A ‘tailor-designing’ approach towards education is at the core of how we design programs at HEC Paris. This shows in at least two respects of the HEC Paris MSc International Finance curriculum:
- What courses you take during the first semester depends on what you have done before joining HEC Paris. If you have already covered basic financial accounting, investment theory and corporate finance, you will start finance classes at advanced level (business track). If you have not done so, you will start at a more basic level but have significantly more class hours at an accelerated pace so as to enable you to cover the same material at the end (accelerated track)
- The second semester is comprised of more than 30 electives, which you can choose as you see fit: you are free to choose all corporate finance classes, all capital markets or a mix of the two. You may also decide to choose an elective about corporate strategy or macroeconomics.
The number of hours spent in the classroom by HEC MIF graduates significantly exceeds the international standards. Around half of that time will be spent in front of world class researchers, teaching you state-of-the-art knowledge. The other half will be spent in front of top-notch practitioners. The latter is one of many ways in which the learning experience at HEC Paris is different. The reason why we feel it is important to complement theoretical teaching by top researchers with practitioners lectures is that we have learned it is giving our graduates a small "extra edge" compared to graduates of other institutions. The more competitive the environment you are in, the more important having this extra edge is.
Who your peers are matters: for the quality of your learning experience, for the perception by potential employers and for the value of your network after you graduate. This is why academic performance is at the top of our admission criteria. But academic performance is not enough: smart, ambitious individuals will underperform if they do not cooperate. We strongly emphasize group cohesion and encourage it any way we can. For instance:
- All HEC MIF students are housed in the same buildings on campus to encourage out-of-classroom activities
- Honours are granted on the basis of absolute GPA and not class percentile so as to make sure that no HEC MIF student can benefit from underperformance by one of his or her classmates
- A study trip is organized the 3rd week of the program with all HEC finance students participating and interaction for both professional and non-professional activities
We are proud of the fact that ties built on campus with both professors and peers carry on after students graduate and become alumni. Alumni get directly involved in coaching the "new generation" of HEC MIF students and making sure they achieve the same success as past students. A few examples:
- Career and job training workshops the first week of the program
- More than 250 participants in the Thursday night formal networking event of the 2014 London study trip… and many more at the less formal Friday night HEC Finance pub crawl: a unique opportunity to get privilegded access to young professionals from bulge bracket banks!
- Finance event organized the 4th week of September
With 29 different nationalities making up the class of 2014, the International Finance program is enriching on a cultural level as well. Working with so many different nationalities can be highly educational and rewarding and is a true highlight of the program for many. London is the main hub for HEC MIF graduates in terms of placement even though we also have alumni working in Continental Europe, Asia, Americas, and Middle East.
Last but not least, we believe that values matter. Given various unsavory episodes during the crisis, this is even more important for a finance program than for any other program. Our values can be seen in a variety of different ways:
- How we select students: no matter how good or how strong your file is, if we catch you lying or cheating in any way during the admission process, you are out! No second chance…
- Ethics classes: in collaboration with the CFA Institute (the HEC MIF is a CFA partner program), we included an ethics seminar and an ethics class in our curriculum years before the crisis started
- Pedagogical engineering: HEC Paris has been at the forefront of pedagogical engineering on topics such as social business. HEC MIF students have guaranteed access to the HEC Paris social business certificate during the May-June period.