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Society & Organizations Institute

Alumni and HEC Students: Pairing up on the road to purpose

For the second consecutive year, the S&O Institute's Purpose Center is renewing and expanding its program for HEC Paris majors and MSc students. This atypical course is based on a "companionship" approach, i.e., pairs composed of an HEC alumnus and a student, who share their questions and deepen together their quest for purpose in professional life. It is as much about reflecting on more discerning forms of leadership as it is about improving one's personal capacity to make decisions, to get ever closer to one's personal mission.

Binome programme purpose M2 -  media

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More and more HEC students are being driven by meaning: what meaning should I give to my life and my work? How can I actively participate in making the economy more sustainable, more respectful of people and the living world? Where should I start?

Last January, as part of the Purposeful Leadership program supported by the Joly Family Chair on Purposeful Leadership, the Purpose Center's teaching team, accompanied by Eotekum, launched a pedagogical innovation: "Companionship - Starting up a purposeful career" module.

The objective is to offer M2 students the opportunity to align their professional commitments with their personal aspirations, supported by a unique dynamic of "companionship" with alumni.

"Through this program, we want to help students question their deepest aspirations and take a step back from the images of success they are imbued with," stresses Louis Faure, (H17), Eotekum executive coach, co-creator of the module. 

In the format of an 18-hour elective course from January to March, it is articulated in parallel by "companionship": each student is put in contact with an alumnus with whom he or she will have the opportunity to share his or her progress, receive encouragement, welcome an experienced viewpoint, etc. And vice versa: the alumnus benefits from the student's viewpoint, can welcome his or her ideas and ideals, and learns to question himself or herself in order to, at times, better get back on the right track.

This program thus builds a bridge between the two HEC communities, i.e. the alumni and the students. "By meeting and exchanging with a young person who is questioning himself or herself and who wants to find meaning in his or her future professional life, we believe that this programme can also be an opportunity for an HEC alumnus to take a step back from his or her career, to celebrate the path taken and to look at the future, more or less close, with a fresh eye on the meaning he or she wants to give it", explains Romain Briat, Executive Director of the Purpose Centre.



Testimony of Pascal Stefani (H.88), participant of the program in pair with Margo:

"We need to build bridges between generations, allowing for mutual listening that is benevolent but not complacent, by creating these spaces for true exchanges.

This is all the more important as the environmental, social, economic, geopolitical and political challenges we are facing threaten to create a generational divide.

On the contrary, we need to respond to them together and quickly by bringing out other forms of leadership in business and civil society. These changes can only be made with and for the younger generations. If we wait until they are in charge (i.e., in one generation), it will be too late."


Testimony of Marianne Pennaneac'h: Europe Fashion HRM at CHANEL, in pair with Albane.

"This program is unique in its design and in its collective dynamics. I was marked by the sincerity and openness of the group."

"The best learning experience was to meet with Albane and the parity of our exchanges. Each member of the pair contributes equally to the progress of the reflection and to creating a space for sharing and learning. It is a bond that is created in a lasting way."


Albane's perspective, her open questions about my choices, and the maturity of her own path have led me to re-read my journey differently. We spontaneously "opened our books" to keep the essential. Marianne Pennaneac'h


* For more information and to participate as an alumnus/alumna, contact:


Soirée de lancement du programme en janvier 2022 au bureau de HEC Alumni
Launch of the program at the HEC Alumni office in Paris