Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

Why This Neurologist Is Pursuing The HEC Paris MBA

Find out how a HEC Paris MBA student is proving that MBA programs aren’t reserved just for those with business experience


Tue May 23 2023

Unlike a typical MBA student, Nasheed I. Jamal doesn’t have formal experience in business.

In fact, Nasheed is a neurologist and health sciences professor at UCLA. A profession that doesn’t always spring to mind when you think about a typical business school student.

Yet Nasheed is on the MBA path with a clear vision in mind about what she wants to gain from the program, and breaking free from the mold of a scientist is just one of her many ambitions. 

BusinessBecause caught up with Nasheed to find out how she’s using HEC Paris MBA to transform her career.

Pursuing a life-long dream to study in France via the HEC Paris MBA

Nasheed’s journey to an MBA has been far from easy.

Prior to joining business school, she was unfortunately involved in an accident where she was hit by a vehicle.

As she was recovering from the accident, she realized something felt different.

“The accident made me realize that a career in administration was the right direction to take," she says.

As an esteemed health sciences professor in the UCLA Department of Neurology, she knew she had more to give as a medical professional.

“I knew I’d hit a ceiling and that it was time to pursue my international interests,” she says.

This led to her research into MBA programs. She had heard about the HEC Paris MBA and the Grande Ecole system in French class during her undergraduate degree at MIT, and knew that the renowned school in the French capital was an ideal choice.

“I’m a lifelong Francophone and Francophile,” she laughs, “so the decision to join an MBA in France was natural.”

It was also beneficial to her that MBA programs in Europe are typically one-year, compared to the standard two-year MBA in the US. 

Taking advantage of everything an MBA in France has to offer

Armed with an urge to blend her science background with the business world, Nasheed has joined the HEC Paris MBA ready for a challenge.

As a neuroscientist, she says she brings transferrable skills into the program such as a deep understanding of human cognition. Meanwhile, from her experience as a physician, she knows how to develop a rapport with those from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

However, she admits she entered the MBA in France lacking knowledge in business areas such as economics and finance.

“Courses such as corporate finance and financial marketing have been really helpful for developing fundamental business skills—even if I have to work a lot harder than others with a business background!” she says.  

So far, she’s been leveraging her health sciences background when working on a practical project that involved working with a biotech consultancy. 

Other MBA projects have included helping NGOs with their marketing potential.

“Both these projects have enabled me to develop close ties with students from across the world.”

MBA programs in Europe are often vastly diverse. In the HEC Paris MBA Class of 2022, for example, the cohort was comprised of 92% international students.

Building a network in the HEC Paris MBA

If you assumed that business school was all about studying, you’d be mistaken.

MBA programs are just as much about socializing and getting to know new people as they are about gaining business knowledge.

Nasheed says one of her stand-out experiences on the HEC Paris MBA program has been joining The Executive Committee on Campus (TEC). 

TEC is a development program that helps a select group of MBA students grow their leadership capabilities. Through the business school network, Nasheed has had access to a mentor and connected with high-level CEOs and executives, who are on hand to speak to the MBAs about their professional experiences.

MBA students also can visit the HEC alumni house, which hosts alumni events or simply offers students a place to hang out together.  

Looking to the future after an MBA in France

Nasheed isn’t looking to drop her passion for academia any time soon. She is, however, excited to use her MBA to pivot into working in strategy for an NGO or designing system level solutions for global health problems within a social impact consulting role.

Nasheed’s future is yet to be firmly decided, and this is something she relishes.

“One of the most valuable things the MBA has taught me is to stay open to new possibilities and new directions,” she says.

Nasheed proves that the path to a successful MBA career does not have to be linear. Whatever your career experiences, there’s always space in the business world to make your mark and utilize your unique skills.

“Be confident that things will work out,” she advises future business school students, “joining an MBA has been one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.”

Student Reviews

HEC Paris




On Campus

Cultural experience

I have met the most competent and diverse batch in this school. These people not only thrive on their own but also makes sure that you are doing it with them. The professors will take your had and walk you through all milestones and make sure you are not left behind. I have found their extracurriculars extremely engaging. There was always a room to have social life after academic life. The only hindrance is the location of the school, it is slightly outside city and living in city is expensive.




On Campus

Internationality and diversity of opportunities

About my programme I would say it is very international and flexible: we have the opportunity to choose exactly the courses we want. But at the same time, the frame of the campus is crucial in students' life and enable us to create friendships.




On Campus

Great selection of people

While HEC's MBA is highly selective, I really enjoy the type of people HEC's selects to make sure everybody gets the best out of their MBA experience and networking opportunities. Not only it's an incredibly diverse pool of people (~60 nationalities) but most importantly they make sure to let in friendly empathic and curious people.





Best in France for Grande ecole

A prestigious business school. Languages ​​are important. It is better to have a scientific baccalaureate with excellent grades in high school and good assessments. The courses are well designed as per the latest trends and practicality of learning in stressed upon. Overall, a very good experience.




On Campus

Diversity and quality of fellow students

Very international and interesting place to be and opens a lot of opportunities, however the administration is very french and facilities are subpar (gym, classrooms) meaning the academic affairs is pretty much useless and lastly we are graded on a curve which can create a toxic environment because of the competition. With that being said the pros outweighs the cons by far.




On Campus

The quality of the teachers, the campus, the clubs

The school is very international indeed, we have courses with international students and share things with them within the extra academic life (in the social clubs especially). We have great career prospects if we prepare ourselves well - however, the global curriculum is still very finance-oriented, which is a pity for other interesting domains of the company world, which does not rely on finance only. The social clubs are good practice for the management and for now, are quite independent.




On Campus

HEC Paris awaits you

HEC Paris is really a nice place to do a master's in business. Many classes are useful and interesting (corporate finance, financial accounting, contract law…), some are less - but the curriculum is to be reviewed in the year to come. Regarding the student life, it is incredible, with about 130 clubs, lots of great parties with even greater people. The Jouy campus offers a lot of opportunities to do sports, and you can breathe fresh air every day. HEC also helps a great deal to find an internship or a job.





A dream institute

Enrolling in the HEC MBA was by far the best decision I made for myself. The people and faculty are great, with lots of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons. Very nice campus where I have had some good running sessions. The alumni network is superb and very helpful. It also has a good support system for entrepreneurs. Would definitely recommend it!




On Campus

Good choice for a career boost

The classes were extremely practical and relevant to the current challenges that businesses are facing. You have access to a wide range of professionals and good career prospects once you leave the university.

Related Content: