Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Elisa Leehan, HEC Paris

Elisa Leehan

HEC Paris

“I am a social introvert who is driven to make the world an equitable place.”

Hometown: Sterling, Virginia, USA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a goal to make it to all 50 states by the time I’m 50. Currently at 26 states.

Undergraduate School and Major: James Madison University, Mathematics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: KPMG US, Senior Associate

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of HEC Paris’ MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The reason I decided to attend HEC Paris is because of the notoriety the school has in providing students what they need to change career paths. My goal is to work in sustainability for the luxury beauty industry. Fortunately, sustainability is a growing field in the MBA world but what makes HEC Paris unique is their partnership with luxury retailers that will provide the opportunities needed to switch to that industry.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at HEC Paris? I am most looking forward to getting involved in the MBAT. The MBAT is an MBA Tournament held at HEC Paris where MBA programs come to HEC to compete in a series of challenges to prove which school is truly ranked #1. Not only will this activity give us the opportunity to network with different schools, but it will also give us the chance to apply our new learnings while organizing the event.

HEC Paris is just 17 kilometers from Paris. What do you see as the best part of earning your MBA so close to Paris? The proximity to Paris is a significant advantage from both a business and pleasure perspective. Students have easy access to a wide variety of businesses and internships to learn from, while also being able to enjoy the cultural aspects of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

Historically, over 90% of HEC Paris’ MBA students hail from outside France. Why is exposure to global diversity so critical to business success? Global diversity provides businesses the opportunity to challenge and improve their business model even before entering the public through the unique perspectives that diverse staff can foster.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Being on the frontline of the cyber-attacks during the height of the pandemic. My team and I were able to support essential government agencies from cyber criminals during a vulnerable time in history.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? A podcast that I found extremely helpful during my application process is B-Schooled from the firm Stacy Blackman Consulting. They have a large range of useful topics, one covered in every episode, that include knowledgeable guidance on how to navigate the stressful application process.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into HEC Paris’s MBA program? If you are interested in applying to HEC Paris and/or pursing an MBA, the best advice I can give you is to first identify what you want out of the program. Schools appreciate authenticity in their applicants, but also want someone who has a set goal and can align that goal to the school’s resources. Make sure you do the research and apply to the school because it’s the right fit for you!


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