What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates? HEC Paris Q&A | TopMBA.com

What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates? HEC Paris Q&A

By Linda M

Updated October 16, 2020 Updated October 16, 2020

After a difficult year, the MBA job market is finally bouncing back.

But what does the future hold for MBA candidates and business schools?

We’ve caught up with Marie Courtois, Director of the Career Center at HEC Paris School of Management, to find out.

How has the job market changed this year from last year?

The outlook of the job market is very similar to last year’s: both returning and new companies are on board, attending career fairs or running standalone presentations. Thankfully, this is not the same situation as 2008 when recruiters froze recruitment activities overnight.

Graduate recruiters seem to have a pragmatic approach and would rather delay the start of a contract than cancel it altogether. This means that some of our recruiters are sharing less offers or are more cautious in terms of how many candidates they are looking to hire for now.

We have seen a higher placement in Europe this year than in previous years, and we have seen more interaction with local firms as travelling is still complicated. But again, this can change overnight – nothing is set in stone.

What is the recruitment process like at HEC Paris? Would you say it’s difficult to earn a place on the MBA program?

Recruitment begins before you apply. Personalized conversations are very important during the recruitment process, as we truly want to get to know you. We encourage prospective students to connect with our Marketing & Recruitment Managers from the beginning to understand our program as much as possible. You can also book a one-on-one meeting or join an info session or webinar.

In terms of earning a place on the program, no, I wouldn’t say that it’s difficult, but it does require a lot from the MBA candidate – including time, deep reflection, motivation and ambition. Making the jump and leaving behind your professional career is a tough, but brave, choice. The acceptance rate to the HEC Paris MBA program stands at 17 percent. We do receive a lot of applications, but don't let that scare you off. We read and review all applications, looking for excellence, diversity and fit across all dimensions.

What do you look for in HEC Paris candidates?

Our MBAs join HEC Paris not only to learn from others, but to also share their knowledge. We value well-rounded candidates with a strong academic track record. We look for students with a global mindset, a passion for excellence and leadership potential professionally and personally. We require a minimum of two-years of work experience and a GMAT or GRE test.

What special resources does HEC Paris have for business school students when it comes to careers? How do you prepare them for life after graduation?

HEC Paris has developed and rolled out a structured approach around three pillars: know yourself; know the market; and match yourself to the market. For each step, there is a series of topical workshops combined with one-on-one career advising sessions.

Know yourself focuses on students’ strengths, preferences, and self-discovery.

Know the market is about understanding the market, industries, sectors, debunking myths, and understanding what recruiters are looking for in their field.

Match yourself to the market is the go-to market phase, when students are fully equipped and ready to apply thanks to the first two steps of the process. They have access to companies on campus via standalone presentations and dedicated career fairs. Opportunities are also posted on our career platform and arise from networking events, organized by the Career Center, the Alumni Association, all the activities run by our amazing professional MBA clubs. The opportunities to connect and network are endless.

How successful are HEC MBA graduates at landing a job after graduation? What is the success rate? And what are some of the notable companies?

I’ve seen hundreds of MBA students while working in Careers, and I’ve yet to find someone who wasn’t a success. Success can be very different student to student: some may be seeking an industry, function or geographical change, while others might be looking to accelerate their career in the same pre-MBA industry.

On average, 92 percent of HEC Paris MBA graduates secure a job within three months of graduation. Often, those who are still looking at graduation have a specific or niche job in mind and it can take longer to find it.

Each year, we host hundreds of companies across industries looking to recruit MBAs. In addition, we have companies who interact with us via our job board.

As our career curriculum is embedded in our academic curriculum, students follow studies on job preparation, sector-focused training, and soft skills for credits. With this credit career programming, I feel we prepare our students for success in the job market.

Some of the well-known and sought after companies who have recruited several of our MBAs through on-campus events this year include Amazon, Apple, Bain & Company, BASF, The Boston Consulting Group, CMA-CGM, Dalberg, Essilor, Estee Lauder, EY, Google, J&J, L’Oreal, McKinsey, Monitor Deloitte, Renault Nissan, Strategy &, Uber and Zalando. We also have students who have joined lesser known start-ups, but they’re just as exciting.

These are, of course, impressive names, but what we are most proud of is the diversity of placement amongst sectors. HEC prepares students across sectors, and they have many options upon graduation.

Recent GMAC figures show that MBA recruitment and salaries might boost again in 2021. How confident are you in the value of the MBA in the current job market? Do you expect to see more positive trends in the upcoming months?

We are confident that the HEC Paris MBA delivers an exceptional ROI, excellent academic substance, and a lifelong network regardless of the economic climate.

We did see a small pause in recruitment in the spring. However, it has now picked up and is busier than ever. While the future is uncertain, the outlook is positive, and we have had more uptake from companies for on-campus recruitment than in previous years.

It’s a good time to update and refresh your skills, and a great time to rethink how we do business.  An MBA teaches you to be agile and adaptable and exposes you to business across cultures.

This article was originally published in October 2020 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience.