Interview with HEC Paris MBA Director of Communication

HEC Paris MBAWe interviewed Benoit Banchereau, the Director of Communication, Development and Admissions for the HEC Paris MBA. The interview covers questions related to the MBA program, Post-MBA trends, unique courses, visa policies for International students, and what makes HEC Paris MBA different from Insead.

1. F1GMAT: What is the biggest misconception about HEC Paris MBA Program?

The biggest misconception about the HEC Paris MBA program is that most of the students on the program are French. This is not the case. Due to the international approach at HEC Paris MBA, the student body is made up of 90% international students from over 40 nationalities. All students are also given the opportunity to learn French, which will help them if they choose to remain in France after their MBA.

2. F1GMAT: HEC Paris full-time MBA has given emphasis on Career Management and Leadership Development. How is the curriculum structured to give students the ability to choose their career path?

Our curriculum, which was redesigned in partnership with Bain and Company has two phases; the Fundamental Phase and the Customized Phase.

The Fundamental Phase provides our students with advanced knowledge, in essential, business disciplines, and the Customized Phase allows them to tailor their MBA to reach their professional objectives, as they can select from a broad range of options including elective courses, specializations, international exchanges and fieldwork projects.

3. F1GMAT: What are some of the unique courses and activities offered in the MBA program?

At HEC Paris MBA, there is an emphasis on leadership and transformation. This is highlighted in some of the various activities that are run throughout the academic year. Examples include the CEO Series that brings some of Europe’s most influential leaders to the HEC Paris campus, for an evening of talks and discussions.

Additionally, students can apply for the TEC on Campus Program. This is a program that is designed to assist participants in defining their personal and professional growth objectives through meetings with CEOs and group discussions.

Our learning by doing approach can also be seen in how students are given opportunities to practice their leadership skills outside of the classroom with events such as the student-organized MBA Tournament (a student-run 3-day sporting event) and the off-campus leadership seminar at the elite St Cyr Military Academy.

4. F1GMAT: We could sense the camaraderie among students with the talent show photos shared in the HEC Paris MBA Twitter Feed. How is the student life in HEC Paris?

Our ideal class size of 200 means that students get to know their peers. At HEC Paris MBA, our students appreciate the fact that they come in contact with people from different backgrounds, with a diverse range of academic and professional experiences. This diversity helps our students develop the global mindsets that they need for business post-graduation. With an exhaustive list of MBA clubs that are on offer, students can develop their interests and lifelong friendships.

5.  F1GMAT: How do you ensure that the MBA students reach their short-term career goals?

At HEC Paris MBA, all our students benefit from personalized career support. With our Careers Management Centre, they have access to an impressive alumni network, which consists of 50,000+ members worldwide, as well as careers service support, which helps to prepare them for their lifelong careers, and not just their first job after graduation.

6. F1GMAT: What are the Visa Policies for International students joining HEC Paris MBA program? Can they stay back after the course and search for the right job opportunities?

International students coming from outside the European Union to HEC Paris need to apply for a long-stay student visa in their country of origin. Once on campus, there is a Student Services office, which aids those students with the legal stay procedures, including the validation and renewal of the long stay visa. The office also provides information on the APS (Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour), which is a one year residence permit allowing recent MBA graduates to stay in France to search for a job.

7. F1GMAT: Career Service team plays a major role in attracting the right Employers. What are some of the post-MBA opportunities available for HEC Paris MBA Students?

Recruitment at HEC Paris MBA is an ongoing process throughout the year. Our dedicated Career Management Centre has a number of initiatives in place to connect our students with a huge range of companies. Companies regularly come to the campus to recruit, and there are a number of career fairs, industry forums, and career days that provide students with considerable exposure.

Career treks to different geographical locations, most recently Dubai, Singapore, and Berlin, allow students to explore their international options.

The biggest case in hiring this year has been in the industry sector, accounting for over half of the graduating class of 2014. This has essentially been driven by the tech sector, accounting for almost 20% of the total graduating class. This upsurge has been led by companies such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn.

Key Results

1. Among job functions, 22% chose Business Development while Consulting took second place at 20%.

2. 90% of the graduating class have accepted offers within three months of graduation.

3. HEC MBA graduates doubled their pre-MBA salary with the base salary increasing from €81,900 in 2013 to €82,100 in 2014 while the total salary (Bonus + Base Salary) averaged at €95,400.

4. For career switchers, HEC Paris MBA enabled 67% of the class to change job sector, 74% job function, and 55% their pre-MBA location.

Download HEC Paris MBA Career Report (For Detailed job function, industries, and locations)

8.  F1GMAT: Can you give our readers a snapshot of the latest class?

The Class of 2014 had a median age of 30, with 42 nationalities representing the class. 86% of the class was international with the median GMAT score at 690.

9. F1GMAT: What are the entry criteria in terms of the number of years of experience/GMAT/GPA for the Full-time MBA Program?

Our ideal candidates have three years of minimum professional working experience, with a minimum GMAT score of 600, and an average score of 685 for the Class of 2014.

10. F1GMAT: Who should join HEC Paris Full-time MBA program?

At HEC Paris MBA, we value candidates with proven academic strength, and the intellectual capability to thrive in a demanding environment.

Our ideal candidates are driven with a strong sense of personal direction. They have leadership potential, and collaborate well in teams and international projects, with a good knowledge of cultural differences that makes them ready to share their knowledge and experience with others.

We also value passion, humility, individuality and respect for others.

11. F1GMAT: What makes HEC Paris different from say INSEAD, which is based in Paris?

What sets us apart from the rest is that we offer the broadest career opportunities in Europe. With more alumni in CEO positions than any other continental business school, it is the alma mater of CEOs in Europe, with the CEOs of BestBuy, L’Oreal, Kering, Lafarge, AXA and the Executive Vice President of Havas Worldwide, to name a few. Furthermore, our students benefit from the school’s proximity to La Défense, the epicentre of European Business, with the highest concentration of multinational corporation headquarters on the continent.

Additionally, we are one of the founding members and the only Business School in the Paric-Saclay Innovation Cluster, which is ranked as one of the most influential clusters in the world.

12. F1GMAT: Do you offer merit and need-based scholarships?

At HEC Paris MBA, we offer our students over €1,000,000 in aid every year thanks to the work and donations of the HEC Foundation. As an MBA is a significant investment, in both time and money, we want to make paying for our MBA as easy and straightforward as possible. 

We provide a wide range of scholarships and funding options. HEC Paris scholarships fall into various categories: merit-based or based on specific criteria and all admissions decisions independent of an applicant’s financial situation.

13. F1GMAT: What are the other funding options?

Another possible funding option is through Prodigy Finance. This innovative platform offers loans to international students at the world’s leading business schools. Prodigy Finance’s community platform ensures that alumni and other investors earn competitive returns, while students gain access to higher education they otherwise may not have been able to finance. To date, Prodigy Finance has funded students from 92 nationalities, as their lending model is borderless.

14. F1GMAT: For the Entrepreneurially minded students, are there any opportunities to specialize in new Venture Creation and Product Development?

The Entrepreneurship Specialization is designed to equip students with both fundamental and practical skills for starting a venture, either within an organization or from scratch. Students come together to create high quality ventures in the context of the HEC e-Lab, which is an exclusive entrepreneurship lab that is equipped with state-of-the-art interactive technologies that stimulate creativity and communication.

Throughout the specialization, students are given the opportunity to meet experienced entrepreneurs weekly for mentoring sessions, and their entrepreneurial skills are further nurtured through collaborations with external parties such as inventors and business accelerators. As part of the powerful Paris-Saclay Innovation Cluster, one of the most influential innovation clusters in the world, students benefit from leading research institutions and innovative companies.

Contact an HEC Paris MBA Representative

HEC Paris MBA Director of Communications
Benoit Banchereau is the Director of Communication, Development and Admissions for the HEC Paris MBA. Previously to that role, he was the Director of Marketing at A.T. Kearney, Standard&Poors' and more recently at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Benoit holds a journalism (La Sorbonne) and marketing (INSEAD) academic background.

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