Don’t worry if you can’t sing or kick a ball either. From science clubs to sustainability, there’s endless opportunities for everyone to get involved. You’ll make friends, gain new skills, and, of course, have fun—all the while escaping from the routine humdrum.
Even better, sometimes the best lessons really are learned outside of the classroom. For those who prefer a more active learning experience, MBA student clubs provide a break from the books while honing some of your core business soft skills.
So, what are the key benefits of joining a student club?
1. Pursue your passion
No doubt you’re already passionate about your business degree—it’s why you spend all those long evenings at your desk with a fifth cup of coffee, after all. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also lean into other more artistic interests.
Take Bernice Lee (pictured right), who flew over 4,000 miles from Canada to study an MBA in one of Europe’s most famous fashion capitals at HEC Paris.
“Before I even applied for the program, I had contacted the current president at the time at the Luxury and Retail Club,” she says.
Though she was already aware that HEC—home to the Financial Times top 20 MBA program—had strong links with the fashion and luxury industry, Bernice wanted to take her degree a step further.
At HEC, she successfully grew to become the Luxury and Retail Club president, where she worked overtime to organize events oriented in the ultra-chic world of French fashion.
Now living her ‘Emily in Paris’ dream of working as a merchandiser for the legendary French fashion house Chloé, Bernice says, “[The club] offered the chance to pursue what I wanted.”
For those who aren’t as interested in pursuing a fashion career, HEC also offers other clubs in specialist areas such as data science, real estate, and fintech.
2. Make industry contacts
Though you might feel your business talents should be obvious based on your resume alone, the sad truth is that if no one knows who you are, they’re unlikely to just take you on your word that you were the best debate club leader at your local high school.
You need to be able to sell it to them in person. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be done through formal networking events, or tedious icebreakers.
At HEC Paris, many student clubs organize a trek week, where they spend several days liaising with a range of companies, attending conferences, workshops, and activities.
“We did our trek week in Paris,” Bernice says. “We had all the big companies there, such as Chanel and LVMH.”
Aside from getting to talk to big name brands, the school’s strong alumni network means that clubs also provide a great place to make connections with former students.
“We had mentoring from previous MBA candidates who now work in the industry,” Bernice explains. “They tell you about their experiences and how they got there.”
3. Become a better business leader
While most business school degrees already teach leadership skills, getting involved in clubs can be a great way to put theory into practice.
When Ava Gurekian (pictured left) left her successful healthcare consulting job in the US to pursue the HEC Paris MBA, she already had seven years of managerial experience under her belt.
However, she credits a lot of what she learned on her program to her time spent as the Healthcare Club leader.
“You need to have the drive and connections to get it moving, and also the willingness to engage with people,” Ava explains.
As club president, she used her creativity and people management skills to organize virtual “fireside chats”, allowing students and industry leaders to connect on a more intimate level.
Now global business director for biotech company BD, Ava regularly draws on skills she picked up as a member of the club, such as problem solving and teamwork.
4. Find a community
For marginalized communities, finding likeminded souls at school can seem like a daunting task. That’s why Ava made it her priority to get involved with the Women in Leadership Club.
“Having come from consulting, and going into pharma and medical technology, it's not a surprise to anybody that these are male dominated industries,” Ava says.
Though far from a population minority, in the often testosterone-driven world of business, women can unfortunately be made to feel like one. According to a 2023 survey by top consulting firm McKinsey & Co, for every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, just 87 women were promoted.
As the club’s ambassador, Ava was determined to create a more supportive community.
“We created what we would call Women Wednesdays,” she explains. “We had dinner one day, and we spoke in length about topics such as harassment in the workplace and challenges that we all face. It became a regular activity.”
At HEC Paris, there are also several other societies that are set up to create a safe space for different communities, including the LGBTQI+ Allies Club and the Africa Club.
Joining a student club provides more than just wine-tasting and movie nights—it can also be one of the best ways to propel your business career.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!