The Master in Management - Grande Ecole has, since 1881, epitomized the French tradition of excellence. L’École des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (or the HEC School of Management, in English) was created by the Chamber of Commerce of Paris in order to develop a high-quality education in business. The school educated carefully-selected young people destined to lead the economic transformations that followed the industrial revolution.
This goal has remained the same since then: to be at the cutting edge of teaching, economics and social issues, so that the training provided by the MiM may allow students to fully participate in the changing world around them and go on to lead highly successful careers. For 135 years, HEC Paris has continuously endeavoured to enrich the Grande Ecole MiM, its content, its objectives, its opportunities and the prospects that it opens up, through an active policy of innovation. This is what allows it to now be recognized as one of the best Management degrees, attracting the brightest students and professors year upon year.
An international program
Since 1881, the size of the intake of students in each year group has not stopped increasing and the number of applicants exceeds 7500. Considering that the first ever cohort was made up of only 57 students, since the 2000s close to 600 students have been welcomed each year through the doors of HEC, of which more than 40% represents international students. The growing international outlook, which began to develop in the 1970s, is probably the most notable progression that the Grande Ecole has experienced. HEC Paris was a main initiator of the Partnership in International Management, PIM, in collaboration with New York University and the London School of Economics. This network still remains today the basis of the Masters Exchange Program (MEP) which allows HEC students to study at a foreign partner university during the M2 year.
Other agreements were also made with many other schools and universities during the 1970s: ESADE in Barcelone, Milan’s Bocconi University and McGill in Montréal, before HEC cofounded the CEMS (Community of European Management Schools) network in 1988. This strategic alliance of 29 universities and business schools from across the world with 75 big international companies allows students to both study abroad in high-level institutions during their M2 year and increase their career and networking opportunities.
The creation of double degrees around the MiM, in partnership with world-renowned institutions, also fits within this approach. The first double degrees were launched in 2004 with ESADE, Bocconi and St Gallen, followed by FGV (Brazil), Tsinghua (China), GSOM (Russia) et l’IIM d’Ahmedabad (India). From 2009 HEC associated itself with the prestigious MIT, then with Keio University in Tokyo and NUS in Singapore. More recently, HEC Paris has also created double degrees in Management and Business Law with Georgetown University, in Public Policy & Management with Freie Universität Berlin and in Corporate Governance and Global Network Diplomacy with MGIMO University in Saint Petersburg.
This international orientation has allowed for great diversity among MiM students (with 61 different nationalities represented in 2016), but additionally in the careers and chosen destinations of its graduates (a third of graduates take their first job abroad). This can also be seen in the nomination of a new Canadian Dean, Peter Todd, in 2015, and in the strong recruitment of professors of international acclaim from overseas, which made up, in 2016, 64% of the professional body.
Emphasis on practical experience
Strongly enriched by its international orientation, the MiM course is also highly developed in terms of its innovative teaching. Composing of two phases, the first being more general and the second more specialized, it imparts upon the students both a global vision of Management and Strategy and advanced expertise in their chosen area of concentration.
With a strong focus on practical experience and the contributions of seasoned professionals, the teaching of the MiM has been built up over centuries. For example, the method of using case studies was introduced on a trial basis in 1922, before being rolled out to all subjects in 1958.
The work placement in industry was made compulsory in 1938 and links with the business world have continued to grow stronger ever since. In addition to the 138 research professors, the faculty of HEC Paris can count around a hundred affiliate professors who occupy senior positions in a variety of businesses: consultancy firms, service-sector companies, industry, and law firms among others.
Furthermore, the MiM benefits from innovations brought about by the HEC’s research centres and chairs, with the support of large corporations such as Deloitte and Société Générale (Energy and Finance Chair), Danone, Schneider Electric and Renault (Social Business chair and Society and Organization center alongside Engie), L’Oréal Paris (research centre and chair for entrepreneurship) and many more. Since the early 2000s, the introduction of certificates at the end of M2, in order to offer a truly practice-orientated education, has also demonstrated the continuing involvement of these big economic players.
The unique teaching of the MiM, which hinges on the combination of academic and professional expertise, along with a constant immersion in the real business world, is globally recognized. MiM graduates are highly sought-after by businesses from all countries and occupy highly-paid, senior positions from graduation: HEC Paris is placed #5 in the Times Higher Education – Alma Mater index of Fortune 500 CEOs 2013.
The wide variety of specialisations available to students in M2 further promotes their mobility, not just in geographical terms but also in as much as their career progression.
Beyond the traditional fields of consulting, industry and finance, which do remain the principal employers of HEC graduates; the luxury, technology, media, leisure, social entrepreneurship and even culture sectors have seen alumni lead exceptional careers.
The broadening and enrichment of the Grande Ecole MiM can also be appreciated in terms of its social diversity and equal opportunities. Today, students come from all the more diverse upbringings and backgrounds (such as Engineering, Economics and Social sciences among others). But at the time the Grande Ecole’s first students most commonly came from families with ties to industry, banking and commerce. This evolution was led by the HEC Foundation. Created in 1972, it offers a variety of scholarships and credit facilities.
Due its extensive history, and with the strength of its alumni network reinforcing this, the HEC Paris Master in Management holds its own distinct place on the world stage. The students who are admitted onto the program inherit the legacy of this rich history, which is studded throughout with key milestones and innovations. But the MiM’s history is still being written. Indeed this degree continues to advance as a result of the involvement of its professors, of its industry connections and of its students. All together they look to tomorrow, each day building the future of HEC and of the world, which will in turn later become the legacy that is passed down to the next generations of leaders trained in one of the world’s leading business schools.
Learn more about HEC Paris' policy of innovation in an interview with Eloïc Peyrache, Associate Dean.