Erica Coulombe

Erica Coulombe

MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation

Class of 2014


from McGill University

Experience as a Consultant in Sustainability and Climate Change for Deloitte

The variety of educational components that create the MISD curriculum ensures we gain as much theoretical knowledge as practical experience during our time at HEC

  • Why did you choose France, HEC and the MISD as your Master Program?

My ultimate career objective is to influence the way business is done by developing triple bottom line business strategies, and the Masters in Sustainable Development offered by HEC Paris provided the best option to supplement my acquired knowledge from my bachelor’s degree at McGill University in Canada. I believed the opportunity to develop more specific and applicable skills combining business and environment would help me position myself as a resourceful and credible advisor for organizations.

Being the best business school in Europe, I knew that HEC Paris is best positioned to provide students with all the necessary resources to form the leaders of tomorrow. Furthermore, the MISD offers the possibility of completing a certificate on various complement areas, which is an important added-value to the program because some form of specialization is key in sustainability. Finally, the bilingual environment ensured an international aspect to the program, something I value strongly as it encourages ideas and preconceptions to be challenged.

  • What do you think about the class, nationality, size, academic backgrounds, etc.?

The Masters in Sustainable Development at HEC has exceeded my expectations on many levels. Although I have a background in business, this Masters program allowed me to strengthen my business skills while developing a thorough understanding of sustainability. The professors, being mostly professionals from the field, provided relevant and current information while sharing their experiences and advice with us. The diversity in nationalities and backgrounds of my fellow classmates amplified the value of the program as it added a worldwide perspective to all subjects and provided the opportunity to approach sustainability issues from different angles and subject of expertise. Finally, the variety of educational components that create the MISD curriculum ensures we gain as much theoretical knowledge as practical experience during our time at HEC.

  • Could you describe your missions as VP of HEC Energy club?

I decided to join the Energy Club because I wanted to get involved on campus and meet people with similar interests, such as energy. This year was an important year for the HEC Energy Club. We merged the Grande Ecole and MS/MSc Energy Clubs, thus combining our networks and leveraging our skills and efforts to create a better club for the students interested in Energy on campus. The objective of the club is to demonstrate the many opportunities and the demand the Energy field has for students with business and managerial skills.

As Vice-President of the club, my role was to co-run the club with the President. We listened to what our members wanted to see happen, and we organized various events over the year such as conferences on the legal consequences of energy disasters, start-ups in energy, and the upcoming trends in the energy field, networking events such as roundtables with different professionals working in energy, and large scale events such as inviting Total’s CEO M. Christophe de Margerie. Getting involved on campus was an amazing experience because it provided the opportunity to meet many students from different programs and thus increase my network at HEC, as well as learn more about the Energy industry in France and Europe by meeting many professionals. Although being Vice-President of the club added many responsibilities to an already busy schedule, it was a unique opportunity to further develop managerial and leadership skills.

  • What advice would you give to students who aspire to subscribe to HEC MSc?

My advice for students wishing to subscribe to the program: DO IT!

My advice to new MISD students:

  • Live on campus for at least the first semester and get to know your classmates. They will be the best people around. This will also allow you to discover the student life on campus, which can be very active (sports, student associations, conferences, events, etc.)
  • During the first few weeks, be alert to how you can get involved on campus
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out to people (professors, alumni, guest speakers, classmates). One of the biggest strength and important value of HEC is its network and the great accessibility to the network.
  • The course goes by very fast; it is only one year, so make the most out of it!