Women’s Wednesdays Bring a Strong Sense of Community

From a spontaneous beginning of four female students sharing a table together, Women's Wednesdays have evolved into a weekly opportunity to meet new people, ask questions and voice opinions in a fun and supportive environment

The HEC Paris MBA provides many different interactive experiences and networking opportunities. From clubs mixers and parties to simulations and seminars, there are many ways to meet new people and have a good time across campus. However, for me, one of the most rewarding experiences has been created by students almost by chance: Women’s Wednesday (WW).

It was on a Wednesday evening at the end of our first month in France that four of us ended up sharing a table at Gustave, a cozy restaurant on campus. We were Ava Gurekian, Tamar Forman-Gejrot, Vernice Arahan and myself (Nicole Zandoná). In a mixture of excitement from beginning our first MBA simulation (NegoSim) and happiness from meeting so many incredible peers, we started to talk about our MBA experience and the importance of female bonding throughout our lives and careers. We collectively had an idea: why not create a weekly meet-up for the women in the MBA to interact and share their thoughts and experiences?

“It’s always been important to create environments where I feel 100% comfortable voicing my thoughts and opinions,” says Tamar Forman-Gejrot, MBA ’23

We decided to spread the idea to the other females in our intake. Wednesdays would be our weekly evening to have a friendly getaway from assignments and career development. As the term progressed, more women started joining in. The motto of Women’s Wednesdays soon became, “feel free to join when you are available and bring a friend (or add them to the WhatsApp group)”.

Since the campus always has so many different events and activities happening, different women join the dinner each week. This makes it a unique experience every time—there’s always the opportunity to meet new people. From new apps to discover, birthdays to celebrate, and class topics to discuss, WW has become a very democratic place for all of us to speak freely about whatever topic we feel like discussing that night.

More than dinner and meetings on Wednesday, the group also presents itself as a safe place to start discussions and ask questions regarding the program and life in France. It remains a space to meet amazing new women. In a cohort so diverse, having the opportunity to talk with women from so many different countries, backgrounds, and experiences makes this experience extremely rewarding.

To join, just meet at Gustave next Wednesday at 7 pm to relax and have some friendly discussions and make the MBA experience even more rewarding

Our goal is to create an environment of trust and a sense of community that benefits all the female MBA students. As one of the co-founders of this initiative, Tamar Forman-Gejrot says: “To me, it’s always been important to create environments where I feel 100% comfortable voicing my thoughts and opinions. Over the years, small groups of women who are in similar places in their careers have become that space for me. WW gives me a dedicated time and place each week to share any bottled-up frustrations and emotions and be met with understanding and empathy.”

This year, new faces starting to show up in the meetings: the January 2022 intake, who recently joined the program. From dinners at Gustave to important tips and advice on the WhatsApp group chat, WW has become a small community within HEC that currently encompasses 85 powerful women. If you want to join us, just meet us at Gustave next Wednesday at 7 pm to relax and have some friendly discussions and make the MBA experience even more rewarding.

Join our three-part webinar series, “Spotlight on Diversity,” to learn more about the various clubs, events, and diversity & inclusion initiatives at HEC Paris. Opportunities and advantages for women doing an MBA will be part of our discussion with our Women in Leadership Club on March 8, International Women’s Day.

Text by Nicole Ferro Zandoná, MBA '23

Nicole Ferro ZandonaNicole Ferro Zandoná (MBA’23) is a project manager and product development specialist with experience in both digital and industrial products. She began her career in innovation and project management, and has developed many projects within different companies and sectors, spending her last 5 years in tech, developing new digital solutions for agribusiness. With over 8 years of work experience prior to the MBA, Nicole decided to come to HEC Paris to strengthen her business skills, seeking to reach higher goals in her career in product management. Nicole holds the role of Senior VP in the Marketing Club, VP of Events in Digital Transformation Club, and participates in the MBA’s Ambassador Program.