HEC Paris is one of the leading MBA programs in Europe, offering a 16-month program of study with two intakes: January and September.
Last month, Forbes crowned HEC Paris #2 in its biannual Ranking of International MBA programs for 2019. HEC occupies a unique space between the one-year programs like INSEAD and traditional two-year programs, and its international scope, deep academic rigor, program structure and access to a worldwide network makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking to pursue an international MBA.
In terms of tackling HEC’s five required essays, the key to standing out is to be creative and authentic. HEC asks unique questions in its essays, and it’s important to make sure you answer all parts of the question. Think about what each question is really trying to learn about you, and how your answer makes you unique amongst other candidates.
When you answer the question about why you are applying for an MBA from HEC now, think about why this is the exact time that you need to earn an MBA in your career trajectory, and explain the rationale and how you came to that decision. What will an MBA at this point enable you to do, and why is HEC the program that makes the most sense for you? Make sure you articulate how the HEC program is different, and how that difference fits specifically with your own career plans and goals.
The question that asks about your most significant life achievement should let you to reflect on the biggest and most important things that have happened in all of your life – not just your career. It may be an example of something in which you doggedly persevered and finally succeeded in achieving. It may be reaching a personal best, a first-time experience, or a change in how you did something. What makes the best essay is not how big or important the achievement is compared to others, but how well you describe the why and how it is important to you, and your ability to convey that sense of importance to the admissions committee.
The essay that asks you to imagine an entirely different life than your current life is an opportunity to show both creative and analytical thinking. Imagine someone who is currently a banker in Hong Kong, for instance, and how a completely different life would be to become a farmer in the American Midwest. This would be a very different life, but the banker’s character and skills/natural abilities would be similar—so what would a numbers-oriented, fast thinking individual contribute to farming, crop yields, markets and the like? That makes for a very interesting essay, and shows how you think about yourself and the world.
Preparing for the HEC Interview Presentation
HEC asks candidates who are invited to interview to make a short 10-minute presentation on a subject of their choice. This is an opportunity to showcase your composure and clarity of thought, ability to deliver a coherent argument or explanation, and to express both creativity and passion in your presentation. It does not have to relate to your job or career – in fact some of the best presentations don’t – but it should be a subject that is relevant to you, and that you can communicate well to the interviewer. It’s also important that you keep your presentation short – five or six slides should be plenty, including the introductory slide. What you want to do in 10 short minutes is impress a concept or new way of thinking to your interviewer and show how you have come to a specific conclusion or observation. Keep it engaging and interesting, too – the more memorable, the better.
Across your application narrative, you’ll also want to consider what differentiates you from your peers. Articulate your uniqueness strongly in your application, along with how a global vision for your future will both contribute to and benefit from the HEC community.