A “Magic” Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2023

This year, 294 MBAs graduated in a celebration that members of the HEC community will remember for a long time. In the growing heat of early summer, participants gathered on our 340 acre campus to celebrate alongside their fellow graduates, family members, friends, and HEC professors and staff. Coming in from all over the world (the Class of 2023 is made up of 67 nationalities), classmates greeted each other warmly and caught up on the latest as they helped adjust each other’s caps for a photo op with Dean Kristine De Valck.

a group of MBA students at graduation

MBA students from the Class of 2023

“During the pivotal 16 months of my MBA, I have forged lifelong friendships, learned valuable lessons, and realigned myself to my purpose. As I join my classmates in a journey to change the world for the better, I am deeply grateful for what HEC Paris has given me – a truly transformative and inspiring experience.” – Shahrukh Ikhtear, ’23

Our MBAs are here to transform, and the 16 months are designed to help them do just that. Students attend classes and leadership seminars that force them to reflect deeply on their path in ways they may never have done before. And, as 2023 graduate speaker Anna Dragina reminded the crowd gathered under the tent, she and her fellow classmates have certainly been challenged during their time here, both by design, and in ways more personal to each individual’s journey. But no one is alone. “The value of (an HEC education) is not only knowledge, access to better job prospects or networking. It is also in the community you build throughout your time here.” Guest speaker Sophie Bellon, CEO of Sodexo, also spoke about facing challenges, and the need to reinvent as we move ahead. 

Student giving a speech at graduation

2023 MBA graduate Anna Dragina, speaking to her classmates during the ceremony

Participants in the HEC Paris MBA recognize the ways the program impacts their outlook, and they attribute this just as much to their dynamic professors as they do their multicultural peers. With students from so many countries, the exposure to other cultures is inevitable and invaluable. From dissecting business practices in class, to cooking together and sharing a traditional meal in common housing on campus, there are endless opportunities to learn how to work within a diverse group. It’s an experience none are quick to forget, and our vast network of over 70,000 alumni in 152 countries demonstrates that lifelong bonds are formed here at HEC. 

Students at the HEC MBA graduation ceremony

MBA student hosts Marcelina Tobar and Thandiwe Mkhetshane

“Today, I am a more confident individual, surrounded by an incredible network of friends from around the world who continuously uplift and support me.” – Marcelina Tobar, ’23

With their families and peers at their side, Graduates of the Class of 2023 were sent off in style: the ceremony was skillfully co-hosted by two MBAs, Marcelina Tobar and Thandiwe Mkhetshane, and concluded with a thrilling (and unexpected) two-song concert by the band Magic System from Cote d’Ivoire. Lead singer Salif Traoré, having himself just graduated from the Global Executive Master in Management program, sang to the crowd in his cap and gown, and the tent went wild dancing and singing along. It was a graduation ceremony that will not soon be forgotten!

Congratulations again to the entire Class of 2023 for successfully completing your MBA! We know we will see you again on campus and around the world very soon.


Watch the ceremony here!