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The HEC Paris office in Berlin

HEC Paris reinforces its international presence with a new representative office in Germany. Housed in the French institute in Berlin, in the famous Kurfürstendamm, it opens up the way for new essential developments for the school and the HEC brand. Olga Hein, the director of the HEC Paris representative office in Germany, explains more.

Can you tell us about the origins of the project and the opening of the new representative office in Germany?

The opening of the Berlin office is the result of thoughts that the International Management, which actively contributes to the development of academic partnerships, notably in Germany with the Freie Universität Berlin and the Technische Universität Munich, have had for several years. Many German students are keen to experience the excellence of French education and to make the most of the gap year offered by the Grande Ecole program, as well as the double degrees in order to take part in internship programs in businesses. This is what Philippe Etienne, French Ambassador to Germany, reminded us of at the inauguration of the Berlin office: “HEC Paris is a prestigious French institution, including in the field of research, sharing with Germany the same notions of excellence and of the importance of the education received by our future generations, making the two a very complementary pairing”.

What objectives does the representative office work towards?

We operate on three main fronts: the placement of HEC students and graduates into work, the recruitment of prospective future students for Executive Education (lifelong learning) programs designed for businesses (German or French businesses operating in Germany) and the development of the HEC brand. In this way, we work in close collaboration with the alumni already present in Germany through the Corporate Ambassador Program. These alumni can actively provide valuable insight into the local market thanks to their influential profiles within businesses.

We can already count around 15 ambassadors, such as Marc Staudenmayer, Managing Director at Advancy, Nicolas John, CEO of Webedia, and Albert Ragon, Managing Director DACH (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) at Danone. In terms of recruitment, we promote links with academic institutions in order to encourage the best students to come to HEC. And for our lifelong learning activities, we work with businesses such as Porsche, Volkswagen and Siemens, for which we create tailored programs targeted at senior executives.

Our presence in Germany allows the HEC brand to more efficiently spread through the growing recognition of its programs and the strength of its alumni network. These alumni are happy to reinforce the links with HEC and support all of HEC’s strategic initiatives. Germany holds another advantage in that it is overflowing with political institutions, field incubators and highly equipped businesses which grant access to excellence or research scholarships in Germany and in France.

Institut français à Berlin

What markets are you targeting for the development of the HEC office in Germany?

Our development strategy concerns all of HEC Paris’ activities including training programs, the MBA and lifelong learning programs. This strategy was conceived based on the German political-economic system, where each large German city or region concentrates on a specific sector of activity. For example, Munich and Stuttgart for the car industry and consulting, Frankfurt for finance, and Berlin for entrepreneurialism and so on.

Each region has its own economically dynamic towns and specialized sectors which together form a highly decentralised country. The development of all activities on the German market requires an active presence across its territory. Beyond the German market, in the long run the development will spread to the neighbouring countries of Austria, Switzerland and also Belgium and the Netherlands, all very closely linked with Germany, both culturally and economically.

How did you arrive at the role of manager in the HEC Berlin office?

I joined HEC in 2008 to look after the position of Program Manager for one of the Executive MBA programs. For 4 years, I was able to familiarise myself with the field, the selection of candidates and the implementation of programs for senior executives, and also the building of a network in France and abroad. Following this, I was manager of a team in charge of academic relations and the building of content for an EMBA program, before joining the HEC Foundation as director of international development. These rich experiences have allowed me to take up responsibility of the HEC representative office in Germany. As a German, and moreover a Berlin-native, the project is particularly close to my heart.