Participants join the HEC Paris MBA Program to change their lives and transform their careers. It could be to level up their skillset, or to perform an epic MBA triple jump (sector, location, and role change), but all are looking for meaning and purpose in their professional lives that is unique to their own path. We explore different sectors that attract our participants and how HEC Paris gives students the tools and resources to contribute to their success.
What is Consulting?
Consulting attracts all kinds of profiles but is not for everyone. The hours are long, the work itself demanding, and consultants change industries and clients often. For those who thrive on action and a fast-paced environment, and who enjoy thinking creatively to solve complex problems, it provides an exciting potential career path.
HEC Talents, the Career Center at HEC
In the HEC Paris MBA, students have a structured career curriculum provided by HEC Talents, our career center. This includes an endless rotation of workshops, coaching sessions, and corporate events. Students are also assigned a Career Coach based on their career goals.
With introductory workshops like “First Steps in Consulting” and “Careers in Consulting”, students can assess whether consulting is a good fit. These workshops not only offer the basics like tips for tailoring CVs and interview preparation, but also cover market trends and best practices for students to connect and network with consulting firms. Alumni guest speakers also attend these workshops to share their personal experiences in the field.
HEC Talents offers Case Cracking workshops at Beginner, Advanced and Expert levels for any interested MBA participants. Our MBA students also have a host of tools and resources to fine tune their interviewing skills. The interview bootcamps, which are co-organized with the MBA Consulting club, are opportunities to get critical feedback from peers, career coaches and industry experts.
All this insider information and practice is invaluable when the recruiters come to call at HEC Paris.
HEC Talents has close connections to the corporate world, organizing 12 career fairs and MBA stand-alone presentations throughout the year to connect students directly to recruiters. The International Consulting Fair, which takes place in the fall, is a must for those interested in consulting, while MBA-specific events like the MBA Career Week and MBA Internship Day are also favorites for recruiters looking to target experienced talent profiles. In the HEC Paris MBA, participants have endless opportunities to interact with top consulting firms like Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, Kearney, Strategy &, Monitor Deloitte and many more.
Support from Peers
“I love my cohort and you can see the support that you have from your peers at HEC. Although we may be applying to the same companies, there is no competition – everyone is helping each other to succeed.”
Students in the MBA support one another, and intakes form deep bonds. Clubs provide a space for students with similar interests to share expertise, learn new skills and network together, and the Consulting Club is a good example of this.
“I love my cohort and you can see the support that you have from your peers at HEC,” says Dany Saadé, MBA ’23, who led the Consulting Club in 2022. “Although we may be applying to the same companies, there is no competition – everyone is helping each other to succeed.”
In fact, Dany, who landed his job very early in his time at HEC, ran for club president because he wanted to give back. “After I secured the job at Bain, I told myself I would dedicate my time to other people, helping them succeed in reaching their dream. Because for me, going into consulting at Bain Dubai was my dream.”
As Consulting Club president, Dany continued to strengthen the relationship between the club and the HEC Talents career center, helping to organize the case-cracking marathons. Dany gets excited when he talks about the marathons, how a few students worked hard to compile feedback to share and help the whole group improve. Part of the marathon involved representatives from McKinsey, Bain and BCG all coming and dedicating time to answering questions. HEC alumni, who are a pillar in the community, were available to talk with current students about their own experiences as well.
Networking and Exposure
“There is a real need for talent and companies are competing for top talent, so it is a great time to be going into consulting.”
In addition to being on the ground at HEC Talents career events, the Consulting Club also takes the initiative, creating ways for its members to interface with professionals around the world.
MBA Trek Week is a great example. Trek Week takes place in April and is a time clubs can use to organize events specific to their agenda and industry. This year, the Consulting Club planned an exciting trek to Dubai. More than 20 MBA participants (50% women!) are visiting top consulting firms in the city, says Arindam Sharma, a coordinator of the trip. “It’s a great opportunity for us to understand the consulting landscape in Dubai.”
As the need for consulting talent grows in the Middle East, this in-person experience is also a way for students to see if life in the region is a good fit for them. “There is a real need for talent and companies are competing for top talent, so it is a great time to be going into consulting,” says Kristin Young, Employer Engagement Manager with HEC Talents.
Diversity in Consulting
Consulting firms recruiting at HEC have a diverse group to choose from. With a 96% international collective profile, the students hail from a wide variety not only of countries but also sectors. Everyone’s journey here is unique, and unlike other MBA programs, not everyone comes in with a clear-cut idea of ‘what happens next’. There is a lot of exploration possible.
As the number of women in the HEC Paris MBA program grows, so too does their presence in the consulting events. Dany notes that there are more and more women joining the club. Consulting is historically a male-dominated field, and more consulting firms are keen to create increased flexibility for work-life balance in order to attract more diverse profiles and to encourage women in particular to bring their expertise to the table.
Customizable, Values-Focused Program
“Be the mastermind behind your MBA. Go seek opportunities. Tailor your program. The opportunities are here. Go get them.”
When Dany was making the choice of which MBA program to join, he says he was drawn by HEC’s focus on values. “There’s a lot of emphasis on ESG (environmental, social and governance) ethics,” he says. It isn’t an MBA solely focused on shaping consultants, but rather, leaders. In classes with Professor Valerie Gauthier, Dany says students are asked to reflect on what they want for their lives in the long term. “I think if you want to succeed in life, you have to really enjoy what you’re doing – not just feeling the pressure to end up as a consultant. You can discover a whole different world.”
At HEC, says Dany, the customizable aspects of the MBA are a huge draw. Participants can really match their MBA to their goals. “My advice to anyone who’s joining us is to be proactive. Be the mastermind behind your MBA. Go seek opportunities. Tailor your program. The opportunities are here. Go get them.”
In the HEC Paris MBA, participants have endless opportunities to interact with top consulting firms. With representatives frequently on campus, events organized by the Consulting Club and hands-on experience provided alongside the HEC Talents career center, students have the advantage of finding out if consulting is right for them.