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Meet The Team: Michael Scott, HEC Paris

With two intakes per year and access to an alumni network of 44,000 in sectors like luxury goods, energy, finance and consulting, the HEC Paris MBA offers flexibility and new career options

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Tue May 8 2012

This week, Meet The Team interviews Michael Scott, Development Manager at HEC Paris.

Michael has been in this role since September 2010, having previously worked in the MBA Admissions team. His job involves promoting the MBA to top candidates  in Western and Northern Europe. HEC Paris has been ranked the top overall business school in Europe for five years by the Financial Times, and competition for places on the full-time and part-time MBAs is fierce.

Having worked in Admissions before Development, Michael has a wider perspective on the programme and the recruitment process. Read on if you're curious about who the ideal HEC Paris MBA candidate is, post-MBA employment options and the most charismatic professor at HEC Paris!

What made you decide to work for a business school?
I studied languages at the University of Glasgow and spent a year in Paris as part of my degree - I loved the experience. After working in fundraising and business development in Higher Education in the UK, when I was looking for jobs in 2010 I saw a vacancy at HEC Paris. Given the strong reputation of the school (HEC Paris is the #1 Business School in Europe according to the Financial Times, from 2006 to 2011), I thought it would be a great place to work. I get to use my languages and work in the education sector, which I'm really interested in.

What were your first impressions of the HEC Paris MBA campus?
I was immediately struck by how calm and tranquil the campus is compared to all the noise and crowds there are usually in central Paris. The campus is a 300-acre site, situated in a very green part of the région Parisienne. I think it provides the right balance which allows participants to get away from city life to do their studies, whilst Paris remains a commutable distance away.

What do you think are the best things about studying an MBA at HEC Paris?
At HEC Paris participants become members of a top-tier MBA programme offering a diverse and international student body, and an excellent permanent faculty teaching across the range of programmes offered by the school. We offer real flexibility in our offer of two full-time intakes(September and January) and a part-time option.

The pace of the full-time MBA (16 months) is a real asset for those looking for a career change, as are the opportunities to apply the theory from the classroom to the real world (opportunities for internships, consultancy projects).

We are one of the few top-ranking programmes in Europe and we facilitate exposure to multi-nationals and a powerful worldwide network of alumni (more than 44,000 worldwide).

What types of companies do HEC MBAs typically go on to work for?
There's such a wide diversity of post-employment options - I think that's one of the things that differentiates us from other schools that tend to be strong in just one sector or function. We have great connections in the Luxury, Energy, Aerospace, Finance, Consulting. Another element to note is that our top recruiting companies change every year with the market and with the participants' wishes. Our
top recruiters last year included Amazon, which we would not have envisaged in previous years.

Who is an ideal applicant for the HEC Paris full-time MBA?
This is a question I get asked a lot! Of course we value good grades and career progression, but that’s not all. Just as when candidates decide which school is right for him or her, on our side, we look for individuals who strike the right balance between what you come to expect from high potential applicants and those all important “differentiating” factors. I think interpersonal skills are very important; these are hard to judge from the application form so interview preparation is crucial.

International exposure is also an important element for us. Our participants enter into a multicultural environment at HEC Paris and previous exposure facilitates studying in this environment. It also prepares our participants well for when they re-enter the world of work, many of them taking positions of responsibility in multi-national companies.

When is the best time in a career to take a break for a full-time MBA?
Most people will know instinctively when that moment arrives, though you should make sure it doesn’t pass you by. We also offer Executive Education programmes designed for people at more senior stages in their careers. For those participants who want to advance in their careers but are happy with their current company, the part-time MBA is the ideal option. Our participants have an average of six years professional work experience.

Do you offer part-time programmes?
Yes – in a modular format of one week per month, over two years. This option offers participants a unique opportunity to enhance their knowledge base, maximize their leadership potential, and expand their corporate network, while maintaining a balance between their personal and professional lives.

Who is the most charismatic professor that you've met so far?
Kevyn Yong, educated at Cornell, Harvard and National University of Singapore, teaches Organisational Behaviour and he is a very charismatic professor, who is involved in the off-Campus Leadership Seminar at the St-Cyr Military Academy. He is also active in helping the Development team! I’d like to thank Kevyn.

Tell us something about living in Paris that we might not know!

I live in the north of the city and HEC Paris is in the south, every day I’m saving money, beating the traffic and reducing my carbon footprint by using public transportation to get to work.

The Paris Métropolitan (métro), besides being famous for its art nouveau décor, is the second busiest network in Europe after Moscow and one of the densest systems in the world. I am one of nearly five million passengers travelling every day.