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 ‘Just me’ Category

Posted by at 13 February , 2011

This year has been a very dry winter in Beijing with what could well be the worst drought in a century.

Pouring snow at the Qinghuayuan crossroad

Pouring snow at the Qinghuayuan crossroad

It’s particularly worrying for farmers in surrounding regions as no water means no crop, and no crop means lesser / more expensive food, and that means, well you know, very big troubles…

So it is with relief that we saw snow fall twice this week. Apparently it was helped by could seeding canons used by the government to provoke snow fall. (See more here)

I, like other people, felt a great sense of joy when I saw my neighbourhood blanketed in white. It’s great to hear the children play snowballs.
But, wow, snow in Beijing is really something!

PS: You may have noticed but I changed camera… My pictures will now be in a 2/3 format.

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Posted by at 11 February , 2011

Welcome to my new blog!

I’ve decided to change the name of my blog to better reflect the reality of my activities since I’m now following the second phase of my cursus in China.

As you may have noticed, the website has undergone a major layout update.
Please let me know what you think!

And update your bookmarks :)

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Posted by at 3 February , 2011

As you noticed, I have sort of let down my blog since I arrived in China. The reason is that I had dificulties, intellectually, to write a feedback about China and Tsinghua in a blog titled HEC MBA.

Setting up fireworks

Setting up fireworks

So here’s the start of a new blog which will take into account both sides of my story.
“Frog to Dragon”
like my transition from France to China.
“Frog to Dragon”
like my quest for asian wisdom.

I hope you’ll keep reading me here :)

And what a better day to start this new blog than the Chinese New Year ?
Here in Beijing, it’s truly a celebration of the people where everyone is invited to light their fireworks. As a result, firecrackers and fireworks non-stop for the past 24 hours, and still going… And, yes, it’s loud…

Hail to the rabbit!

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Posted by at 18 December , 2010

This week was the last week of class at HEC for the students of my intake.

On one hand there are those who have found a job and who are ready to enjoy the holidays before starting their new post-MBA life, on the other hand there are those who are still looking for a job end getting a bit anxious. These days there are many farewell celebrations at HEC to wave goodbye to studies and Paris. 16 months have gone past at such an incredible speed.

My situation is different because, as a double degree student, my curriculum spans accros 2 full years and will end in June 2011. As a consequence, there’s a gap between my current mindset and the one of my classmates following the normal cursus.

Indeed, even though I’m conscious that my studies are coming to an end, I’m not yet fully ready to face the professional world…

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Posted by at 12 August , 2010

I arrived in China last Saturday and I’m in Japan since today, on holiday, until the Tsinghua registration on August 25th.

Wudaokou station by night

Wudaokou station by night

In the length of 5 days, I managed to open a bank account, visit 14 flats in the Wudaokou area and finally sign a lease for me to move in when I get back on August 24th. I also met about 15 of my new Tsinghua classmates, and then I couldn’t help but think of when we did the same thing with HEC admits, a year ago.

What can I say about these 5 days… It felt like being ran over by a truck!
Of course, it was self inflicted toughness, giving myself just 4 days (while massively jet-lagged) to find the flat of my year time. But, hey, this is China! And not exactly the sanitized expat China from Beijing’s East side. I dare say that my 5 senses were exposed to the experience.
The Beijing I’ll live in for a year is crowded, noisy and smelly. It was cold and humid, as summer is there, and I heard winter can be really cold. I also found that Beijingers love their chillies.
I think I’m in for a challenge ;)

But the internet connectivity in China is so damn slow!

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Posted by at 5 August , 2010

Walking out of HEC

Walking out of HEC

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since my previous post.
As I’m preparing my big move to China, time has really passed without me noticing anything.

Before I go and start the second chapter of my MBA experience, I wanted to reflect back on what I have learned and what I’ll take away from it.

3 classes I enjoyed:

  • Marketing (with J.N. Kapferer)
  • Corporate Finance (with P. Quiry)
  • Luxury Strategy (with V. Bastien)


Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by at 6 July , 2010

Last night at Expansiel: heavy packing going on...

Last night at Expansiel: heavy packing going on...

Tonight is my last night at Expansiel.

So I’m packing all my belongings and getting ready to move back to Paris where I’ll stay for a month before going to China.

I spent my last evening at the Piano Bar watching the football game between Uruguay and the Netherlands (Netherlands won 3 vs. 2). It was a great match but now I’m back in my room, packing my remaining belongings. My window is open and I can hear the youngsters from the Grande Ecole partying and laughing out loud, as usual.

It feels a bit strange to say goodbye to a year I spent here, with all the good memories I accumulated.

Bye bye HEC ~

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Posted by at 3 July , 2010

Summer has arrived. After a little struggle (15°C on June 21st) heat has settled on campus, as well as the football world cup :)

Now, PP1 is almost done for me. I still have a couple of classes next week but I’ll be on vacation right after.

During PP1, we had the options of doing a long internship (5 months) of study electives. I was more interested by classes (and vacations) and I made a scrupulous selection based on my own interests and feedback from previous intakes.

Happy participants of the theatre elective

Happy participants of the theatre elective

In addition, as I was not accepted to the Luxury track (very selective) I tried to pick classes that would be most useful after my MBA, while being unique and hard to get at Tsinghua, as I will still have the chance to study electives there in September.

As a result, I took the following classes:
- The Financial Dimension of Strategic Decisions
- International Entrepreneurial Finance
- The Macroeconomics of Emerging Economies
- Marketing and Strategies in Luxury
- Managing the Growing Company
- International Negociations
- Discovering your Leadership Path
- Theatre (in French)

The quality of each class was variable, but I was generally very satisfied by my electives.

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Posted by at 26 April , 2010

Hey there!
Spring has finally arrived!

Violets blooming all over the campus woods

Violets blooming all over the campus woods

What can I say, I’m very glad I could pack away my coat and enjoy again nice walks around the campus. Flowers are just about everywhere these days. Everybody is in good mood :)

It is also time to look back as we have now completed our second Core phase.

During this period, I have learned about:
- Business Economics
- Corporate Finance (in French)
- Decision Making
- Organisational Behaviour
- Management Accounting & Control (in French)
- Strategic Management (in French)
- Sustainable Business Strategy

Like in Core 1, I didn’t know much about any of these topics.

I confirmed my strange taste for Financial Accounting as I enjoyed the classes we had in Management Accounting. This is big news for me and I’m now starting to include this skill into future career options. (Seriously, who’d want to include Accounting as a career option!)

I may say that this period has been as life changing as Core 1. But maybe as a continuation. I felt that Core 1 was a “Reset” time, while Core 2 was about (re)building my expectations.
I’ve definitely started to think of career options in a different way and now I’m seriously considering options that would have sounded wild when I left my job, just under a year ago.

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Posted by at 2 April , 2010

Last week we had a conference cycle called Visions of Leadership.

Theodore Zeldin at HEC Visions of Leadership

Theodore Zeldin at HEC Visions of Leadership

This week long event was opened by Theodore Zeldin and saw leaders from a broad range of sectors. I was certainly impressed by the diversity of ways one can be a leader in. We had, of course, people coming from the corporate world, but also from smaller businesses and start-ups. Further from the typical MBA target, we saw ambassadors, sportsmen and a former head of the French army in Afghanistan.

It was a very interesting discovery for us. Not all leaders are charismatic and the “Follow me to my vision!” type. Some were more collected and exhibited a more serious demeanor. Some came with the notes and presentations while others could just sit in their chair and start talking. Some were shy.

One of the things this week left me thinking about was, actually, how we started the cycle.
Just before the conferences started we were all given a bag with instructions and, amongst other things, Theodore Zeldin’s book: Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives. This book matched not only his opening speech but also made sense of the cycle and further.
Indeed, I believe that meaningful conversations can change people. It stems from a desire to share things and learn from others. One could even say that writing this blog is a way for me to have a conversation with you readers.

Anyway, philosophical ponders…

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