The HEC Paris MBA: What You Need To Know
What is the best business school in Europe? HEC, located just southwest of Paris in the town of Jouy-en-Josas, has a good claim: It is the top European business school for producing future Fortune 500 CEOs, just a whisker behind Stanford.
At 16 months, the HEC MBA is longer than the 12-month European standard, which allows students to mull their future more than some short courses that seem to catapult them 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. Indeed, HEC likes 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 the usual MBA courses covering the core elements of business and management. After eight months, students move on to the more exploratory Customized Phase in which they become “experts in their field of interest,” says the school. This involves electives, a fieldwork project, and a wide choice of international exchanges. Students can choose from the seven specializations: Entrepreneurship, Finance, Advanced Management, Strategic Marketing, Strategy, Digital Innovation, or Sustainable & Disruptive Innovation.
HEC recently added the Creative Destruction Lab to its ever-increasing list of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. This seed-stage program, which exists in only nine locations worldwide, gives students the opportunity to work directly with highly scalable start-ups dedicated to finding solutions to climate change.
In addition, HEC works closely with Station F, the world’s biggest start-up campus. The HEC Incubator is located there, and students benefit from having access to some of France’s most accomplished entrepreneurs. Students can also 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 found their own businesses at some point.
HEC is also home to 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.
HEC has two MBA intakes each year, in January and September, for a total of 300 students, over 90% of whom are non-French. This MBA clearly works as a springboard to a job in Europe, where 60% 66% of graduates land jobs after MBA.
Andrea Masini, Associate Dean of HEC’s MBA
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.
Payal Saini – Class of 2022
I chose HEC Paris because of the diversity of the class, the 16-month length, and the ability to customize my experience through exchanges, internships and the MBA project. HEC’s programming has a clear focus on leadership development through hands-on experience which was what I liked most. I learn best by doing and I knew that I would want options to pick the best path for me during my program. I applied to HEC for the January in-take, which not many schools provide as an option. Having that flexibility was important to me.
The diversity and caliber of the HEC Paris MBA class ultimately drew me to the school. While academics and professional development are important to me, I wanted my MBA journey to be a holistically transformative experience – one that goes far beyond academics and centers on what happens when you explore the unfamiliar and unexpected.
HEC Paris MBA Rankings Data
HEC Paris MBA Employment Stats