When Karan Jain enrolled at HEC Paris, he was keen to switch careers from luxury watches to the technology sector. He’s now well into his MBA job at Uber, joining the firm as a project manager in October 2019. The HEC Paris MBA was the catalyst for his career progression.
Why MBA: HEC Paris
Karan spent more than four years marketing luxury watches before the MBA. His first role was as Breitling’s director for India and South Asia, a career choice he made because the company is renowned for making watches for pilots, and aviation is his absolute passion.
From Breitling he moved to Perrelet as a regional manager for South Asia and the Middle East. All this time though he’d had no formal business education, and that’s why an MBA piqued his interest.
Karan was also keen to shift his career in a fresh direction, towards technology and innovation. The luxury watch sector is quite sedate, he explains, and he wanted to work in a more agile, fast-paced environment.
He chose HEC Paris for four reasons. The reputation the school had in Europe impressed him, the 16-month program was more attractive than the traditional two-year programs in the US, and the jobs he saw graduates landing were very appealing.
“Finally,” he adds, “the price to performance ratio beat everyone else hands down.”
MBA Jobs: Launching a career with UBER
It was at the start of his fall semester in 2018 that Karan began to target the big tech companies.
He spoke to Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, but it was during a company presentation that another company truly impressed him. Uber came to the HEC Paris campus and gave students the chance to speak with recruiters and MBA alumni who were employed by the firm.
“Their presentation on campus was eye catching,” Karan says. “Then I spoke to the recruiter and he and I clicked.
“A few weeks later I received a message from him to say there were a few roles available with Uber in Amsterdam that might be interesting.”
That began the formal interview process, and Karan was successful. He joined the firm in October 2019 as a project manager, and says the opportunity fits seamlessly with what he learned during the MBA.
“When you’re in the HEC Paris MBA, you’re exposed to so much in terms of innovation and digital transformation. Opportunities where you can apply those skills become really interesting.
“I specialized in digital innovation at HEC Paris, so for me it was the perfect way to use my skills to build something creative.”
How the HEC Paris MBA prepares students for the tech sector
The big tech companies operate globally and for that reason MBA graduates entering these firms need exposure to diversity, and need to know how to navigate cultural differences. Karan explains that the international classroom at the HEC Paris MBA is “absolutely critical” in preparing students for global careers post-graduation.
The current MBA class of 2021 is 94% international and consists of 50 nationalities. With that mix in the classroom, Karan says that spirited debate is a constant. Students learn to assimilate multiple perspectives that they may not have considered before.
“It leads you to being more open and willing to absorb information from different sources, and that makes you more well-rounded overall.
“At HEC Paris, a lot of emphasis goes into collaboration. We’re broken up into groups at the beginning of each semester. The group work fosters a lot of communication and collaboration, because if you don’t communicate well, you really don’t do well.”
Karan adds the key skills he developed and is now using at Uber are project management, problem solving, and soft skills like interpersonal communication and quick decision making.
He was elected President of the MBA Council during the degree program, which helped him refine his leadership and stakeholder management skills, all of which help him in his current role.
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!