The HEC Paris MBA: What You Need To Know
HEC Paris, located in the town of Jouy-en-Josas, France, can legitimately claim to be one of the best B-schools in Europe. The latest ranking from The Economist backs the claim, with HEC ranking No. 1 this year for “Potential to Network” and No. 2 for “Increase in Salary”.
HEC has two MBA intakes each year — in January and September, capped at 300 students — over 94% of whom are international. At 16 months, the HEC full-time MBA is longer than the 12-month European standard, which allows students to mull their future more than some shorter programs that seem to catapult students from one job to another.
The school offers an extensive program of career workshops coupled with an impressive roster of company visits, as well as the opportunity for students to incorporate an internship—or two—into their studies. HEC does indeed like to focus on the transformational potential, saying that two-thirds of its MBAs change either geography, sector, or focus, while a remarkable 80% change two or more.
For the first half of the curriculum, students undertake the Fundamental Phase, consisting of core business and management courses. After eight months, students move on to the more exploratory Customized Phase, in which they become experts in their field of interest. Customization takes place through the choice of seven specializations: Entrepreneurship, Finance, Advanced Management, Strategic Marketing, Strategy, Digital Innovation, or Sustainable & Disruptive Innovation. This phase also involves electives, a fieldwork project, and a wide choice of international exchanges.
As for internships, students can intern during the program or at the end of their MBA Program with lengths varying from 2 months to 6 months or more. Last year, over 65% of HEC Paris MBAs had internships all over the globe, both in person and remotely.
As for opportunities outside of required courses, there are many. Aside from participating in a plethora of conferences and clubs, students love to frequent the Creative Destruction Lab, where they have the opportunity to work directly with highly scalable start-ups dedicated to finding solutions to climate change. The school also works closely with Station F, the world’s biggest start-up campus. Students also benefit from having access to the HEC Incubator where some of France’s most accomplished entrepreneurs gather. Students can capitalize on the school’s participation in the Paris-Saclay Innovation Cluster (dubbed “The Silicon Valley of France”).
The school is surrounded by some of France’s best research institutions, high-tech businesses, and start-ups, all of which HEC students can access. Firms and investors come and pitch ideas to MBA students, who then work on commercializing the technology. The ideas are then pitched to CEOs and VCs, and some develop into real businesses. The entrepreneurial streak in this MBA clearly rubs off: 20% of HEC Paris MBAs go on to find their own businesses at some point.
Students continually name the Outdoor Leadership Seminar and the MBA Tournament (MBAT) as two of their favorite traditions at the HEC Paris MBA.
During the Outdoor Leadership Seminar, students spend two days proving and improving their leadership and problem-solving skills supervised by military-trained professionals. They learn to lead in situations where they don’t have all the answers, where they confront obstacles that they’ve never seen before – learning how to leverage the strength of their team to accomplish a common goal.
The MBA Tournament, the “MBA Olympics” — a sports competition between more than 1,500 MBA students from schools across Europe, with a smattering of competitors from U.S. schools. This is a great leadership opportunity for students who get to run the financing, marketing, logistics and operations of a large-scale event with a half a million-euro budget.
HEC also offers “dual degrees,” meaning students can take the MBA in 12 months and spend another year studying for a master’s at institutions such as Yale, National University of Singapore, or the London School of Economics.
Associate Dean of HEC’s MBA Andrea Masini says, “HEC’s MBA is designed to maximize the chances of career transformation. Often these days people don’t just want to increase their salary, but also to have an impact on society and have a purpose in life through the way they do business. HEC’s 16-month MBA, which is longer than most European ones, gives you the chance to figure out what your purpose is. We strongly emphasize taking decisions in uncertain and highly multicultural conditions. We think that 16 months working in a context as diverse as it can be is the best training for leading a multinational corporation or creating a company with a global market.”
HEC Paris MBA Rankings Data
HEC Paris MBA Employment Stats