HEC Paris or INSEAD to work in France


I'm American and looking at business schools around Paris. My goal is to work in France for at least a couple of years after graduation to get some international experience.

I know that INSEAD is ranked higher than HEC Paris and has better salaries, but from looking at the FT rankings, I see that HEC Paris is ranked higher for international mobility, which probably would give me a better chance to land a job there, right?

I speak a little French because I took the language in college and did an international exchange for a semester. I haven't used it for a while but I'm sure it would come back to me quickly.
I'm American and looking at business schools around Paris. My goal is to work in France for at least a couple of years after graduation to get some international experience.

I know that INSEAD is ranked higher than HEC Paris and has better salaries, but from looking at the FT rankings, I see that HEC Paris is ranked higher for international mobility, which probably would give me a better chance to land a job there, right?

I speak a little French because I took the language in college and did an international exchange for a semester. I haven't used it for a while but I'm sure it would come back to me quickly.
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Duncan
Where is your French on this scale: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages#Common_reference_levels ?

Read http://www.find-mba.com/board/34713

I think that if you don't speak French then you will be safer to choose HEC over Insead, Insead is in the French countryside, but it may as well be in another country. It's not a French institution, and it's not really placing into French firms. In a 10 month MBA you won't find the time for internships, projects, language acquisition and job hunting which an 18 month degree will offer you. And HEC is a pillar of French society.
Where is your French on this scale: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages#Common_reference_levels ?

Read http://www.find-mba.com/board/34713

I think that if you don't speak French then you will be safer to choose HEC over Insead, Insead is in the French countryside, but it may as well be in another country. It's not a French institution, and it's not really placing into French firms. In a 10 month MBA you won't find the time for internships, projects, language acquisition and job hunting which an 18 month degree will offer you. And HEC is a pillar of French society.
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ezra
I'd agree - and add that although HEC isn't actually in Paris, it's much easier to get into the city - you can take a bus and then a train. The process takes over an hour, but is much easier and faster than coming from INSEAD.

Do yourself a favor and take advantage of the French language classes the school offers, as you'll generally need business French fluency if you want to work in the country.
I'd agree - and add that although HEC isn't actually in Paris, it's much easier to get into the city - you can take a bus and then a train. The process takes over an hour, but is much easier and faster than coming from INSEAD.

Do yourself a favor and take advantage of the French language classes the school offers, as you'll generally need business French fluency if you want to work in the country.
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Thank you both for your help. I'm probably at level B1 at the highest in terms of language. Would I need to prepare in advance to optimize my chances of landing a job?
Thank you both for your help. I'm probably at level B1 at the highest in terms of language. Would I need to prepare in advance to optimize my chances of landing a job?
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Duncan
I would really focus on improving your French, both at HEC and in your social life, and spending as much time as possible outside of the MBA building and getting into the life of the grande ecole and French society. The MBA building is a bubble, and HEC's strong relationships with alumni and employers are mainly outside the building.

I need to stress one thing about learning French in a university: it's focussed on preparing people to listen and write. I cannot stress strongly enough how important accent reduction is, not only in France but everywhere. Yesterday I had tea with a very talented friend of mine who is a Hong-Kong born Canadian with an MBA from Manchester Business School. Her accent, idiom, cadences and diction are clearly that of a Chinese person and I think it has to limit her progress greatly. It would be even more important in Paris, I think.

PS Also think about taking at least one class in French at HEC.
I would really focus on improving your French, both at HEC and in your social life, and spending as much time as possible outside of the MBA building and getting into the life of the grande ecole and French society. The MBA building is a bubble, and HEC's strong relationships with alumni and employers are mainly outside the building.

I need to stress one thing about learning French in a university: it's focussed on preparing people to listen and write. I cannot stress strongly enough how important accent reduction is, not only in France but everywhere. Yesterday I had tea with a very talented friend of mine who is a Hong-Kong born Canadian with an MBA from Manchester Business School. Her accent, idiom, cadences and diction are clearly that of a Chinese person and I think it has to limit her progress greatly. It would be even more important in Paris, I think.

PS Also think about taking at least one class in French at HEC.
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Thank you for that advice. I would probably take some French classes in advance to brush-up on my language skills, and then of course I would take language classes during my MBA.

Good advice about spending immersion time outside of the MBA. I think I would consider actually living in an apartment in Paris, as opposed to living on the HEC grounds as it seems many students do. I just have to decide weather the commute is worth it or not...
Thank you for that advice. I would probably take some French classes in advance to brush-up on my language skills, and then of course I would take language classes during my MBA.

Good advice about spending immersion time outside of the MBA. I think I would consider actually living in an apartment in Paris, as opposed to living on the HEC grounds as it seems many students do. I just have to decide weather the commute is worth it or not...
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Duncan
No, the commute's not worth it. Live on campus and with the 20 hours a week you'll save commuting, take off the weekends and spend them in Paris.
No, the commute's not worth it. Live on campus and with the 20 hours a week you'll save commuting, take off the weekends and spend them in Paris.
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ezra
What's interesting is that I've heard from a couple of MBA students who started the program by living on campus, but by the end of the program had moved into the city. I guess that social life and expectations change a lot during an MBA, especially if you're surrounded mainly by people you go to school with. :)

But I wouldn't say that networking capability changes a lot if you are living off-campus. Commute time does add up though, if you are doing it every day.
What's interesting is that I've heard from a couple of MBA students who started the program by living on campus, but by the end of the program had moved into the city. I guess that social life and expectations change a lot during an MBA, especially if you're surrounded mainly by people you go to school with. :)

But I wouldn't say that networking capability changes a lot if you are living off-campus. Commute time does add up though, if you are doing it every day.
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