Frog to Dragon: HEC MBA & Tsinghua MBA Blog

The quest for wisdom, from France to China, of an HEC MBA & Tsinghua MBA dual degree student (class of 2011)

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Archive for September, 2009

Posted by at 27 September , 2009

Many things have happened during the past two weeks and I have to admit that my self-assigned discipline of writing here at least once a week is starting on a wrong foot…

Here are a few noticeable things we did.


The second week of classes, basically after a first week of cheering and hugging, we got onto business with a business simulation game called Negosim. We were all dispached into groups of 4 to 5 people and our task, as the board or directors of a B2B company, was to compete with others.

It was a fantastic experience for those two main reasons:

  • It was a jump into the water of corporate strategy. For someone who had no idea what the terms “liability” and “equity” meant before school started (me), this game was a great way of teaching these basic concepts through play.
  • It was a first time for group work and interactions with other classmates. I was amazed at how a 4 day course allowed us to work with each other so quickly. Within our own group, of course, but also with people from other groups. It wasn’t always easy but it was definitely a good introduction to our future group work.


We were assigned to our sections (I’m in the bilingual section) and classes started for real on the 3rd week, along with group work and case studies. By the way, one of the reasons why I could not post my article on Negosim last week was because we had a Marketing assignment due for Monday 8am.

Garden of Chenonceau (Loire Valley)

Garden of Chenonceau (Loire Valley)

This week, I started to realise how crucial good planning is. After reviewing my class schedule and making a quick estimation for class preparation (reading material + preparing cases) I found that I’ll need to spend around 60 hours weekly on studies. Basically, my key is that for each class, I’ll have to spend once to twice as much time for preparation.

Holidays are finished for real now…

Integration week-end

This week end we went on integration in the Loire Valley. It was a mix between cultural visits (to the châteaux here and there), partying (with the regional wine, of course) and fun fun fun :)

I feel that by now, I know 80 to 90% of my intake by name.
Way to go!

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Posted in: 2. At HEC MBA | 1 Comment »

Posted by at 13 September , 2009

One week has passed and we are now fully into our MBA. We have had a few academic classes so far and I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised by their quality so far.

But before I go on and on describing my life as a student, I wanted to share a few facts about the September 2009 intake:

Number of participants 138
Nationalities 34

France 17%
Western Europe (outside France) 9%
Eastern Europe 4%
North America 21%
Latin America 8%
India 20%
Asia (outside India) 14%
Middle East 1%
Oceania 2%
Africa 4%

Women 29%

Average age 29.6
Average work experience 5.6
Over 6 years work exp 31%
Between 3 and 6 years work exp 67%
Under 3 years work exp 2%

Average GMAT 680

I like:

  • The small class size, so we get to know each other better.
  • The diversity of nationalities. It’s not just the number of nationalities but also the proportions. I like the fact that we have roughly 1/3 of participants coming from the American continent, 1/3 from Europe and 1/3 from Asia.
  • The diversity of backgrounds. I didn’t have time to take the numbers down, but from what I’ve seen so far, only a few of us came from banks or consulting firms.
  • 29% of women student is pretty good. Actually the highest proportion of women I’ve been studying with since I left high-school.
  • The average age of 29.6 and average work experience of 5.6 years which is significantly higher than most 2y MBAs, meaning that there will be more learning from real life experiences and less theorizing.

Posted in: 2. At HEC MBA , Just me | 1 Comment »

Posted by at 7 September , 2009

Today was my first day at school.

After the welcome breakfast, we were quickly dropped into more meaty action with an “ice-breaker”.
I’m not sure about you guys, but for me an ice-breaker is some sort of funny moment when people tell things about themselves such as “two truth and a lie” and others must pick up which one is the lie.
Here our ice-breaker was speed-dating times 142 (the number of HEC students in this intake). So there we were, among groups of 2 to 4, discussing about various problems, never with the same people for each topic. After those 2 hours, I had discussed with 14 people on topics ranging from Nespresso going to China to a new Coca Cola drink…
Anyway… after just half a day, me: dead.

Lunch happened in the Hall d’Honneur, with a staff presentation and an excellent buffet (incl. wine).

Afternoon was for presentations about procedures: medical, visa, IT. French people (who don’t need visas to study or work in France) started working on stereotypes about… French people.

Tonight, welcome party :)

Posted in: 2. At HEC MBA | No Comments »

Posted by at 4 September , 2009

Expansiel corridor

Expansiel corridor

My bed

My bed

Yesterday was the day when I checked-in to HEC.
I’m now officially immatriculated as a student at the HEC MBA.

Youpi! :)

I also got the keys of my room at Expansiel (see pictures).

The whole administrative process took me around 2 hours.

Back to student life again!

Posted in: 1. Pre-MBA | 1 Comment »