Leaving her Mark as HEC Paris MBA Council President

Anna Pozniakoff's mom made her promise that during the MBA, she'd focus only on herself, her pregnancy, and her post-MBA career. Then she had the opportunity to become the MBA Council President - and she ran with it.

Anna Pozniakoff’s tenure as MBA Council President has been nothing short of groundbreaking. Not only has she and her team greatly increased the synergies between the school’s various degree programs, she’s also the first woman in the five-decade history of the HEC Paris MBA to hold the position while pregnant. Her six-month presidential mandate officially ends June 30, she wraps up Term-2 exams two days later, and then, in a few short weeks, her baby is due.

She said this about her time in office:

“We hear a lot from companies about diversity and women’s empowerment, but I think gestures speak so much louder than words. The fact that my team–and my classmates–trusted me to be President even though I was pregnant says a lot about HEC Paris and the mindset and spirit of the MBA program.


Anna (right) and her team complete one of the MBA’s Leadership Seminar exercises under the observation of a mentor

“The three first months of my pregnancy were very tough. I was very sick, and I lost a lot of weight. At the same time, I had exams, and I was running the campaign for MBA Council. No one questioned anything. They know that I’m organized, so they never questioned if I could do the job.

“That’s going to be one of my biggest takeaways from my time here at the HEC Paris MBA. It is not because you are pregnant, or because you are a woman, or, I don’t know…because you come from a certain country or a certain background that someone is going to say that you can’t do something. It’s one of the ways that HEC is incredibly open.

“I didn’t come to the HEC Paris MBA saying that I wanted to be the next Council President. I actually promised my mom that I wouldn’t do anything extra besides look for internships and my post-MBA job. Then I ended up getting involved in the council, and then they voted me in as President. And I had to tell my mom ‘I’m sorry’. She really wanted me to focus on me, but when you are in an ecosystem like this, opportunities arrive, and you have to embrace them.

“I think that with COVID, the MBA Council was able to achieve a lot. We got a large number of in-person classes, and we empowered the clubs to leverage more of the entire HEC ecosystem. The Clubs hosted so many incredible speakers these last six months. There were so many more events held across programs. I think my team took everything one step forward. That is exactly what you want to do in the role of MBA Council President.”

–Anna Pozniakoff, MBA ’22, French and Swiss, September ’20 intake

Read more stories about women in the HEC Paris MBA, including three alumnae who are now Tech CEOS, and the work of the latest board members of our Women in Leadership Club.