1969-2019: The HEC Paris MBA Celebrates its First 50 Years

A Message from Associate Dean Andrea Masini

For the past 50 years, the HEC Paris MBA has paved the way for students to transform their lives and pursue careers at every corner of the globe. Along the way, many of the program’s graduates have substantially influenced the business world. Entrepreneurs such as Cécile Villette and Matthew Hart, innovators such as Rowland Marshall and Ashley Lewis, and CEOs such as Pascal Cagni, Jean Hornain and Olivier Sevillia illustrate the success of our program. There are many reasons why we are considered one of the top business schools in Europe, and our alumni are a major part of it.

HEC Paris MBA Associate Dean Andrea Masini

HEC Paris MBA Associate Dean Andrea Masini

Yet, as good as the last five decades have been, the HEC Paris MBA is still growing stronger. When HEC Paris first envisioned adding an MBA to its degree offerings back in 1969, the program was “to have the defining characteristics of American business schools, adapted to the French culture.” Back then, the program was taught in French and attracted primarily French students. Fifty years later, the HEC Paris MBA is proud to have a 93% international class, with participants from 52 different nationalities.

Our student body is filled with the world’s top achievers. Participants have joined the MBA program from Mongolia, Oman and Panama, to name just a few of the farthest-flung countries. Together, our 280 students form a highly motivated, collaborative, international community that mirrors the diversity of the global economy. We can be proud that among the 67,000 HEC Paris alumni spread across the globe, more than 4,000 of them are CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies.

Our candidate pool continues to grow, despite trying times that have seen some MBA programs experience declining applications. We bring together incredibly talented students, offer them a powerful and unique learning experience, and help them achieve their dreams. That explains why we are consistently ranked among the best MBA programs, having first broken into the Financial Times’ top 20 Global MBA Rankings in 2007.

We’ve reshaped management education and are continually revamping our curriculum to ensure we are providing our students with forward-thinking learning experiences. The HEC Paris MBA was one of the first programs in the world to offer a core course in Ethics & Sustainability. We also introduced case-based pedagogy to the traditional European learning model before most of our counterparts.

In addition, we’ve long offered our students innovative ways to learn leadership skills. Seminars such as Saint Cyr combine rigorous academic theory with learning-by-doing activities. A recent curriculum review saw the addition of a new specialization in Digital Transformation. Through a hands-on approach, participants are learning how digital innovation can create new business opportunities, disrupt industries and support the development of new and revolutionary business models.

We understand that a top MBA program can never rest on its laurels. So while 2019 is a milestone year for us, our focus remains on the future. We will continue as trailblazers only if we constantly challenge the status quo. We strive for nothing less than excellence in every learning experience that we offer, and in the teaching and research of every one of our 160 professors.

So, as we kick off the HEC Paris MBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, we plan to avoid looking backwards too much. Sure, we’ll allow ourselves a nostalgic moment or two, but we’re heading towards something much more ambitious: defining the cutting edge of business education for the next 50 years.