Kellogg | Mr. Operator
GMAT 740, GPA 4.17/4.3
INSEAD | Mr. Sustainability PM
GRE 335, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Truth
GMAT 670, GPA 3.2
INSEAD | Mr. Business Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Marketing
GRE 327, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. STEM Minor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.78
Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Startup Founder
GMAT 740, GPA 4
HEC Paris | Mr. Productivity Focused
GMAT 700, GPA 3.6
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Transition
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Cambridge Judge Business School | Ms. Story-Teller To Data-Cruncher
GMAT 700 (anticipated), GPA 3.5 (converted from Australia)
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
McCombs School of Business | Mr. CRE
GMAT 625, GPA 3.4
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Tech Engineer
GRE 310, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Finance Nerd
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Financial World
GMAT 730, GPA 7.8
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Wharton | Mr. Global Perspective
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Ms. Marketing Supe Latina
GMAT 720-740 (anticipated), GPA 3.1 (last two years 3.4)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Financial Solutions
GRE 313, GPA 3.62
Wharton | Mr. Valuation Specialist
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Commercial Engineer
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Schoolmaster
GMAT 710 (to re-take), GPA 3.5 (Converted from UK)
Wharton | Ms. Atypical Applicant
GRE 314, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. Passion Projects
GMAT 730, GPA 3.15
MIT Sloan | Mr. MBB Transformation
GMAT 760, GPA 3.46
Yale | Mr. Army Logistics
GRE 310, GPA 3.72
Stanford GSB | Mr. Clown
GMAT 740, GPA 3.85

At HEC Paris, It’s Just Another Day In The Life Of An MBA

Veuve Clicquot’s 19th Century headquarters in the Champagne capital of Reims, France

Veuve Clicquot’s 19th Century headquarters in the Champagne capital of Reims, France

The champagne is flowing.

White-gloved waiters await a group of MBA students in the stately drawing room of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin’s 19th Century headquarters in the Champagne capital of Reims, France. As the students stroll into the room, the servers waste little time in generously filling glasses with the bubbly liquid that sustains this famous region of France, followed by light canapés to nibble between sips.

The students aren’t there to toast or celebrate anything special with their chilled drinks. It’s just another day in the life of an HEC Paris MBA where treks to this place or that are as commonplace as the Pinot Noir grapes that dominate Veuve Clicquot’s champagnes. It’s one of the school’s MBA treks, a central part of the HEC Paris MBA experience.


This luxury trip to Reims is unique, a quintessential joie de vivre experience, not part of the more mainstream treks to visit with companies and executives in finance, technology, or marketing (see below). It’s a rare private peek at one of the world’s most successful luxury businesses, from the vineyards, wine tanks and cellars to an executive presentation in the company’s boardroom and an elaborate dinner in what was once the residence of Madame Clicquot, the iconic female entrepreneur who made Veuve Clicquot a global brand.

“Treks are unique opportunities for our participants to gain hands-on insights into a specific company or industry and to develop their professional network,” explains Andrea Masini, dean of the school’s MBA program. “They play an important role in helping our students get jobs. Not only because participants develop professional contacts, but also because the insider knowledge of the industry they acquire during the company visits makes a difference when they interview with recruiters. Besides all that, treks are also great fun and a wonderful opportunity to create stronger ties within our student community.”

Befitting HEC Paris’ diverse global culture, the MBA students lucky enough to take this trek hail from all over the world. The group includes students from Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the U.S. After all, 93% of HEC’s MBA students are from outside France yet have chosen to get their MBAs from a school that is a French institution founded in 1881. The school boasts more CEOs of Fortune global 500 corporations than any other university in Europe.


For Janika Naust, a German who is being sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, the trip is the third HEC trek she has taken. On an excursion to Milan with the MBA Luxury Club last year, she met and engaged with a long list of fashion brands, including Bottega Veneta, Ermenegildo Zegna, Yoox Net A Porter. Earlier this year, she ventured to Amsterdam with the MBA Marketing Club to meet with the likes of Heineken, Uber, and Google.

“The treks give us insights on how different companies work in a certain field of interest,” she says. “Being able to speak with leaders in certain industries and functions enables us to better understand trends, challenges, and demands for certain roles, companies, and industries.”

They’re also an opportunity to strengthen and build a network outside of France and HEC while still an MBA student. Last April, Marc Chbeir, a former consultant from Lebanon, who flew off on a consulting trek to Dubai organized by the school’s career center and the MBA Consulting Club. During the week in Dubai, students met non-stop each day with the major consulting firms, including McKinsey, Bain, Monitor Deloitte, and Accenture Strategy. “This experience allowed us to interact with the consultants, associates, and partners, get insights about their daily activities, visit their offices and build strong network and connections,” says Chbeir.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.