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

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by at 28 May , 2010

Social and Sustainable Business Conference

Social and Sustainable Business Conference

I should have mentionned it a while ago.

Indeed, the HEC MBA students organise two major events every year.

One is of course MBAT, which I already mentionned many times.
The other is the Social and Sustainable Business Conference (or SSBC), which is more recent but no less important.

I’m all the more guilty of not mentionning it earlier on this blog that I participated a lot in the organisation of this event, which is part of the Visions of Leadership cycle.

This year, on May 28th and May 29th, we will welcome around 50 speakers and 400 participants who will discuss sustainability in its economic, social and environmental forms.

Pretty cool huh! :)

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Posted by at 16 May , 2010

MBAT closing party

MBAT closing party

After a very quick start and 3 days of intense activities, this year’s MBAT resulted in a resounding success.

It was successful because so many participating schools came. Competing in events against 11 other schools with high energy and people cheering from all sides was a fantastic blast. We were also proud to show the other schools that all HEC MBA students could organise, support and play in this big event.

But it was a success most importantly because, for the 20th anniversary of MBAT, WE WON. The HEC MBA had never won the tournament but this year every students were determined to be the best in the even organisation but also in sports. We trained and worked really hard for this, and it paid!

As for me, I participated in the pétanque and dodgeball competition and we won the title for both. So I’m really happy to have brought my personnal contribution to our overall success! :)

CONGRATULATION HEC! WE WON!

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Posted by at 13 May , 2010

Today MBAT starts with sport competitions and parties which will span across 3 days.

Some statistics:

  • 1300 students coming from 13 European MBAs: Cambridge, Cranfield, ESADE, IE, IESE, IMD, LBS, Manchester, Oxford, RSM, SDA Bocconi, Tias Nimbas and HEC.
  • 21 sports competitions
  • 5 events/parties

All HEC MBA students will be participating in the organisation of this event that we are very proud to host. This year is also special because it’s going to be the 20th anniversary of MBAT so we’re determined to show a united front in terms of welcoming our guests in the best way while also winning the competition.

GAME ON!

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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 19 April , 2010

Building a bridge in the forest

Building a bridge in the forest

Last week, we went to something truely unique about the HEC MBA: The Leadership Seminar at St-Cyr, where we spent two days. One in the Coëtquidant center, in the forest. The other one at the Penthièvre fort, by the sea of Brittany.
For the record, St-Cyr is the highest level French military academy, where cadets train to become officers of the French army. It is considered to be one of the more prestigious Grandes Ecoles.

And, yes, it was a blast :)
We didn’t get to play with arms but we had plenty with all the rest.
We learned to quickly understand people’s key skills in a team. We learned to trust our team mates. We learned to trust ourselves too.
We woke up early, and experienced things we never had before. We faced our fears and conquered some of them.

I can seriously say I felt priviledged to be part of such a programme.
It was fantastic and I’m sure all of us will have lots of happy memories of these two days :)

PS: Yes, I had my share of cramps and bruises afterwards.

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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 by at 28 March , 2010

A few weeks ago, the HEC MBA students participated in shooting this trailer. We were about 100. We discovered how tough a movie shot can be but the result was really worth it. Wahoo!

HEC Paris - Official MBAT 2010 Trailer

Looking on Youtube, I found another MBAT 2010 trailer, this time from LBS. You can tell the celebration is getting closer! :)

HEC Paris - Official MBAT 2010 Trailer

In case you’re wondering what Morgan Freeman says, it comes from Invictus, beautiful poem by Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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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 11 February , 2010

One of the thing I did not really expect from an MBA was the exposure that one can get to great minds. I remember seeing information about conferences when applying to MBAs, but I was often doubtful, as it could be little more than clever marketing. I’m not sure how true this is for other business schools, but HEC has certainly shown its ability to gather awesome speakers.

Last week on Wednesday, Daniel Bernard, former CEO of Carrefour and HEC alumni, came to speak to MBA students. We learned about his evolution from a young manager pioneering “Modern Retail” in the 70s, to the strategist which orchestrated the expansion of Carrefour from third hypermarket chain in France to the world’s most globalised retail group, with unparalleled growth in Latin America and Asia.
I felt privileged as I listened to him recalling stories such as going to Shanghai in the early 90s and telling incredulous officials that he wished to sell Chinese, not Vuitton or Chanel bags, but cheap rice :)

Conference with Pr. Yunus

Conference with Pr. Yunus

On the next day, I was part of a small group of MBA students who travelled from Jouy-en-Josas to middle Paris for a conference on Social Business, co-organised by HEC. Speakers were gathered around professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for inventing microcredit. Most notably Franck Riboud, CEO of Danone, and Martin Hirsch, French High Commissioner for Active Solidarities against Poverty.
Another privileged moment.

Again, yesterday we had a conference with Bernard Bourigeaud, founder of Atos, as he explained us how he grew this company from a small French IT service company to the 3rd largest IT consultancy in Europe through well executed acquisitions.

It can be argued that events dedicated to MBAs, such as the ones with Daniel Bernard and Bernard Bourigeaud, are rare. They mostly target HEC as a whole and are often in French, not always with English translation. But the experience, and inspiration that one gets from such moments, is priceless.

Tomorrow, as part of the TEC programme, we will meet Avivah Cox, a Senior HR consultant and CEO who will tell us about women empowerment. Cool ! :)

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