Meet The HEC Montréal MBA Class Of 2019

HEC Montréal Classroom

A YIELD THAT COMPARES WITH STANFORD

One reason is that HEC Montreal was the first choice for the Class of 2019. Among the 114 candidates who received an acceptance letter for the school, 102 joined their class – an 89% yield that compares with the likes of Stanford and Harvard. This comes as the program has enjoyed significant growth in their intake numbers, says MBA director Louis Hébert. This is a reflection, he believes, of the increasing relevance and attractiveness of the HEC Montréal program.

“We have received so many outstanding candidates that we have doubled our full-time English cohort as well as our part-time French cohort,” Hébert points out. “While class numbers remain small and intimate at a maximum of 50, having more than one class for these cohorts ensures a maximum student experience, from both extra-curricular opportunities to networking. In fact, we have grown so much that we made the decision to change our start date to the fall as a means to maintain the program excellence that our students have rightfully come to expect. As a result, our next intake will be September 2019.”

As a whole, the Class of 2019 averaged a 637 GMAT and a 3.25 undergrad GPA on a 4.3 scale. Demographically, 64% of the class hails from outside Canada, with another 30% of the class comprised of women.

CAN CHOOSE A FRENCH- OR ENGLISH-SPEAKING COHORT

Overall, the STEM disciplines account for 44% of the class, led by students who hold degrees in engineering (28%) and applied and pure sciences (9%). Business majors represent 37% of the class. The humanities, social sciences, and arts hold 14% of the class seats, with law rounding out the group at 6%.

The 2019 Class is also a very seasoned, averaging 6.6 years of professional experience – nearly 1.5 years more than most MBA cohorts. At the same time, the class could be described as balanced, with technology, consulting, financial services, and manufacturing each accounting for 13%-16% of the class.

Another unique wrinkle of the program is its bilingual nature. Students can choose their cohort based on language, as courses are taught in either English or French. This bilingual approach, coupled with a carefully-selected student body, makes HEC Montréal a deeply diverse MBA program.

“Our students are always quick to mention how much they appreciate the effort that goes into ensuring that their colleagues around the table come from different backgrounds,” adds Hébert, “not only culturally and linguistically, but also academically and professionally. The wealth of knowledge and experience of our MBA candidates is leveraged at so many levels, from small group discussions to classroom case-based deliberations, all the way to the student-led initiatives that stem from their varied areas of interest and expertise.”

WANT AN INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE? JUST WALK AROUND MONTREAL

This variety is only enriched through the school’s Campus Abroad program. An elective held in December, the program takes students overseas to meet with leaders and experience the unique business practices and cultural mores of a selected nation.

“In December, I went to Japan for 15 days while I have other classmates going to Mumbai and Dubai,” shares Megan McNeil. “I love that we have this international opportunity despite the concentrated timeline of the program.”

Of course, the Class of 2019 can also immerse themselves in a diverse environment just by stepping outside the school doors. Montréal itself is home to the largest French-speaking population outside of Paris. That doesn’t count over 100 other ethnic communities who live in Montréal as well. While the city was founded over 100 years ago, it projects a youthful spirit. Nearly a quarter million college students study in Montréal. By the same token, the city has emerged as a deep learning powerhouse. Hence, it has become a go-to destination for thinkers and doers in areas like artificial intelligence. On top of that, Montréal is often labeled as Canada’s cultural capital, best-known for hosting legendary events like Le Mondial de La Bière and Just For Laughs – North America’s largest festivals for beer and comedy, respectively.

CANADA’S OLDEST BUSINESS SCHOOL CARRIES A YOUTHFUL VIBE

Not surprisingly, HEC Montréal has built a strong link with the city’s business scene, making the MBA degree all the more attractive to prospective students. “Montréal is a really dynamic city where a lot of business opportunities are taking place,” says Benoit Giroussens. “Investors worldwide are coming to participate in the AI and new technology wave. Montréal has the potential to be one of the most attractive cities in the world. The school naturally develops interaction between its program and the environment. I feel I am not only part of a school, but I am also a member of a select movement.”

Such interactions give HEC Montréal a soulful spirit, one that sparks imagination and stirs passion. “Before I even got admitted, I saw the school as an effervescent community, sponsoring international students and advertising diversity as well as integrity,” writes Tristan Boisvert. “HEC Montréal was the proof that you could learn from the best in a laid-back and modern environment. Even though it is the oldest management school in Canada, HEC Montreal really felt young.”

During the 1920s, Montréal earned the nickname as the “Harlem of the North,” thanks to American prohibition created a nightlife that drew jazz musicians to the city. Today, that legacy continues in the Montréal International Jazz Festival, which attracts over two million people to the city each summer. At HEC Montréal, jazz isn’t the only expression that relies on ad-libbing. This year, the school launched an Improvisation Club, where students perform exercises that prepare them for workplace situations such as holding difficult conversations.

A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS YOU

Zach Spencer helped to lead the club and came away impressed with how his classmates responded to stepping out of their comfort zones. “I introduced a game where the students would be challenged to observe a group creating a scene or image, then quickly take a piece of that image and create a new scene. I expected that for new improvisors, there would be hesitation in re-framing the image, a pause before stepping in front to create a story in an uncertain atmosphere. But I was blown away by the enthusiasm everyone showed to step in to help their peers, to let go, and to take chances.”

The Class of 2019 isn’t afraid to take chances. That’s why they entered business school in the first place. One of the unexpected benefits, says Jessica Drolet, was the small class size, which fosters a deeper level of interaction between students and with faculty. “[It] creates opportunities to get to know students on a deeper level. Even the program’s director and staff know students individually.”

At the same time, the one year timeframe enables the class to return to work, enlightened, energized, and engaged. “The duration was important to me because I did not want a two-year gap in my work experience,” adds Shweta Dubey. “I was worried about losing touch and wanted to go back to work utilizing my one year at its best, for which HEC Montréal is the best fit.”

What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates. 

Student Hometown Alma Mater Employer
Prisca Agneroh Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire HEC Montréal, RBC Dominion Securities
Tristan Boisvert Montréal, Canada University of Montréal Hermès Paris
Jessica Drolet Montréal, Canada Université du Québec à Montréal Pharmascience Vietnam
Shweta Dubey Lucknow, India CET-IILM-AHL Affle India Pvt. Ltd.
Caroline Dussault Montréal, Quebec University of Montréal Dunton Rainville
Benoit Giroussens Bordeaux, France University of Bordeaux Osoyoos Larose Winery LTD
Sagar Gupta New Delhi, India University of Delhi Bennett Coleman and Company Limited
Brandon Jacobs Sydney, Australia Macquarie University Minister for Industry, Energy and Resources (Australia)
Yannick Klein Whitehorse, Canada Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort Clinique vétérinaire du Val d’Arve Haute Savoie
Jean-Francois Lefort Ormstown, Canada Dalhousie University President of the Treasury Board of Canada
Megan McNeil Ottawa, Canada University of Waterloo Ciena Corporation
Zack Spencer Harbor Springs, MI University of Michigan American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative