One Student’s Experience of the HEC MBA - Diversity, Ethics and Benedictine Monks |

One Student’s Experience of the HEC MBA - Diversity, Ethics and Benedictine Monks

By Amelia Hopkins

Updated Updated

People pursue MBAs for all kinds of reasons; improved career prospects, networking opportunities, or to facilitate a change of career. For Evgeni Tsenter, the reason was simple: To broaden his horizons with international experience. His destination school, HEC Paris, was perfect for this goal as it’s among the most international in the world. Students from every major continent come to study at the acclaimed French institution.

Evgeni Tsenter

Evgeni’s pre-MBA career includes three years at the multinational technology company, IBM along with a further three years spent in the Israel Defense Forces, where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. Despite these successes, he tells us that his lack of international experience is what pushed him to pursue the qualification: “I was born in Russia and then we moved to Israel where I grew up, so I chose the HEC MBA for the international experience.”

“It has one of the most internationally diverse campuses, I think, in the world.” In fact, HEC Paris ranks first for diversity in the QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2018, and the institution itself suggests around 92% of students at HEC are international. In Evgeni’s class: “There were more than 50 countries represented and something like 100 countries represented on campus as a whole.”

MBA student clubs are formed to ensure as diverse a mix of students as possible to mimic the kind of situations students are likely to encounter in their future careers. To do this, clubs are composed of a variety of nationalities, genders, religions, work experience levels and career types. This diversity is evident from Evgeni’s own General Management & Leadership Club, about which he states: “I’m a Jewish Israeli, in my club there was a Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu, and a Shinto … It was incredibly diverse.”

But the diversity was not the only attractive factor of the MBA. HEC offers a range of extracurricular activities and events which help develop essential business skills. These include the student council, professional and networking clubs, team sports and a host of one-off events throughout the year. Evgeni made the most of these opportunities: “There were so many events:  MBA events, events set up by the careers department, events set up by the school. I was president of the General Management and Leadership Club. I was director of the Technology Club and I was on the TEC executive committee, which is a mentoring program with six CEOs of major companies, who spoke to us about their roles.”

The TEC program is of particular interest. Far from just another business-course, the program focuses on the personal side of business people, with executives discussing their work-life balance, their personal morals and how they apply this to their working lives. For the future leaders at HEC, this kind of information is incredibly beneficial. This isn’t the only part of the course that focuses on ethics and personal values. For those students interested, there’s an option to spend several days living in a real medieval monastery, learning about ethics from a group of Benedictine monks.

The trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity: “The place was 600km south of Paris, where the course is based, so we took a road-trip through the French countryside to get there. When we arrived, we had three days of the most amazing food, wine and discussion.”

Evgeni chose this elective due to an interesting ethics course that formed the part of the core modules, but also from a personal interest in the subject. “I worked at IBM before studying and it was a very ethical company. They focus on diversity and environmental impact, so that definitely had an impact on me.” During the course, the CEO of the French postal company La Poste came to the community to speak to the students about heading up a business of that size, and the ethical issues that arise with it. “The CEO of La Poste, with over a quarter of a million employees, took a day to come and speak to eight students from HEC.” He sums up the experience nicely: “It was incredible.”

As a student ambassador, Evgeni would highly recommend HEC to potential applicants, but his advice for those considering applying is simple: Decide what you want from life, and find out if HEC will help you get there.


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