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 the ‘MBA’ Category

Posted by at 21 February , 2010

As you may have noticed everywhere around the world, this week was full of Chinese New Year celebrations. Well at the HEC MBA too where the (extended) Chinese community organised the Chinese Week.
In the programme, we had tea and snacks tasting, Chinese movie/documentary about China, dumpling workshop (if you’ve always dreamed of making your own dumplings), and an evening of partying on Friday along with dinner, music and games.

Happy Chinese New Year! Hail to the Tiger!

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Posted by at 27 January , 2010

You may have noticed that I’m getting to blog a bit more regularly. Well, part of it is because many interesting things happen.

Yesterday and today HEC hosted the recrutment “Carrefours“. Carrefour means crossroads in French and is also the name of France’s largest supermarket chain. And indeed, the whole event seemed like a big marketplace.
In two days, about 110 companies came to recruit from a very broad range of sectors. There were consulting firms and banks of course, but also retail, transportation, automobile, energy, publishing, food, consumer goods, luxury, and the list goes on. There was even a video game company.
Unfortunately, most (although not all) of the companies that came focus on recruiting Grande Ecole people. This masters programme is clearly the one that HEC is famous for. It often brings frustration as we see recruiters all smile and, the second we mention we’re from the MBA programme, they start to look away.

However, persistence (and a sustained smile) is key, as well as good preparation.
Before the carrefours, I studied my plan of attack, I knew that I was interested in consulting or consumer goods (preferably more on the luxury side). So I shortlisted 10 companies, categorised in “must-see” and “if-time”, and went ahead.
While a few companies proved disappointing (I’m starting to really wonder whether I’d really like to go back to the consulting sharks nest), I came back with 3 companies that were interested in my profile, and where I could happily imagine myself applying to. One was in consulting, one in beauty, and one in luxury. I felt the highest connection to was the latter but it was a total pleasure to discuss with each of them.
So in the end, I’ve had a fruitful Carrefour. I’ve made contact with the recruiting representatives of likeable companies and I know they’ll remember me when I e-mail them. And most importantly, I’ve confirmed that my profile is attractive to my target industry. A career switch is indeed possible!

On another note, while I went to the Carrefours fairly light-hearted, mainly looking for information as I’ll finish my studies from Tsinghua only in June next year, we (of the September 09 intake) noticed many old faces from the September 08 batch who finished class in December. I didn’t want to ask to many questions but it seems like the job market is tough for those who just graduated…

 

Fajitas party!

Fajitas party!

So what’s the deal with fajitas? You may ask.

Well, I just wanted to (at last) comment on the social life at HEC, since it’s something that we’re most most proud of in our MBA.

Just two days ago, we received an e-mail from the president of the Latin Club about a fajitas party organised at the Piano Bar (it’s a bar with a piano) by the dorms. That came in as a total surprise out of some ideas that emerged during the week-end (which was the January 10 integration week-end in the Alps).

Here you go: fajitas, sangria, caipiroska, margarita, pisco…

Total succes! Latin Club! We love you! :)

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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.

Negosim

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.

Classes

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 by at 30 August , 2009

A week has passed, and the tension starts to build up before classes start. More students arrive in Paris from other countries.

Le Pont des Arts on the day of the picnic

Le Pont des Arts on the day of the picnic

As a result, I could see new faces during another HEC get together when we went for a picnic on the Pont des Arts last Friday (Aug 28th). In total, I could meet people from UK, the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Columbia, and of course France.
However, most people will arrive on the 3rd and 4th of September, when we can move into our rooms in Expansiel, the HEC student residence.

On my side, I’ve started figure out what I could bring into my room and I think I won’t be able to do without renting a utility car for moving in.
Indeed, while I *could* do the public transport trip with a suitcase, it may be difficult if I have to lug a microwave and an ironing board around…

To be continued…

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Posted in: 1. Pre-MBA | 1 Comment »

Posted by at 25 August , 2009

I haven’t written much since I came back to France (beside a page about interviews).
True, things have been going slowly but it doesn’t mean nothing happened.

Indeed, as the day when school starts (September 7th) beckons, more students are gathering in Paris. So last Friday (Aug 21st) we had a nice event where we had drinks and a few of us continued for dinner in the Montorgueil area.

All good stuff :)

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Posted by at 28 May , 2009

As the HEC MBA September 2009 intake is almost made up by now, there are a few ways for us admits to network. The HEC connect website, of course, but also less official means on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Via that, some of the French parisian crowd organised an ice breaking event by the Eiffel Tower yesterday. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t so happy about it and the evening was fresh with a few drizzles. The mood however was great and enjoyable for the 7 of us who attended. We exchanged on our admission process, prior experience, expectations, financing, and on many other topics.

Now I feel like my MBA is finally getting into motion :)

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