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Purposeful Leadership at the heart of teaching at HEC Paris

From this year on, all of the students who take part in the Master in Management (MiM) Grande Ecole program at HEC Paris will follow the Purposeful Leadership track throughout their studies, thanks to the Joly Family Endowed Chair in Purposeful Leadership.

The objective is to make students aware of the opportunities available to them in business and to invite them to reflect personally on their ambitions.

This year for the first time all of the school’s Grande Ecole first year students had the chance to participate in an offsite program in August, and take part in the following experiences:

  • take time to reflect at Mont Saint-Michel, in partnership with SIS IP and Thomas More Partners
  • experience teamwork at a demanding military environment in Saint Cyr Coetquidan, with the French Army
  • question the societal purpose and the motivation for organisations in Chamonix, an area that is emblematic of global warming, as its glaciers melt - In partnership with Mountain Path and with the special participation of the Guides de Haute Montagne and the Peleton de Gendarmerie Haute Montagne.  

In September, a personal development workshop with consultancy firm Korn Ferry and a series of back-to-work conferences were held with business leaders in order to allow students to step back and revisit their experiences ‘in the field’. Antoine Frérot (CEO at Veolia Environnement), Antoine Lemarchand (CEO at Nature et Découvertes), Laurence Méhaignerie (President at Citizen Capital), Emery Jacquillat (CEO at Camif Matelsom), Edouard-Malo Henry (Head of Compliance at Société Générale), Christopher Guérin (Director General at Nexans), Hubert de Boisredon (CEO of Armor), Général Bernard Barrera (Major General of the French army), Valérie Mas (CEO at WeNow) and Louis Faure (Head of Youth Leadership, Fondatio) told students of their personal experiences in finding purpose in the world of business.

Two months of intense applied research work are beginning for HEC Paris’ students with the intention of further deepening their thought process. They will work on writing an essay on a chosen theme based on a key event from their back-to-school seminar. Carried out in groups of four students, this essay must focus on a particular real-life case, an organization, or a company that will allow them to understand the tangible situations from which their questions arise.

“The point of this program is to make students aware of the value of experience and humanities and to assist them in building their leadership style” explains Cecile de Lisle, Executive Director of the Purposeful Leadership Chair. “Reflecting on questions of purpose requires a movement away from an academic, scholarly logic to face the conflicting demands of the business world”, she adds.

“This is a first in a Business School, a unique program” adds Rodolphe Durand, Founder and Director of the Society & Organizations Centre at HEC Paris, “Even before starting at HEC Paris, and all throughout their studies year after year, students are invited to think about what a responsible leader looks like within the complex economy in which they will have to evolve.”

Fondation HECHubert Joly (H.81), Executive Board Chairman of Best Buy and Major Donor of HEC’s Foundation, created in July 2018, along with HEC Paris and the HEC Foundation, the Joly Family Chair in Purposeful Leadership.

Hubert Joly's exceptional gift and the commitment of Nicolas Giauque (H.93), Pascal Stefani (H.88) and Laure Fau (H.93) on this topic made it possible to set up a path on purposeful leadership for all the students of HEC throughout their studies.

This program was launched at the beginning of the academic year of September 2019 and is followed by the entire new graduating class. Read more about the HEC Foundation



Press contact:

Julie Dobiecki - +33 6 37 39 62 99 –