After completing a full-time MBA at HEC Paris, Johann Matthai made the MBA triple jump – changing job sector, function, and location – to take up a new job as a senior consultant at Monitor Deloitte in Amsterdam.
He’s part of an increasing number of HEC Paris MBA grads moving into consulting – between 2014 and 2016 the school’s seen a six percent rise in the placement of students into consulting industry positions.
Johann – who worked in publishing in India prior to his MBA – also met his current partner at the business school. He’s had a personal and professional life transformation that’s been made possible thanks to HEC Paris, where 92% of full-time MBA students are international.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
After having worked for close to six years, I welcomed the opportunity to immerse myself in a classroom environment once again and learn with and from people boasting of diverse life stories. In the long run, I believed this experience extended itself organically to global roles and the ability to lead multi-cultural teams.
While I welcomed the opportunity to work post-MBA in Europe, a continent I had limited exposure to in a professional setting, I was most keen to just go along on the ride and see where it took me.
Why HEC Paris?
I sought a program that offered a good mix of practical experience while at school, and had the long-term professional benefits of the network. In this regard, the 16-month HEC Paris MBA, with its intimate class size of 250 students, and the extended network of its Grand Ecole program (truly an institution in France!) provided the best fit.
More importantly however, during my interactions with representatives and past and present students, the prospective HEC Paris experience seemed to reflect and represent me in a way that no other program did.
If this wasn’t enough, I always heard that Paris is a good idea. Many croissants and glasses of wine later, I can testify that this statement holds utterly true!
How did your MBA help you secure a new job at Monitor Deloitte?
A consulting firm values, above all else, an ability to perform complex analyses accompanied by a sound understanding of how businesses work. With a curriculum that organically lends itself to a deeper understanding of the inter-play of the different management functions, the MBA is thus a program that provides a solid base to launch yourself into a consulting career.
For my own part, wanting to keep a career in consulting as an option, I worked to be elected to the Executive Council of the Consulting Club for my intake. The club was entrusted with the responsibility of preparing candidates for a future in consulting, as well as educating the cohort on the latest developments in the industry.
Backed by this experience and the other skill-sets taught to me during the MBA, I further prepared with the help of my batch-mates. Ultimately, I was able to utilize the power of the HEC network to ensure my resume reached the right people.
What advice do you have for prospective MBA candidates?
Pick a school that is right for you, your motivations and aspirations post-MBA. Do your research and talk to as many people as you can in the programs you’re targeting. You might be surprised that your ‘best-fit’ school is one you weren’t originally prioritizing.
My own experience is testimony to this. Backed by a good GMAT score and what I considered to be work experience that most schools would value, I applied to many schools within the top 15 and got admits from a number of them. My choice of HEC Paris meant turning down some slightly higher-ranked schools, but looking back, there is arguably no other program that could’ve landed me in the position I am today – professionally and personally. Rankings aren’t everything.
Finally, go into the MBA with an open mind. The MBA ended up being a juncture that re-directed many parts of my life. One often talks about ‘return on investment’ from a b-school – I consider myself very fortunate.