The Youth Leadership Initiative: A Catalyst for Personal Growth
When Filipe Cova da Costa Pinto joined the first cohort of the Youth Leadership Initiative* in 2018, the dream of one day integrating HEC Paris for his master’s degree was far from his mind. But the transformative journey he embarked upon that week at HEC Paris left its mark on both his personal and professional growth.
The Summer School team was delighted to hear of Filipe’s return to HEC this year when he joined the prestigious MSc Economics and Finance cohort, and even prouder when he was awarded an Excellence Scholarship by the HEC Paris Foundation. With the hindsight of five rich and fulfilling years, he reflects on how the Youth Leadership Initiative broadened his horizons and helped him develop soft skills that have been instrumental to his success.
“In a nutshell, the HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative is more than a program; it's a catalyst for personal and professional growth. From lasting friendships to enhanced soft skills, from a stronger CV to unforgettable experiences, the impact of this program extends far beyond its duration."
A toolkit of transferable skills
It was an eye-opening experience that helped me discover my aspirations after high school and provided me with a toolkit of transferable soft skills that were necessary to reach those goals. Through interactive workshops, engaging discussions, and hands-on projects, I developed skills that have been instrumental in my academic and professional pursuits. The program was truly empowering, and both the academic team and the cohort provided an inspiring and interactive environment.
One of the most enriching aspects of the Youth Leadership Initiative was the opportunity to forge lasting friendships with a diverse group of individuals. Sharing ideas and perspectives broadened my horizons but also led to connections that extended beyond the program. I've become very good friends with some students from my former cohort to the point that we spend holidays together every year. Last year, someone from the cohort that I had not seen since the program in 2018 reached out to let me know he was in Lisbon, my hometown, for a few days, and we ended up sharing a fantastic evening. Those are cherished moments that also made me realize the incredible paths taken by some of my peers, from studying Financial Economics at Oxford to Biomedical Engineering at UCL. These connections have proven invaluable, extending beyond the program and enriching both my personal and professional network.
Stand out from the crowd
Undoubtedly, the Youth Leadership Initiative significantly strengthened my CV, providing a competitive edge for both my bachelor's degree and internship applications. After doing my Bachelor in Economics and Management at Bocconi University, and taking a gap year to work in Mergers and Acquisitions, I am back at HEC Paris for my Masters in Economics and Finance. I couldn't miss the opportunity to mention that I'm delighted to see the launch of the dual bachelor’s degree program between Bocconi University and HEC Paris. Having personally experienced the enriching academic environments of both institutions, this collaboration offers students the chance to navigate the vibrant city center of Milan at Bocconi and the campus serenity just outside Paris at HEC. It's a unique opportunity to blend the distinctive qualities of two renowned institutions.
Better equipped for tomorrow’s world
I would absolutely recommend the HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative. In a fast-changing world, this program will introduce you to challenges and disruptions that will most definitely shape the next decades. Furthermore, at a time when students have increasingly competitive CVs for bachelor applications, or even to land a first internship, it is the perfect opportunity to not only improve your CV but also polish soft skills such as communication, transferable to any academic or career path.
This program will help you take the next step towards ensuring you reach your goals but also live unforgettable experiences and create long-lasting connections with talented peers from all around the world. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to have been part of such an experience.”
*The Youth Leadership Initiative was co-founded in 2018 by Elyse Michaels-Berger and Jessica Honan who both direct, coach and instruct in the program. Each summer it welcomes a cohort of talented, motivated high school students from around the world for an intense 5-day residential leadership experience on the HEC Paris campus.