MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation Program Details

HEC Paris MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation program details

Program Structure

Core Courses

  • Have a Cause, Make an Impact
  • Sustainable Operations & Supply Chains
  • Strategy and Sustainable Development
  • Responsible Investing 
  • Intellectual Capital, Intangible Assets and their Link with Sustainable Development
  • HR and Unconventional Paradigm of Management
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods.

Elective Courses

  • Sustainable Business Planning – Business Plan Workshop
  • Geopolitics of Energy and Transformation of Energy Paradigm
  • Change Management
  • Introduction to Consulting Methodology 
  • Innovation and Design Thinking
  • NGO Management
  • Interactive Discovery of Iso 26000 
  • Histoire de la critique du capitalisme*
  • De l’économie sociale à la coopération 2.0*.

* These 2 electives are taught in French.

Specialization Tracks

Impact Entrepreneurship Track

In partnership with HEC’s MS Entrepreneurs, students who have a solid entrepreneurial project can take the opportunity to work full-time on the development of their idea, mentored by experienced entrepreneurs and professionals. The Track includes:

  • a Leadership seminar
  • specific workshops
  • a short consulting mission for a social entrepreneur.

Intrapreneurship Track

Students choose at least 7 courses among the following:

  • Radically Innovative Business Models and Sustainability
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Procurement - A Practioner Approach
  • Managing Energy in The Company
  • LCA, Sustainable Design and Marketing
  • Consulting Methodology Seminar
  • Issues Management and Community Relations
  • Global Law
  • Climate Change Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Sustainable Development and Systemic Shocks
  • Reinventing Work
  • Critics of CSR Strategies.

Research Specialization Track

Students can lead a full-time personal research project, linked to a field experience or internship in France or abroad. Tained on the research methodology, they are mentored by members of the Faculty.

Optional exchange programs

  • Norwegian School of Economics (NHH): MSc in Economics & Business Administration
  • Fundação Getulio Vargas, São Paulo: Specialized Graduate Program in Sustainability.
  • AgroParisTech: Programme Forêt Nature et Société (Exchange for students who already have a Masters degree prior to the MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation).

Management Courses

HEC provides students with online and on-campus upgrading courses in the following fields:

  • Strategy
  • Finance / Accounting
  • Marketing.

Mandatory for non-business profiles


How to Become a Changemaker


AlterLeader Series: Inspiration & Debating

Consulting Project

Students enrolled in the Impact Intrapreneurship track work in teams on real life projects led for a company, an NGO, or a public organization, or an entrepreneurial project.

Examples of projects:

  • Develop innovative social business models to feed SODEXO’s sustainability strategy
  • Devise strategies to mainstream adoption of new sustainable building techniques in emerging countries for CLEIA
  • Detail the business and financial planning for the CarbonCoin project, developed by the start-up G.A.M.E.

International double degrees

Optional double-degree programs

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH): MSc in Economics & Business Administration, with a Major in Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment ; Major in Economics or Major in Finance.

Fundação Getulio Vargas, São Paulo: Specialized Graduate Program in Sustainability.


Professional Economists, Business Leaders, Top Bank Managers, Consultancy Firms, Entrepreneurs are invited to lecture on important current issues throughout the year.

Examples of guest speakers:

  • Freddie Tinga, Founder and Chairman of Global Electric Transportation
  • Robin Cornelius, Founder and Executive President of Switcher
  • Benoit Derenne, CEO of the Foundation for Future Generations
  • Eric Julien, Anthropologist, Founder of the School of Nature and Knowledge and Co-Founder of Novasens Conseils
  • Vincent Stanley, Director of Marketing at Patagonia
  • Jean-Claude Vandenbosch, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Getronics.


Sponsored by a company, Certificates are a set of interdisciplinary courses corresponding to approximately 100 contact hours as well as business projects and other types of field work related to a given sector. Each student selected (in the 1st semester) for a certificate will be awarded an additional HEC certificate if he/she validates all the requirements of the course.

Master's Thesis

Students must write a master's thesis to graduate from this program. It represents an important component of the MSc learning experience. The objective of the thesis is to explore cutting-edge research implementation in daily practice within a highly competitive marketing environment.

Study Trip

Every year, students go on a study trip to witness the sustainable development issues of other countries and to study the measures already implemented or those to be developed.

Previous study trips took place in:

  • Ethiopia
  • Philippines
  • Kenya
  • Indonesia
  • Burkina Faso
  • Morocco
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Madagascar.

Read a study trip report by Vittoria Groh & Anukriti Dixit (Class of 2015)

Professional Experience

The professional experience requirement is satisfied when the student completes a professional experience of at least 4 months in fields related to their coursework at HEC Paris. It is, however, important to stress that this professional experience may not be an internship per se.

Our policy at HEC Paris is that the best type of internship is a full-time job! We strongly encourage our students to look for permanent hiring as soon as the academic year starts.

Learn Languages at HEC Paris

As an international business school, HEC Paris welcomes students from all over the world. Almost one hundred nationalities live on the campus. It's a fantastic opportunity to discover other cultures and to share exceptional moments, and it's important that students can communicate as much as they wish.

HEC Paris Learning Center of Languages aims at helping students to learn or strengthen any language they would like, providing a wide range of I.T. and print resources.

Students do not need to speak French to enroll in the program as all core courses and most electives are offered in English. However, some knowledge of French can be useful to enjoy the full HEC experience, become professionally bicultural and optimize networking with French students and alumni. This is why HEC Paris offers optional French language classes.

Prior to their studies, students may also register for a two week French language course (TEF certificate – all levels) in August. This is an exceptional opportunity to learn French before joining the Campus (extra fees are applicable).

Academic Team

Message from the Directors

Today’s world is facing huge challenges and deep transformations: global warming, shifts in global powers, resources & biodiversity depletion, rising inequalities, digital and technological disruptions, etc.

Such a context calls for radical changes to build more inclusive, low-carbon and sustainable economies.

We believe that addressing these challenges will make organizations more creative ; we now have the opportunity to invent new lifestyles to reshape our cities, our working environments, and to develop new paths for our economies.

With a broad multidisciplinary approach to understand the complex challenges and forces that are shaping our world, and a unique combination of theory and practice, the HEC MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation is an intensive program that enables students to customize their curriculum and build their leadership.

Our ambition is to empower our students to become changemakers, with the knowledge and skills to lead these necessary transformations.

We are proud of our students and Alumni, who, in the diversity of their nationalities, backgrounds and experiences, share and demonstrate the same passion to explore future business frontiers.

Jérémy Ghez, Academic Director of Business and Geopolitics Summer program, HEC Paris
Lise Peniialrd, HEC Paris MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation executive director

Jérémy Ghez, Academic Director, HEC Paris


Lise Penillard, Executive Director, HEC Paris

Program Faculty

Laurence Lehmann-Ortega, HEC Paris affiliate professor

The HEC faculty teaching in this program consists of renowned researchers in their field of management. Most of them are members of the center for research on Society and Organizations, an inter-disciplinary research center within HEC Paris which aims at studying contemporary societal and environmental issues that organizations face. HEC faculty is supplemented by professors from other academic institutions and by business professionals who bring their expertise to the students.

  • S. Aflaki, Assistant Professor
  • T. Apoteker, TAC
  • J. Auriac, Be-Linked
  • F. Bottolier-Depois, La Fabrique des Territoires Innovants
  • J. Dossier, Quattrolibri
  • R. Durand, Professor
  • B. Faivre-Tavignot, Affiliate Professor, Executive Director of the Social Business / Enterprise and Poverty Chair
  • A. Fustec, Goodwill Management
  • J.M. Gauthier, Affiliate Professor
  • H. Gouil, Anakena
  • F. Hoos, Assistant Professor
  • F. Iselin, Affiliate Professor
  • S. Jouini, Associate Professor
  • E. Laville, Utopies
  • L. Lehmann-Ortega, Affiliate Professor
  • D. Martinez, Assistant Professor
  • A. Mehrpouya, Assistant Professor
  • N. Meisel, French Agency for Development
  • O. Menuet, SNCF
  • S. Petitjean, Greenflex
  • S. Riot, Nove Terra
  • I. Shishlov, I4CE
  • H. Teulon, Gingko 21
  • R. Vaxelaire, Responsibility Management