Our recent batch of TEC participants, with TEC co-chairs Bernard Bismuth and Thierry Voiriot (center) and Annika pictured in the front row, right

CEOs, Peer Coaching and Defining Success: TEC at HEC Paris

The Executive Committee on Campus (TEC) is a unique leadership-development program open to 24 MBA participants (two groups of 12 students) per intake . Students come together in a confidential environment to define their personal and professional objectives for the future. Because of TEC’s confidential nature, it’s hard for students to know if they should apply to the program. As a result, we asked TEC participant Annika Friesen, MBA ’21, to write about her experience.

Annika’s takeaways:

When I received the email inviting all students to apply for TEC, I was not immediately certain as to what the leadership program was or what I would get out of it. Now, looking back on my experience, I highly encourage HEC Paris MBA students to apply for this rich opportunity.

What is TEC?

For an outsider looking in, it can seem abstract in terms of what the program actually entails. Once accepted into TEC, the schedule includes these monthly interactions (during a six-month period):

  • One-on-one meetings with your TEC leader

    These not only give the TEC leader a chance to get to know you and your story better, these meetings also give you, as the participant, an opportunity to bounce ideas, assess what is important, and get insight from someone who has lived it. Much of the time the topics for the one-on-ones are up to the participant. Many people take this opportunity to discuss things that they are going through during the MBA, such as a decision between being an entrepreneur or working corporately post-MBA, or how to successfully find balance between work and home life.

  • Group sessions with peer coaching

    The group sessions incorporate individual presentations from each of the TEC participants to share his/her story or thoughts on a particular topic. Some might call this ‘group therapy’ but I saw this as an opportunity to have peer coaching from accomplished classmates coming from all walks of life. I remember the first couple weeks in the MBA program, and how I was completely blown away by everyone’s previous careers and their stories of how they came to HEC Paris. This group session is an intimate setting full of trust. You can open up and get constructive feedback to implement into your personal and professional life.

  • Executive level speakers

    Held on the same days as the group sessions, the speaker events give TEC members the unique opportunity to hear from some incredible industry leaders. Participants can ask the speakers in-depth questions about their lives and careers such as: Why did you make a particular decision? What would you have done differently? What is your advice to us as we prepare to re-enter the job market?

TEC participants at the hotel next to campus

TEC groups are limited to 12 students, with 2 groups per MBA intake

Why is TEC Confidential?

Applicants know that TEC participants must fully commit to the program’s schedule and must maintain the utmost confidentiality. While it may sound serious and extreme, the foundation of the program is based on giving as much as you receive and feeling mutual trust in the group. Without this commitment to the program and confidentially within it, TEC participants would not be fully able to open up and get the feedback and/or advice that will make the difference for them.

What did I gain from TEC?

Being a member of TEC was a multifaceted experience. During every single session, I found myself taking notes and being prompted to dig deeper and push myself out of my comfort zone. My main takeaways from TEC are that we are all continually on the road of self-improvement and searching for success. It critical that we live by our own definition of success. We always need to remember to take a chance on ourselves, trust that we are not the only ones going through hardship, and remember that we have many people rallying behind us, including our family, friends and the TEC community.

Is TEC for You?

The key to a successful TEC group is that all participants are willing to give as much as they want to receive from the program. As a participant, you must be equally open to sharing your stories and perspectives as giving and receiving feedback to/from your peers. The TEC program is a substantial commitment on top of regularly scheduled MBA classes and other extra-curricular opportunities. It requires your commitment in attending sessions and putting in the effort. TEC is not a passive experience, but it is one that will have a positive impact on the rest of your life.

For more information, read about a recent meeting in which TEC alumni shared “what I wish I’d known when I was studying at HEC Paris” with current students.

Text by Annika Friesen, MBA '21

Annika FriesenAnnika Friesen (MBA ’21) began her career in Canada in public accounting with KPMG where she achieved her Chartered Accounting designation (CPA, CA). While at KPMG Annika had the opportunity to serve clients both internally and externally in the assurance and advisory practices and within a global role in KPMG international as a project manager. After KPMG, Annika worked in business development for a regional, professional recruitment firm. With over 7 years of experience prior to the MBA, Annika decided to come to HEC Paris to draw together her past experiences and pursue a career in business strategy. Annika holds the role of VP Wines & Spirits for the HEC Paris Retail & Luxury Club as well as the Social Media Coordinator for the MBA’s Ambassador program.