HEC MBA Blog: Diary of a HEC MBA 2011 student

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Posted by pam at 11 February , 2011

Hi All,

I’ve decided to change the name of this blog to better reflect the reality of my activities since I’m now following the second phase of my cursus in China.

I’ll close out comments on this website.

In the future, please visit the following websites.

And update your bookmarks :)

The post "Forking out…" is now here.

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Posted by pam at 18 December , 2010

This week was the last week of class at HEC for the students of my intake.

On one hand there are those who have found a job and who are ready to enjoy the holidays before starting their new post-MBA life, on the other hand there are those who are still looking for a job end getting a bit anxious. These days there are many farewell celebrations at HEC to wave goodbye to studies and Paris. 16 months have gone past at such an incredible speed.

My situation is different because, as a double degree student, my curriculum spans accros 2 full years and will end in June 2011. As a consequence, there’s a gap between my current mindset and the one of my classmates following the normal cursus.

Indeed, even though I’m conscious that my studies are coming to an end, I’m not yet fully ready to face the professional world…

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Posted by pam at 12 August , 2010

I arrived in China last Saturday and I’m in Japan since today, on holiday, until the Tsinghua registration on August 25th.

In the length of 5 days, I managed to open a bank account, visit 14 flats in the Wudaokou area and finally sign a lease for me to move in when I get back on August 24th. I also met about 15 of my new Tsinghua classmates, and then I couldn’t help but think of when we did the same thing with HEC admits, a year ago.

Wudaokou station by night

Wudaokou station by night

What can I say about these 5 days… It felt like being ran over by a truck!
Of course, it was self inflicted toughness, giving myself just 4 days (while massively jet-lagged) to find the flat of my year time. But, hey, this is China! And not exactly the sanitized expat China from Beijing’s East side. I dare say that my 5 senses were exposed to the experience.
The Beijing I’ll live in for a year is crowded, noisy and smelly. It was cold and humid, as summer is there, and I heard winter can be really cold. I also found that Beijingers love their chillies.
I think I’m in for a challenge ;)

But the internet connectivity in China is so damn slow!

Cet article en Français

The post "5 days in China" is now here.

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Posted by pam at 5 August , 2010

Walking out of HEC

Walking out of HEC

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since my previous post.
As I’m preparing my big move to China, time has really passed without me noticing anything.

Before I go and start the second chapter of my MBA experience, I wanted to reflect back on what I have learned and what I’ll take away from it.

3 classes I enjoyed:

  • Marketing (with J.N. Kapferer)
  • Corporate Finance (with P. Quiry)
  • Luxury Strategy (with V. Bastien)

3 things that make HEC unique:

  • TEC on campus: I haven’t had time to write a dedicated article about it although I really should have. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been selected as one of the 12 TEC participants. It’s only fair to say that this programme has made an enormous impact on my life. I know that in 10 years even if I forget everything I have learned from my MBA, I’ll be able to look back at this programme as something that made me into a better person.
  • MBAT and the Social and Sustainable Business Conference: Large events organised 100% by students. These events were key to solidifying the HEC MBA students through a common goal and high spirit. And this year HEC won the MBAT for the first time. Enough said.
  • Leadership Seminar at St Cyr: There we applied in real physical situations what leadership means. What does it mean to be a leader and followed as such even by others who don’t think the same way? What does it mean to conquer one’s fears and be part of a team? In 2 days we learned by doing what could not have been taught to us even through many words.

3 fun facts about the campus:

  • Piano bar and POWs: The parties on HEC campus are a lot of fun. The piano bar hosts MBA parties regularly, and in case you want more you can attend the huge POW parties hosted every week by the Grande Ecole students.
  • Cultural weeks and the French Connection club: HEC communities regularly organise cultural parties. This year we had cultural weeks for Africa, Japan, China, India, and Latin countries. In my case, I participated mostly in the French Connection club, which organises activities to teach fellow students about France throughout the year.
  • La Ferme de Viltain: If you love to know where your food comes from and prefer organic, you can go pick your own fruits and vegetables at la ferme. They also offer a large assortment of dairy products. This place is quite trendy too! I found some of their milk in a posh deli in the 6e arrondissement!

3 things to be aware of:

  • Jouy en Josas: This is NOT Paris, it took me an average of 1.5 hours to go from Paris to Jouy en Josas, same back. And that is if there’s no transportation strike. If you want to be flexible, get a car.
  • French administration: I wasn’t too surprised as I’ve worked in this environment before, but be aware that it can have its inefficiencies.
  • French language: If you can master French before HEC, do it! (Maybe you can train by reading the French part of this blog…) It’s not only going to make your life easier outside the campus but also make you feel better included inside. In addition, some of the MBA’s top class courses are taught in French by reputable teachers of the Grande Ecole.

Anyway, all things considered, I have had a fantastic time at HEC and it’s not without some nostalgia that I’m about to move on.
Tsinghua, here I come!

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Posted by pam at 6 July , 2010

Last night at Expansiel: heavy packing going on...

Last night at Expansiel: heavy packing going on...

Tonight is my last night at Expansiel.

So I’m packing all my belongings and getting ready to move back to Paris where I’ll stay for a month before going to China.

I spent my last evening at the Piano Bar watching the football game between Uruguay and the Netherlands (Netherlands won 3 vs. 2). It was a great match but now I’m back in my room, packing my remaining belongings. My window is open and I can hear the youngsters from the Grande Ecole partying and laughing out loud, as usual.

It feels a bit strange to say goodbye to a year I spent here, with all the good memories I accumulated.

Bye bye HEC ~

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Posted by pam at 3 July , 2010

Summer has arrived. After a little struggle (15°C on June 21st) heat has settled on campus, as well as the football world cup :)

Now, PP1 is almost done for me. I still have a couple of classes next week but I’ll be on vacation right after.

During PP1, we had the options of doing a long internship (5 months) of study electives. I was more interested by classes (and vacations) and I made a scrupulous selection based on my own interests and feedback from previous intakes.

Happy participants of the theatre elective

Happy participants of the theatre elective

In addition, as I was not accepted to the Luxury track (very selective) I tried to pick classes that would be most useful after my MBA, while being unique and hard to get at Tsinghua, as I will still have the chance to study electives there in September.

As a result, I took the following classes:
- The Financial Dimension of Strategic Decisions
- International Entrepreneurial Finance
- The Macroeconomics of Emerging Economies
- Marketing and Strategies in Luxury
- Managing the Growing Company
- International Negociations
- Discovering your Leadership Path
- Theatre (in French)

The quality of each class was variable, but I was generally very satisfied by my electives.

In particular, I could verify that my personal sensitivity gave me a good understanding of Luxury as well as a good fit with SMBs. In addition, the soft skills classes helped me better understand my psychological profile, be it for a negociation or during an oral presentation.

Again, this period was as enriching as Core 1 and Core 2. I had the opportunity to refine my post-MBA objectives with a focus on 2 career options that I could test through discussions with teachers, alumni and external contributors.

Now, I’m getting ready for a month of vacation in France before leaving to China in early August. I’ll do my best to enjoying it to the max! :)

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Posted by pam at 28 May , 2010

Social and Sustainable Business Conference

Social and Sustainable Business Conference

I should have mentionned it a while ago.

Indeed, the HEC MBA students organise two major events every year.

One is of course MBAT, which I already mentionned many times.
The other is the Social and Sustainable Business Conference (or SSBC), which is more recent but no less important.

I’m all the more guilty of not mentionning it earlier on this blog that I participated a lot in the organisation of this event, which is part of the Visions of Leadership cycle.

This year, on May 28th and May 29th, we will welcome around 50 speakers and 400 participants who will discuss sustainability in its economic, social and environmental forms.

Pretty cool huh! :)

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Posted by pam at 16 May , 2010

MBAT closing party

MBAT closing party

After a very quick start and 3 days of intense activities, this year’s MBAT resulted in a resounding success.

It was successful because so many participating schools came. Competing in events against 11 other schools with high energy and people cheering from all sides was a fantastic blast. We were also proud to show the other schools that all HEC MBA students could organise, support and play in this big event.

But it was a success most importantly because, for the 20th anniversary of MBAT, WE WON. The HEC MBA had never won the tournament but this year every students were determined to be the best in the even organisation but also in sports. We trained and worked really hard for this, and it paid!

As for me, I participated in the pétanque and dodgeball competition and we won the title for both. So I’m really happy to have brought my personnal contribution to our overall success! :)


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Posted by pam at 13 May , 2010

Today MBAT starts with sport competitions and parties which will span across 3 days.

Some statistics:

  • 1300 students coming from 13 European MBAs: Cambridge, Cranfield, ESADE, IE, IESE, IMD, LBS, Manchester, Oxford, RSM, SDA Bocconi, Tias Nimbas and HEC.
  • 21 sports competitions
  • 5 events/parties

All HEC MBA students will be participating in the organisation of this event that we are very proud to host. This year is also special because it’s going to be the 20th anniversary of MBAT so we’re determined to show a united front in terms of welcoming our guests in the best way while also winning the competition.


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Posted by pam at 26 April , 2010

Hey there!
Spring has finally arrived!

Violets blooming all over the campus woods

Violets blooming all over the campus woods

What can I say, I’m very glad I could pack away my coat and enjoy again nice walks around the campus. Flowers are just about everywhere these days. Everybody is in good mood :)

It is also time to look back as we have now completed our second Core phase.

During this period, I have learned about:
- Business Economics
- Corporate Finance (in French)
- Decision Making
- Organisational Behaviour
- Management Accounting & Control (in French)
- Strategic Management (in French)
- Sustainable Business Strategy

Like in Core 1, I didn’t know much about any of these topics.

I confirmed my strange taste for Financial Accounting as I enjoyed the classes we had in Management Accounting. This is big news for me and I’m now starting to include this skill into future career options. (Seriously, who’d want to include Accounting as a career option!)

I may say that this period has been as life changing as Core 1. But maybe as a continuation. I felt that Core 1 was a “Reset” time, while Core 2 was about (re)building my expectations.
I’ve definitely started to think of career options in a different way and now I’m seriously considering options that would have sounded wild when I left my job, just under a year ago.

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The post "Spring! And the end of Core 2" is now here.

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