Academic Experience at HEC


Striver
Hi!

Hope you are doing well and striving in achieving your goals : )

I would like to get a better understanding of the academic experience of the HEC MBA. Can someone help with that?

These are my questions in particular:

How many classes do you have as a student per day?
Do they teach theory?
I have the impression that the MBA is rather practically focused (e.g. group work) with less focus on academics (e.g. they have no pre-courses). Is that accurate?
Do they teach or make use of statistics and finance in depth (e.g. at other MBA I know that they use SPSS a lot).

I know these are somewhat loose questions but I really need to get a better picture of the academic experience at HEC. It is an important part of the MBA for me personally.

Thank you very very much already!
Hi!

Hope you are doing well and striving in achieving your goals : )

I would like to get a better understanding of the academic experience of the HEC MBA. Can someone help with that?

These are my questions in particular:

How many classes do you have as a student per day?
Do they teach theory?
I have the impression that the MBA is rather practically focused (e.g. group work) with less focus on academics (e.g. they have no pre-courses). Is that accurate?
Do they teach or make use of statistics and finance in depth (e.g. at other MBA I know that they use SPSS a lot).

I know these are somewhat loose questions but I really need to get a better picture of the academic experience at HEC. It is an important part of the MBA for me personally.

Thank you very very much already!
quote
Duncan
I had a 50/50 share of a bathroom with an HEC MBA student during our exchange semester at Dartmouth, so I got to know his experience second-hand and had visited HEC's classes and campus both as an MBA applicant and, later, for the MBAT. The HEC MBA seems broadly similar with other 18-month MBAs.
- Two or three hours of classes most weekdays
- There's a rather complex discussion about what theory is. Broadly speaking, as abstraction of material reality, yes, the MBA approach is to present management theory, as tested in peer-reviewed research, and then use case studies, group projects and other formative activities to develop students' capacity. No capacity without theory, but no need understanding or theory without formative experience.
- Your question implies a false separation: groups do practice, individuals do theory. Human experience shows that it's closer to the opposite.
- the MBA is a sequence of courses which the cohort moved through in order. Prerequisites are introduced by using the sequence. For example, you will encounter portfolio theory gently in different courses before drilling down into it.
- Yes, all accredited MBAs involve fairly deep finance and statistics. Most MBAs don't use SPSS in the workplace, but they will use Excel. For that reason, MBAs are at least ten times more likely to teach finance and stats using Excel than SPSS. People will tend to meet SPSS only towards the end of their MBA, if at all, in research training for a dissertation. if you want quant skills, take a MiF rather than an MBA. MBA tend to manage MIFs, rather than do the same work, and most need a strategic framework for finance rather than a technical one.

The important context for HEC is that most students are in the Grande Ecole programme, rather than the MBA, and will arrive with a solid common base of quantitative skills. The MBA tends to start from the assumption that students will be able to hit the ground running quantitatively. It doesn't have the sort of slow, patient, building up of quant skills that you might see in a US or UK MBA, where many of the students will be poets who have done no real maths since they were 16.

PS Other than that, the only difference at HEC is that the tempo of the courses is mid-way between a two-year MBA, which allows a lot of time for skills development and job hunting, and a one-year MBA which is highly intensive and provides little margin for error.

[Edited by Duncan on Jul 15, 2018]

I had a 50/50 share of a bathroom with an HEC MBA student during our exchange semester at Dartmouth, so I got to know his experience second-hand and had visited HEC's classes and campus both as an MBA applicant and, later, for the MBAT. The HEC MBA seems broadly similar with other 18-month MBAs.
- Two or three hours of classes most weekdays
- There's a rather complex discussion about what theory is. Broadly speaking, as abstraction of material reality, yes, the MBA approach is to present management theory, as tested in peer-reviewed research, and then use case studies, group projects and other formative activities to develop students' capacity. No capacity without theory, but no need understanding or theory without formative experience.
- Your question implies a false separation: groups do practice, individuals do theory. Human experience shows that it's closer to the opposite.
- the MBA is a sequence of courses which the cohort moved through in order. Prerequisites are introduced by using the sequence. For example, you will encounter portfolio theory gently in different courses before drilling down into it.
- Yes, all accredited MBAs involve fairly deep finance and statistics. Most MBAs don't use SPSS in the workplace, but they will use Excel. For that reason, MBAs are at least ten times more likely to teach finance and stats using Excel than SPSS. People will tend to meet SPSS only towards the end of their MBA, if at all, in research training for a dissertation. if you want quant skills, take a MiF rather than an MBA. MBA tend to manage MIFs, rather than do the same work, and most need a strategic framework for finance rather than a technical one.

The important context for HEC is that most students are in the Grande Ecole programme, rather than the MBA, and will arrive with a solid common base of quantitative skills. The MBA tends to start from the assumption that students will be able to hit the ground running quantitatively. It doesn't have the sort of slow, patient, building up of quant skills that you might see in a US or UK MBA, where many of the students will be poets who have done no real maths since they were 16.

PS Other than that, the only difference at HEC is that the tempo of the courses is mid-way between a two-year MBA, which allows a lot of time for skills development and job hunting, and a one-year MBA which is highly intensive and provides little margin for error.
quote
Striver
Dear Duncan,

Thank you! I really appreciate that you take the time to share your experience and insight!

I understand all your input. In the end, as a triple accredited program you need to adhere to certain standards, so a certain level of finance and statistics will simply be mandatory. What I am trying to figure out is where the differences between programs lie and how that would make a difference to me personally. I have an undergraduate degree from a university of applied sciences and I want to change from marketing to management consulting. It does not have to be MBB, although, depending on how I progress, I would probably take a shot at it. So, to me it is important to have a program that has as much emphasis on academic and hard skills as on soft skills. If I compare HEC to SDA e.g. I have the impression that SDA has a bigger focus on academics (pre-courses, a variety of finance and economics courses within the core courses). Sure, SDA is a shorter program, but it seems to me that there is a different emphasis in the curriculum as well. As someone who wants to make such a turnaround, given my profile, do you think that HEC is a good option? And, are there other programs, in Europe, you think are worth considering ?
Thanks again!

[Edited by Striver on Jul 15, 2018]

Dear Duncan,

Thank you! I really appreciate that you take the time to share your experience and insight!

I understand all your input. In the end, as a triple accredited program you need to adhere to certain standards, so a certain level of finance and statistics will simply be mandatory. What I am trying to figure out is where the differences between programs lie and how that would make a difference to me personally. I have an undergraduate degree from a university of applied sciences and I want to change from marketing to management consulting. It does not have to be MBB, although, depending on how I progress, I would probably take a shot at it. So, to me it is important to have a program that has as much emphasis on academic and hard skills as on soft skills. If I compare HEC to SDA e.g. I have the impression that SDA has a bigger focus on academics (pre-courses, a variety of finance and economics courses within the core courses). Sure, SDA is a shorter program, but it seems to me that there is a different emphasis in the curriculum as well. As someone who wants to make such a turnaround, given my profile, do you think that HEC is a good option? And, are there other programs, in Europe, you think are worth considering ?
Thanks again!





quote
Duncan
You are perceptive. HEC has an emphasis on strategy and soft skills because of the unusually strong quant skills of students in the Grandes Écoles, and because of the nature of business in France.

IESE, ESADE, SDA Bocconi, LBS and Insead come to mind as the schools with really strong analytical and quant skills.
You are perceptive. HEC has an emphasis on strategy and soft skills because of the unusually strong quant skills of students in the Grandes Écoles, and because of the nature of business in France.

IESE, ESADE, SDA Bocconi, LBS and Insead come to mind as the schools with really strong analytical and quant skills.
quote

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