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Experiential Learning

The S&O Center places renewed emphasis on the value of experience in the field, crucial to the development of future decision-makers who are responsible and open-minded.

SASI tudy trip in Kenya

The optional "Leadership and team spirit" workshop, organized in partnership with the French Army and the Military Schools of Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, teaches students the art of teamwork through experience in the field. Students tie this pre-semester workshop into their academic work by writing an essay linked to the experience.

“Sustainability is the New Strategy” Challenge

During the “Sustainability is the New Strategy” Challenge early September 2018, fifty HEC Paris second-year students learned how sustainability challenges are radically reshaping the way we think and do business.

Through various case studies with Veja and Schneider Electric, the students witnessed how enterprises can integrate sustainability at the heart of their business model and strategies. The seminar gave them insight and the tools to rethink and delve into deeper discussions with professors throughout their respective master’s programs at HEC Paris.The two-day Challenge, organized by Jacob Mayne and Amanda Harding from New Angles and the HEC Paris S&O Center, also encouraged the students to rethink their own journey as business school students and professionals.

Read more on this new challenge HERE

Over 30 three-week programs called “Academies” are offered each year to first and second year students. Among them: 

Académie “Entrepreneurs du Changement”

Social entrepreneurs develop new forms of business with the aim of providing effective and lasting answers to current major challenges (climate, energy transition, education, inclusion, health, etc.). The Academy Entrepreneurs of Change allows students to explore these innovative business models reconciling economic performance and positive impact for society: are they viable? On what scale? What is their real impact, and how to measure it? What links with large companies?

This Academy is exceptional for its participants: open to all L3 and M1 students, it is also offered to entrepreneurs who participated in the HEC Stand-Up program in La Courneuve. The success of the Academy results from the meeting, both in progress and on the ground, of these two audiences.

Académie "Plein Sens / Réalités Sociales"

Three weeks is a short time to change the world, but it is long enough to form an opinion on a major social issue. Every year, HEC Paris calls upon consulting firm Plein Sens to allow a small group of students to discover/explore a social reality.

In 2018, the chosen theme is access to healthcare in France. Considered a valuable commodity, can health be treated as a consumer good like any other? In 2017, students reflected on the role of companies in the integration of migrants with people working in the field, NGOs, cities officials and companies, imagining the solutions for tomorrow.

Académie “Urgences" with the Marc Jacquet Hospital

HEC students are welcomed into various hospital services (SAMU- SMUR, Emergency and Resuscitation rooms, Maternity wards, etc) that deal with medical emergencies in Melun. They are assigned (by binomial) to one of these services for the first half of the course and are required to spend the second half of the course in each of the other services.

The objective is to highlight the reality of how various emergency medical services function as well as the stakes of the decision-making process.


One of the challenges of education at HEC is to manage the "round trip" between theory and practice. In parallel with the associative life at school, the FACT program provides an opportunity for HEC students to apply their knowledge on the field. It is in this perspective that FACT is a great experience for the students.

The missions on the field concern strategic issues for entrepreneurs (markets, competition and environment, strategic positioning, economic and social model, communication)  for social entrepreneurs (establishment of management tools and evaluating social impact, co-construction of social performance indicators) or for representatives of associations (project management, objectives definition, sponsorship approach, team management ...).

In this framework, students are exposed to the world of entrepreneurship and / or management projects, they are involved in the implementation of ideas and innovative, meaningful initiatives. Challenges, often different, are extremely constructive. The exact content is determined according to the needs of entrepreneurs or member associations at the beginning of the project, formalized by a roadmap.

Students who have completed some outstanding preparatory work for their mission for social entrepreneurs are awarded with a merit-based scholarship by the Fondation Sisley d'Ornano, covering all the costs of their mission in the field.

The merit-based scholarships are named after Laetitia d'Ornano, in memory of her work towards development, in its various different dimensions - human, ecological, and economic - and towards the transmission of values of openness to the world and others.

The name says it all: the objective is for participants to immerse themselves in the field of poverty alleviation by spending one week with social entrepreneurs and social organizations, which allows them to both to spend time co-working “in the trenches” and meet the managers who are putting their effort in alleviating poverty. Such an immersion is meaningful and humanly rich. It has always made an impact on the participants’ lives.

This week is be spent in groups of two participants.

Examples of partners: ANDES, ARES, Association AURORE, Clair & Net, Croix Rouge française - délégation des Hauts-de-Seine, Communauté Emmaüs de Longjumeau, Emmaüs Défi, Envie Trappes, Extramuros, Farinez'vous, REvivre, Samu Social, Rebond Insertion, etc...

More on the Certificate

Study trips are intense educational experiences and a rare opportunity to see how social and environmental issues impact communities. They allow students to better understand an issue from the perspective of the populations affected, local governments, nonprofit leaders, business executives, and others.