is welcoming to every culture and background, while offering a curriculum that is broad and flexible enough to cater to nearly any passion. “HEC Paris is the perfect combination of values, curriculum, reputation, global network and high ROI, with vast academic and professional resources to help me achieve my short- and long-term goals,” Vassallo declares.
Looking ahead, members of the Class of 2019 have defined success in several different ways. For Wang, success would mean that she could bring her idea for an eCommerce site to market. Cindy Haw, a Toronto native who collects teas, hopes to check three items off her list by graduation. “Success to me would be having grown as an individual, being more well-versed in the French language and culture and having an international network of friends.” While Vassallo would like to make a positive impact on his classmates, he has an even bigger goal in mind. “A good football result at the MBA would not hurt either.”
To read profiles of incoming HEC Paris MBA students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.
|Oron Amsalem||Ashdod, Israel||Tel Aviv University||Willi Itzhaki & Co.|
|Patricio Capdepon||Buenos Aires, Argentina||Universidad Torcuato Di Tella||JP Morgan|
|Cindy Haw||Toronto, Canada||University of Toronto||Canadian Tire Corporation|
|Luis Antonio Jiménez Rivera||Mexico City, Mexico||National Autonomous University of Mexico||McKinsey & Company|
|Rohail Lashari||Lahore, Pakistan||Lahore School of Economics||Coca-Cola|
|Ly Nguyen||Hanoi, Vietnam||Plekhanov Russian University of Economics||Credit Suisse|
|Jean-Paul Ntungicimpaye||Bujumbura, Burundi||University of Cape Town||Step Advisory|
|Tariro Nyaradzai Matanga||Harare, Zimbabwe||University of Manchester||Great Ormond Street Hospital|
|Nicole Pense||Scottsdale, Arizona||Westmont College||NTT Data Consulting|
|Nicolás Vassallo||Piura, Peru||Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú||Estudio Echecopar – Baker McKenzie|
|Yanji Wang||Shanghai, China||Shanghai University of International Business and Economics||Adidas Group China|
|Jérémie Zarka||Paris, France||ESIEE-Paris||Thales Air Systems|