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How HEC Paris MBAs Are Preparing For Consulting Careers With Firms Like Bain, BCG, & McKinsey

Consulting is one of the most popular career choices for HEC Paris MBAs; a new student-led consulting practice is teaching them the ropes


Fri Apr 5 2019

It’s little surprise that many MBAs flock to management consulting careers after graduating. In addition to an average salary of over $140,000 commanded at the big three consulting firms—McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company—students also get the chance to put all their MBA skills to the test, with multiple projects and myriad clients.

24% of the HEC Paris MBA class of 2018 entered consulting after graduating, the most popular career destination for that year’s grads—financial services claimed second (18%), and technology third (17%).

Top MBA recruiters from HEC Paris include the big three, alongside Monitor Deloitte, Accenture, and A.T. Kearney.

When it comes to careers, the HEC Paris MBA is seen as a titan of career transformation. 73% of students change sector, 72% change function, and 61% change location—almost 40% complete the fabled ‘triple jump’ and switch all three.

The HEC Paris student-led consulting practice

Harsha Singhraj is the founder and outgoing president of the HEC Consulting Practice, a student-led professional consulting organization run out HEC Paris.

Harsha, who graduated as an engineer in 2008 and had six years’ experience as a strategy consultant and 3 years’ experience in advanced analytics consulting before the MBA, says he set up the consultancy to give students the opportunity for more real-life project work, create tangible business impact, and prepare them for consulting careers.

The HEC Consulting Practice works with numerous clients in Europe that need support with their business strategy, digital transformation, or global expansion. They meet with the client to understand the issue at hand, develop a solution approach, and then build a project team with diversely skilled MBA students. This project team works collaboratively with the client to develop and implement a solution that accomplishes the client’s objectives.

Harsha (pictured below, right) explains that the project teams also tap into the expertise of HEC Paris’ faculty, working closely with professors in a related field, to benefit from extensive expertise and cutting-edge research.

hec paris mba harsha

“We have to make sure that these [solutions] are repeatable and sustainable,” Harsha says. “Five years down the line they should still have the same quality.”

He recalls working with a company in Paris from the electronics industry. The client had a problem leveraging the power of technology in the right way, to be more productive, efficient, and adaptive. That’s something Harsha says many companies seem to struggle with.

“Several companies we have spoken with are not getting the kind of organizational impact they seek, despite adopting new technologies,” he asserts.

Harsha explains that through his consulting experience he has seen strong synergies at the intersection of business and technology, and this is where he believes innovation and the next wave of growth will come from—creating value for businesses at this intersection is where he would like to be.

“I saw that the way companies were making decisions was changing,” he explains. “In the age of artificial intelligence, it’s not just about people making data-driven decisions anymore, it’s about transforming the way decisions are made.”

Benefits for HEC Paris MBAs?

Harsha explains that students who work on projects with the HEC Consulting Practice learn a lot from their diversely experienced peers, develop a strong set of soft skills by working closely with clients, and get a strong sense of accomplishment from delivering tangible results to the business community.

“I think it’s tremendously impactful,” he says. “Consulting is a great exercise in analytical problem solving, structured thinking, understanding of a clients’ explicit and implicit needs, and extensive collaboration—all of which are highly transferable.

“No matter if you’re a consultant, a product manager at a technology company, or a business unit leader, you still need to have those skills.”

Mathieu Viel, the incoming president of the HEC Consulting Practice, says that the diverse set of skills consultants develop is what drew him to the industry.

“My MBA is only half of what business is, and how to improve [it],” he says. “I think consulting is one of the most diverse activities you can do after an MBA, as you apply everything you’ve learned to different sectors, companies, problems, and situations.”

Mathieu (pictured below, right), who had six years’ experience in computer science before the MBA, thinks the Practice is the perfect way to apply your skills during the program.

He believes his presidency will be successful as he is able to bring people together in small, successful teams. “We’re looking for projects where we can help companies by leveraging the backgrounds of the people on the MBA,” he says.

hec paris mba mathieu

“MBA students at HEC Paris are very diverse and young compared to the overall global workforce, therefore we think we are a powerful asset for companies looking for a boost. We definitely think we can help companies with internationalization and digitization.”

And his message extends to everyone on the HEC Paris MBA, echoing Harsha’s sentiments.

Even if you’re not in consulting, all graduates will at some point have to work on specific projects with tight deadlines. What they need to thrive is a specific type of mindset, he explains.

“We want them to understand that the HEC Consulting Practice is to help them succeed in their future career.”

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.

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