HEC Paris Revamps Its MBA With An Emphasis On Employability

Europe's top ranked MBA programme has been restructured following feedback from major employers on what they want from their MBA recruits

London-based alumni and applicants to France’s top business school, HEC Paris, got the inside track on the school’s re-vamped MBA programme last week from the Dean of the programme, globe-trotting Frenchman and strategy guru Professor Bernard Garrette.

Prof. Garrette and HEC Paris admissions and careers staff hosted an information and networking session at the stylish Marylebone offices of French bank BNP Paribas, which employs hundreds of HEC Paris alumni.

The energetic Michael Scott, who is in charge of Development for France and Northern Europe, ran proceedings and responded to questions about application requirements and  timing, the MBA experience and job prospects for HEC Paris grads. You can message Michael via BusinessBecause!

The event attracted a wide selection of the London-based MBA community, including HEC Paris alums now working in private equity and retail strategy, and applicants working in software sales, IT procurement and media.

The new MBA will launch in September 2012 and was designed with the help of consulting firm Bain & Company, with input from major firms that hire MBA grads. The firms fed back that they wanted MBAs with very strong core business skills and also wanted them to have covered ethics – a compulsory class on the latter has been added into the new curriculum.

Other than that, a lot of the changes are to the structure of the 16-month programme, with core subjects covered in the first two quarters, electives in the third or fourth quarter, and a specialisation such as Finance, Entrepreneurship or Business Development.

Careers support and development is an integral part of the MBA from beginning to end, with a particular emphasis on helping students who want to change their industry. Prof Garrette said that around 20% of MBA grads go into finance, a further 20%into consulting, and 60% go into “the real economy”.

There will be two intakes for the full-time MBA; one in January and one in September.

Prof Garrette also commented on the future of MBA programmes across Europe, saying he expected more consolidation. HEC Paris has been ranked the top overall business school in Europe for the last three years by the Financial Times, and Prof Garrette said that only programmes with 200 or more students would achieve a top ranking in future, and in Europe there will be about ten business schools that will make the grade.

HEC Paris has made a conscious decision not to open campuses in different parts of the world, focusing instead on building strong partnerships with 12 business schools around the world, ranging from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, NYU Stern and MIT Sloan in the US, and the Fundaçao Getulio Vargas in Sao Paulo Brazil.

Students are encouraged to go on exchange programmes, though there is fierce competition over places at the elite American schools. Prof Garrette pointed out that, if you want to get ahead of the curve in the business world, it might be more sensible to go on exchange to Brazil or China!

Another exciting development for HEC Paris is that it has been included in a group of elite educational institutions in the Paris area that have been selected as part of an “Excellence Initiative” by the French government. They will benefit from investment aimed at improving links between top business students and top science and engineering students, with the aim of boosting innovation.

See below for some photos from the event!

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HEC Paris Associate Dean of the MBA, Prof Bernard Garrette

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Michael Scott (left), Development Manager for France and northern Europe

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HEC Paris Corporate Development Manager Kay Dawson (left), explains the work of the Career Management Centre

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