7 Tips for Making the Most out of your MBA

Getting an MBA is an adventure. It places you in the center of a community of some of the smartest and most inspiring people you’ll ever meet. FOMO will never be so real, as everywhere you turn there will be another chance to learn, to grow, to challenge yourself—and to have a whole lot of fun.

So how do you find your path among all the options that will present themselves during the next 16 months? We asked a few HEC Paris MBA students and alumni for advice. Here’s their top tips for making the most out of your MBA journey.


1. Set your Own Priorities

Roula Boustany shares her top tips for making the most out of your MBA program

Roula Boustany

My ultimate advice for making the most out of the MBA experience: set your own priorities. This is not like a bachelor’s degree where all the students have the same goals and share a common purpose. Do not compare yourself to others. I have not met a single person in the MBA who has the same goal as I do. This is fabulous!

By setting your own priorities, you will be able to choose among all the different opportunities presented by the HEC Paris MBA. You will know which student clubs you should be a part of or whether you should help organize the incredible MBA Tournament. If making a difference in students’ lives is for you, then the MBA Council is your choice. If you are incredibly proud of being part of the HEC community and enjoy sharing your experiences, then you’ll want to be an ambassador. There is something for everyone!

-Roula Boustany, September 2020 intake


2. Focus on your Career

Tarek Mezher shares his tips for making the most out of your MBA program

Tarek Mezher

The MBA is a very fast-paced journey that will have a huge impact on your life. It encompasses massive opportunities, and proper time management will be key. Fortunately, HEC Paris has tailored an MBA program that equips students with the academic courses, career advice, leadership lessons and networking opportunities needed to help you achieve your professional ambitions.

Still, there are times that the MBA experience can seem overwhelming. Along with being well organized, I suggest you keep focused on career advancement. I regularly attend recruitment events and keep in touch with the Career Center to learn about potential employers aligned with my career objectives. Having great career prospects simply cannot be achieved without networking.

Throughout my journey, I have attended many stand-alone company presentations and specific industry events organized by the Career Center, including the International Finance Fair and the Consulting Career Fair. These gave me the chance to network with great leaders in these industries — and I secured several interviews through them.

-Tarek Mezher, September 2020 intake


3. Network with Students and Alumni

An MBA gives you direct access to a group of highly talented, entrepreneurial individuals who value your experience and want to build a strong connection with you. This network is divided into two groups: your classmates and HEC alumni.

Your MBA classmates are the people accompanying you through this incredible journey. They are also your immediate and future professional network. Cultivate them: now is not the time to isolate yourself to achieve straight A’s in every subject. Are you meeting classmates who have actual experience in the business you want to get into? They are absolutely the best way to gain deep insights into that field.

Alumni represent your broader professional network. Through them, you can have direct access to senior positions in many organizations, plus gain mentorship and career advice.

Take the advantage of the “open door” effect: the alumni network is your first point of contact with the professional world. There is high probability that an alumna/alumnus will be keen to help—or even hire—a fellow MBA coming from the same school. MBA classmates and alumni can offer you better insights than any career coach about how to apply to a position, shape your CV or prepare for an interview.

-Stefano Caprara, MBA ’19, Manager PwC
For more of Stefano Caprara’s tips, read his story Three tips to navigate your MBA


4. Organize your MBA

Stefano Caprara shares his tips for making the most out of your MBA program

Stefano Caprara

Through your MBA, you have the tremendous opportunity of changing your life. You can pick a new career, choosing something you have never before dared to do. However, you’ll need to quickly set your priorities, rank them and organize your MBA accordingly. The MBA is a short experience in which you need to allocate your limited time and energy to a small number of objectives. Entering into consulting, joining a luxury maison, mastering a foreign language and getting a job where you’ll use that language are all examples of objectives that you can pursue if you work hard. First, you need to prioritize what is most important to you.

Ranking your objectives is essential to:Focus your efforts across the MBA and perform effective arbitrages between different activities (e.g. should I focus my attention on learning the language and culture of the country I want to live in, or should I pour more effort in cracking cases?) Remember, you have significant time constraints, and your resource allocation is the hardest task you’ll face.

Get the maximum exposure to different experiences and then start ranking your objectives. At the beginning of your MBA, take time to gain exposure to the highest number of different experiences through clubs, forums, dinners and drinks. That’ll help you assess your interests and career possibilities. Keep in mind that your time is precious, skip the activities you are not interested in, and dedicate all your energy to what is most important for you.

-Stefano Caprara, MBA ’19, Manager PwC
For more of Stefano Caprara’s tips, read his story published last year, Three tips to navigate your MBA


5. Expand your Horizons beyond the MBA

Omar Bin Ali

Omar Ali

My residence was in a building with mostly Grand Ecole students. In order to meet them, I hosted a housewarming for my neighbors, inviting them through the building’s Whatsapp group. It ended up opening me up to a whole new group of people I would not have typically met in the MBA program.

My advice to the incoming batch would be to not miss out on opportunities to socialize with all the different students on campus: along with MBAs, there’s Masters’ students, exchange students and doctorate students. I became friends with an aspiring singer seriously considering a full-time career as a vocalist, a Master’s in Sustainability student who also plans to earn a second masters in geology, and someone who speaks 10 languages and works for an NGO that helps translators. These are just a few examples of the incredibly interesting people I met by expanding my social life outside of the MBA. They, along with many of my fellow MBA students, are friends I plan to keep for life.

-Omar Ali, September 2020 MBA intake


6. You Can Do it All

The ultimate tip to make the most out of your MBA? Never assume that you do not have the energy within you!

Courses in the morning, lunch with your fellow club members, then a career workshop, followed by a meeting with your study group, an HEC-wide event later, drinks and traditional dinner with one of your classmates at night… When will you see your calendar empty? Probably not in the next 16 months.

But let me tell you one thing, you are going to love every second of it.

Therefore, my tip is to always push your energy limit and find ways to boost it. Find some time to do sports in the middle of the crazy MBA schedule, eat healthy–and eat croissants on the weekend!–and most importantly, laugh a lot (this one will be easy —you will meet lifelong friends who will make the entire experience even more memorable).

-Roula Boustany, September 2020 intake


7. Make Time for What Makes you Happy

Finally, my advice to all incoming students is to find a healthy way to relieve your stress, and then make time for it. Go jogging around the campus, spend some time by the lake, join an HEC-organized sport or use the Whatsapp group to organize regular football matches or other activities. Find your bliss—then make sure to do it regularly.

-Tarek Mezher, September 2020 intake