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)

This blog in English Ce blog en Français

Archive for the ‘Just me’ Category

Posted by at 13 January , 2010

First of all Happy New Year 2010! :)

Happy New Year 2010!

Happy New Year 2010!

It gives me the opportunity for me to look back at my Year 2009 where many things happened.
I left my job and started a new life as an HEC student.
I feel I opened up to many new things. I discovered myself a talent for topics I had no idea of (eg. Financial Accounting?!) and met people that I would have had little chances to meet before (eg. a japanese girl who worked in bulldozer manufacturing…)
At this stage, I sincerely believe that year 2009 was a cornerstone year for me and that year 2010 will bring more changes in my life.

So what’s your new year resolution? Mine is to learn Chinese. I really hope to become more conversational with my Mandarin this year. Time will tell if I succeeded. :)

View of campus from Expansiel

View of campus from Expansiel

So that’s it! Now I’m (hardly) back from my end of year holidays and ready to take over Core 2!

The least we can say is that, academically, Core 2 starts slowly. And this is a good thing since I happen to be hammered with ever more club activities. In parrallel, I need to seriously look for a July-August summer internship.
Lots to do…

Finally, the newcomers from the Jan 2010 intake arrived last week. It’s a bit strange to now be considered as the “seniors”. Tonight we have a special “buddy” event to meet with the younger intake people we will give advices to.
It reminds me of a similar notion from the Consulting world.

Otherwise, I think I’ve never seen so much snow for so long in France…

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

Posted by at 21 October , 2009

Those who read my article about school selection know I did an MBA because I wanted to move toward Luxury.
As I spent my summer holidays knowing I was accepted at the HEC MBA, I read a new book called Luxe Oblige (in English: The Luxury Strategy), written by two HEC MBA professors.

This week I discovered these two videos online (in French).

JN Kapferer & V Bastien (Luxe Oblige) dans Darketing - ep1

JN Kapferer & V Bastien (Luxe Oblige) dans Darketing - ep2

It’s quite funny to see one of our teachers in a video :)
Now I need to go back to my Marketing case for tomorrow…

Posted in: Just me | 3 Comments »

Posted by at 12 October , 2009

These days I’m spending a lot of time thinking about career and, more exactly, researching what I would like to work in after my MBA. Seminars organised by the CMC (Career Management Center) of the HEC MBA are helping a lot in my quest.

Posted in: Just me | No Comments »

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 29 July , 2009

So here I am. I came back home to Paris a couple of hours ago after a 7 weeks holiday trip which brought me to China, Japan and Tahiti.
Another month of holidays to go, also to take care of various administrative errants and shop for school stuff :)

And last week, while in Tahiti, I learned I have been accepted to the TEC On-Campus Program that I had applied to early this month.

Everything’s good :)

Tags: ,
Posted in: 1. Pre-MBA , Just me | 2 Comments »

Posted by at 2 July , 2009

On Tuesday, during a trip to Kyoto, I was visiting around with some friends and as we grew tired of walking, we started to look for a café to sit down and relax for a bit. The café we found by the imperial palace was like nothing we’d seen before.

Inside the imperial palace

Inside the imperial palace

At first, we didn’t understand how to behave at the Free Café Harimaya Station. It seemed like just any self-service café in Japan, only with the exception of cashiers. Indeed coffee, tea, juice and even rice crackers were completely free of charge. This concept, we later found, had been developed by a successful confectionery company to “give back” to society and promote traditional food, in their case rice crackers (senbei), and environmental awareness.

The café wasn’t a place of only benevolent goodness as a small shop counter was conveniently located a few meters from the free café. By instituting this free café, Harimaya Honten managed to attract people, make them feel good, and even buy their product and offset their running costs!

Their philosophy also caught my attention as they were careful of making rice crackers in traditional, and more environmentaly-friendly, as opposed to sterile industrial ways. Pictures of their factories showed them more like Japanese country houses with beautiful gardens than the typical concrete blocks.

Since I’ve visited this café I can’t help but think of how this new model for marketing a quality products could be applicable in other circumstances. Could this café exist in Western countries or in any place outside of Japan?
I don’t have the answers right now and hope to ponder upon them during my studies at HEC.

Posted in: Just me | 1 Comment »

Posted by at 22 June , 2009

When visiting China for the first time in 2004, one of the things that struck me was that, when in China, one should switch one’s mindset to another scale for everything altogether. And it’s not based just on demographic or geographic statistics. Here, everything is bigger.

Entrance to the Forbidden City

Entrance to the Forbidden City

Well, it may not apply to everything (such as the size of a roast duck), but I don’t think I’ve ever seen city parks as big as Beijing’s own Beihai, Zonghai and Houhai gardens. Not even mentioning the Summer Palace park which doesn’t really count as a city park and lays by the 4th ring. If the notion of city ring doesn’t mean anything to you, think of the nice peripheral highways that border your city. Paris has two: the Périphérique and the Francilienne. Beijing has seven of them… Oh, and did I mention it? They’re bigger.

This year, one of the reasons why I went to Beijing in the first place was to visit the Tsinghua University with which HEC has a double MBA degree agreement. A nice lady from the Tsinghua SEM IMBA admission office greeted me and we discussed about the application procedure. Finally, she gave me their IMBA brochure and invited me to visit the campus. Now I must mention that students typically travel between different academic buildings riding a bike. I’ve seen some people do it with a taxi. We walked… and going from toward the South exit (where SEM is located) to the North exit (by the dorms) took us 40 minutes.

Today, I’m in Xi’an, home to tens of thousands terracotta warriors. Flying tomorrow to Shanghai and its two world tallest towers, then flying back to Beijing and its world biggest airport…
And ponder upon the fact that people don’t know what gigantic is before coming to China.

Cet article en Français

Posted in: 1. Pre-MBA , Just me | 2 Comments »

Posted by at 16 June , 2009

Today, I’m going on holidays :)
Between my work and new MBA adventure, I thought a good break would be welcome.

So happy! :))

Edit: My flight has a 11 hours delay… I’ll leave tomorrow morning…

Posted in: Just me | 1 Comment »

Posted by at 29 May , 2009

Today was my last day at work.
I’m no stranger to goodbyes and new horizons but this one really does feel very special.

Indeed, as I reflect on Friday, 29th May 2009, I bring an end to an adventure I started on a 13th of November: 8 years, 6 months and 16 days ago. Throughout this adventure, I have moved offices 4 times, worked on 14 projects (or major proposals) taking me to 17 cities in 10 countries. But more importantly, I’ve had the privilege to work with people from 37 offices around the world which allowed me to gain cultural awareness in a way that’s rare and truly remarkable.

My ecosphere (with 5 shrimps)

My ecosphere (with 5 shrimps)

Thought it would be nice to put these numbers in a magic square. As a game you can play at finding out how old I was when I started and when I left.

22 10 14 17
08 11 13 31
29 05 20 09
04 37 16 06

One doesn’t leave such a job after 8+ years without throwing a goodbye party, which I did.

To this occasion, my colleagues offered me an Ecosphere.

Apparently it can live for around 2 years, so hopefully it will keep me nice company throught my studies. I’ll update you here on how it evolves.

Posted in: Just me | 2 Comments »

Posted by at 19 May , 2009

As many before me, here I am, starting a blog about my MBA experience.
Since December last year, I know that I’ll be starting at the HEC MBA in September 09. I applied to the bilingual French-English programme and thought it would be a good idea to share my experience in a similar manner.

I’ll try my best to write this blog in English and in French. You can find the French version here.

PS: HEC being such an institution in France, I was quite surprised not to find any HEC MBA blog in French. If anyone knows of any, feel free let me know via comment.

Posted in: Just me | No Comments »