HEC MBA APPLICATION TIPS

Seventeen kilometres from the centre of Paris, the HEC Paris MBA is on a 340-acre, wooded campus with its own Chateau. While everyone would want to train their minds in the Paris-Saclay Innovation Cluster, (designed to unite France’s best research institutions, hi-tech businesses, startups, and universities), where HEC is located, getting into this 340-acre campus is even more difficult than moving mountain. Here we are to cut the mountain into stones so that it becomes easier for you to move them.

ESSAY 1: WHY ARE YOU APPLYING TO THE HEC MBA PROGRAM NOW? WHAT IS THE PROFESSIONAL OBJECTIVE THAT WILL GUIDE YOUR CAREER CHOICE AFTER YOUR MBA, AND HOW WILL THE HEC MBA CONTRIBUTE TO THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THIS OBJECTIVE? (500 MAX)

The one traditional question that you may get in most of the applications and so, let’s stick to the tried and tested theory of ‘connecting the experiential dots’. First and foremost, you need to answer all three parts of this question. The first “why now” is generally overlooked by applicants. Answer it by considering how this is the most right time for you (how you can gain maximum at this point by an MBA) to pursue an MBA, financially and professionally. The “professional objective” is your long term goal which you may tell by building a mini-story around your motivation to pursue it (do not overwrite, stick to the point). Then connect the narrative of this to your short-term goals and to HEC’s vision. For the latter part, you should do extensive research of the school and pick out some of its values to align them with yours, like, HEC Paris has a high number of CEOs in its alumni community and there is an entrepreneurial environment in the school. So, if you, too, are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or achieving a C-suite position, you may align it with HEC. For your short term goals, try to be concrete, like the industry you want to pursue, and the roles you want to undertake, but throughout the essay, be coherent and connect dots step-by-step. You can get a better understanding of framing this essay question here. 

ESSAY 2: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT LIFE ACHIEVEMENT? (250 MAX)

I may sum up my advice for this question in a sentence, CUT THE CRAP AND COME TO THE POINT. First, this is a short essay, so use direct sentences. Now, the most significant life achievement can be a very modest one, but the greater point is to understand your thought process and your values through this essay. Ponder on these questions:  What is one experience that you can call ‘significant life achievement’? Why do you think this is significant? How has this impacted your life? Remember, it can be professional or personal, but it definitely would say a lot about you. Like, if you say, you have clocked xxx revenue as your life achievement, it tells what things you value the most in your life, maybe money or maybe you need to get a life! But I am in no way saying you can not write it. You definitely can, but it should say something greater about you, like, how after this achievement you realized the importance of hard work and you imparted this learning in your life personally and professionally. Now, this says something valuable about you. So, significant life achievement should literally be significant.

ESSAY 3: LEADERSHIP AND ETHICS ARE INEVITABLY INTERTWINED IN THE BUSINESS WORLD. DESCRIBE A SITUATION IN WHICH YOU HAVE DEALT WITH THESE ISSUES AND HOW THEY HAVE INFLUENCED YOU. (250 MAX)

This is a very direct and specific question. You need to address two issues: Leadership and Ethics. So, most probably, this would be a situation when you were at a leadership position and faced some moral dilemma. You may need to dig a lot deeper to find an answer for this but once you do, it’s easy to craft it. Describe the situation, how you felt, what you did, and what you think should have been done, and finally the outcome of your action and your learnings out of it. Even if you have not done the ideal thing to do, it’s okay but your learnings should be valuable and you need to show evidence of how you imparted this learning in your later actions. But keep it short and up to the point.

ESSAY 4: IMAGINE A LIFE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE YOU NOW LEAD, WHAT WOULD IT BE? (250 MAX)

Remember the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter. Yes, you got it right! Think of it this way, imagine a mirror that shows an entirely different life that you would have been living, showing your deepest aspirations. Make your thoughts completely free and think about the things you wanted to do always, you wanted to achieve all your life. Describe an imagined life that reflects something meaningful to you. And, try to be as specific as possible while penning your thoughts down. 

ESSAY 5:  PLEASE CHOOSE FROM ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ESSAYS: (250 MAX)

A) WHAT MONUMENT OR SITE WOULD YOU ADVISE A FIRST-TIME VISITOR TO YOUR COUNTRY OR CITY TO DISCOVER, AND WHY?

B) CERTAIN BOOKS, MOVIES, OR PLAYS HAVE HAD AN INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS THAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE UNDESERVED. CHOOSE AN EXAMPLE AND ANALYSE IT.

C) WHAT FIGURE DO YOU MOST ADMIRE AND WHY? YOU MAY CHOOSE FROM ANY FIELD (ARTS, LITERATURE, POLITICS, BUSINESS, ETC). (250 WORDS MAX)

This should be an easy one. Choose the one that you feel can portray you greatly and help to enhance your candidacy to the school. While choosing one, think which answer can help you align your values with HEC’s. No matter which option you choose, try to answer in terms of the experiences that have helped you gain significant learnings and impacted you in some way or another. For example, if you choose to describe your city, pick the monument or site which tells deeper about the history of the city or maybe the values of the people of the city. It will show your awareness of your environment and more importantly your personality, your beliefs, and the values that matter to you. Or if you choose a leader, you may want to tell the qualities of perseverance and boldness that you admire in the person. 

ESSAY 6: IS THERE ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? (900 WORDS MAX)

This is an optional essay and the first and the most important advice for you is, DO NOT WRITE IF YOU DO NOT NEED TO. I have seen many candidates who want to write something here just because they are given space to write and they do not want to miss any chance. But if you are unnecessarily answering here, it may rather put a negative impact because no one wants to hear another cliche story especially when one is reading and assessing thousands of these. 

Now, if you have something important to talk about and finally want to use this space, write about the points which need explanation. You may want to explain your low grades or the gap year you took or you just want to convey an experience that is very important to you and has not been covered in the previous essays. It should be talking about another different (and important) aspect of your personality. Since you get 900 words for this, you would like to explain the story better but do not beat around the bush, write directly and concisely to convey your message.  

Now that you have gone through the process, you must have gained great insights into the school, its values, and how to craft a good application. If you feel you need a partner in your journey to dig out the best in you, MBA and Beyond is here to help you throughout your journey.

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