In a mere 12 months, the Arts, Media and Entertainment (AME) Club has become a star attraction of the HEC Paris MBA. When France went into lockdown last spring, the then newly formed club kept students’ spirits up – and got their blood pumping and taste buds jumping – with online dance classes and cooking shows.
Now the club is raising the curtain on its second act: going pro. Since officially switching status from a social to a professional club at the beginning of 2021, the year-old association has brought an A-list lineup of speakers to the HEC Paris MBA. Recent presenters include the VP of Operations for The Walt Disney Company, the VP of Finance at Sky Germany and Starzplay’s Content Insight Manager.
To learn more about what the group’s transformation means for MBA students, we talked with the club’s current President, Amandine Simoni, MBA ’22. Amandine started her career as a theater and musical performer in her home city of Paris, and most recently worked in digital marketing for several of São Paulo’s creative industries. She also became a star in her own right last December, when she successfully co-produced the HEC Paris MBA’s first-ever virtual Talent Show.
What’s behind your decision to change the status of the HEC Paris MBA’s AME Club to a professional organization?
Amandine: Our club addresses an industry that generates billions of dollars each year. It’s incredibly diverse, encompassing sectors that include music, film, TV, video games, publishing, streaming, and social media platforms, to name just a few.
Over the past few years, with the advent of digital media and now with the pandemic, the industry has embraced unprecedented opportunities for innovation. The club’s board members are seven HEC Paris MBA students – all with industry experience – who want to talk about this unique moment while sharing our passion for media and entertainment with our classmates. In particular, we want to show that the AME industry offers as many job opportunities as any other industry, including careers in finance, HR, operations, marketing, sales, law and even consulting. To achieve this mission, it was important for us to turn the club professional in order to host events with speakers from key companies.
How will the events that you organize reflect the change?
Amandine: We currently host three events per month, as wide-ranging as possible. To name just a couple of our February events, we welcomed the Head of International Media Expansion at Amazon Prime Video and organized a workshop with TrendWatching. That company introduced us to what’s trending for 2021 and led some fun exercises to unleash our creativity. Plus, we have so much more planned for the upcoming months!
Our board also understands the importance of organizing social and cultural events such as mixers and museum visits. We just hosted an hour-long guided virtual tour of the Louvre’s masterpieces. In-person events will happen once the French government relaxes its pandemic guidelines.
What value do you hope to bring to your fellow students?
Amandine: We really want MBA students to discover the industry and the professional opportunities it brings. The club hosts speakers willing share their knowledge and talk about new trends, who help us think out of the box and offer us a break from our daily routines. We hope our activities are a breath of fresh air for MBAs students who study and work very hard all week – and often all weekend – long!
What are you most excited about for the 6 months that you’ll be club president?
Amandine: I have a passion to meet and connect people. After only a few weeks as club president, I have already had the opportunity to work with and become friends with more people from my cohort, to meet J21 students, to reach out to a lot of professionals from the industry and to introduce them to the HEC Paris MBA so that everyone can learn from them.
Honestly, this is what is the most exciting for me!
We are also preparing a Trek Week for April, and working hard to make it memorable. I really want to thank Katharina Goetzeler, who works with me as Vice-President and Treasurer and who is a great professional from the film industry, as well as our other VPs: Yingshan Zhou, Ahmed Darwish and Rami Fleihan, and our advisors Igor Hueb and Raviv Sapir. We are all investing a lot of time in AME Club and are already seeing results from our efforts!