HEC Paris MiM Deep-dive with AdCom: Admissions, Curriculum, Careers & Scholarships

By Arvind Kumar

Founded in 1881 and situated on a sprawling 340-acre wooded campus close to Versailles, HEC Paris has earned a reputation for producing top-tier business leaders for over a century.

Among its array of esteemed programs, the HEC Paris Master in Management (MiM) is one of the most prestigious both in Europe and across the world (ranked #1 Master in Management, Financial Times rankings 2023). 

The class size of the HEC Paris MiM cohort is 427, with the average age being 22 years. 42% of the class is international, with participants from 52 countries and pre-MiM academic backgrounds in Engineering (28%), Social Sciences & Humanities (25%), Economics (18%), Business & Management (17%), Sciences (7%) and Accounting & Finance (5%). Women comprise 47% of the cohort. While there is no official GMAT cutoff score, the median GMAT score for the last intake is 700. 

HEC’s influential alumni network spans 70000+ members across the world. The MiM program’s rigorous academic approach, world-class faculty, emphasis on consulting, finance, marketing and general management, and experiential learning opportunities make it a top choice for students and young professionals seeking a global perspective in business education.

Arvind Kumar (Founder of admitStreet) interviewed Michael Scott (Associate Director of Admissions, HEC Paris) to cover topics ranging from the HEC Paris MiM admissions process to academics, careers, financing/ scholarships, and other lesser-known aspects of the program.

HEC Paris MiM Intro & Curriculum

Photo Caption: HEC Paris MiM/ Masters Classroom

admitStreet: What are some lesser-known facts about the HEC Paris MiM program that you’d like to share with applicants?

Michael: A lesser-known fact about the MIM program is that it sits under a large umbrella which we call our ‘Grande Ecole’. This degree program, or academic area, is where the majority of our masters level courses in Management, Law, and Finance sit. 

The Master in Management, in addition to being a stand-alone programme, integrates and overlaps with other degree courses. This is an advantage for our students as it brings a lot of diversity of thought in terms of academic backgrounds and professional experience to the classroom.

admitStreet: With a variety of programs being offered at HEC e.g. Master in Management (MiM), Master in Marketing, Master in International Finance, Master in Strategic Management, etc., how should applicants go about choosing their most suitable program? 

Michael: The Master in Management is a two to three-year commitment. Year one is a generalist curriculum followed by a more specialized track in the second year. There is also an optional gap year for students who would like to acquire more professional experience. 

I would recommend the Master in Management to students who need extra time to refine their professional goals or who are studying business for the first time. The one-year courses, e.g. Master in International Finance or Strategic Management, are more specialized courses. They are perfect for students who have some idea of what they would like to do professionally or personally after studying at HEC Paris. 

admitStreet: What are some of the unique learning methodologies and curriculum/ courses adopted in the HEC MiM program?

Michael: Like all top business schools, the courses are delivered by faculty who are researchers working with companies on real issues. These professors are in touch with the latest theory and its application in practice. They bring rich experience to the classroom via the case studies and their approach to teaching. 

Students work in teams on group projects and business projects. You might forget what a lecturer said in the amphitheater, but you are unlikely to forget something you did or implemented as part of a practical assignment.

Think, Teach, Act is one of our mottos and we believe that students learn best when they are doing things. The teaching at HEC Paris is very practically orientated to increase employability and develop useful skills for a post-graduate career. 

admitStreet: HEC offers the option of a gap year between the Generalist and Specialization phases. What are the benefits of the gap year and how do students typically spend it e.g. internships?

Michael: A gap year can boost your confidence, increase your employability, and develop your network. It’s also important to have fun. Some students even choose to do two gap years! 

Many students will choose to do an internship, but you may have other reasons to pursue a gap year. We help students to get the right mix of academic and professional exposure for their personal development. Students on an internship have access to an HEC mentor and we have more than 800 mentors, super useful in your first 100 days at a new company. 

HEC MiM Admissions Process

admitStreet: Could you decode the process of how HEC Paris evaluates MiM applications? What are the steps involved from when an application is received to when a final decision is rendered?

Michael: The process is rigorous. Applicants submit their applications, and our Admissions Team will check each application to ensure they are complete. Next, there is a holistic evaluation of the candidate (grades, test scores, essays, recommendation letters). Top candidates are invited to an interview. 

The interview takes place online and you will meet two representatives of HEC Paris. You might meet the Admissions Team, alumni, professors, or other senior staff. Everyone participating in the interviews is trained to look for the qualities and attributes that make our students successful. 

An interview can last from 20 to 30 minutes and is more like a conversation than a test. Some interviewers may throw more technical questions at you, particularly for quant-heavy courses like Data or Finance, however, this is more to examine your thought process than to get the “right” answer. Following the interviews, there is a final review of the applicant pool to make admission and scholarship offers. 

The whole process takes around a month and a half from beginning to end and there are four rounds in which you can apply. We recommend you apply as early as possible as our programs are competitive.

admitStreet: What are the basic eligibility criteria for applicants e.g. education, work-ex? Can candidates with three-year bachelor’s degrees apply?

Michael: Candidates with three-year bachelor’s degrees can apply. Some work experience is a plus although we are not looking for too many years because our courses are designed for recent graduates. Candidates with good grades, interesting extracurricular activities, a good intercultural awareness, and knowledge of world and business affairs will stand out. 

admitStreet: Share with us your top tips for the application essays. Any particular advice for international applicants? 

Michael: Write authentically- unsurprisingly many applicants say the same things. Successful applicants usually write essays that sound genuine and relate to personal or professional experiences or interests. 

Don’t contradict yourself. Don’t write about why you are passionate about the environment and climate change and go on to describe very carbon-intensive lifestyle pursuits for instance. 

admitStreet: What advice do you have for applicants with a low GMAT score? How can they effectively demonstrate their potential in the application?

Michael: There is no minimum score, however our average is still quite high. If you have a lower than average score, tell us about the conditions in which you sat the test, how you prepared, and whether you have an academic record that can compensate for any weaknesses in the test (e.g. a low quant). 

If you have time to sit the test again that’s great or, alternatively, if you are going to follow some additional relevant courses before your arrival that is good too. 

Careers @ HEC Paris MiM 

Photo Caption: HEC Paris Careers Fair

admitStreet: Tell us about the recruitment process, and how HEC’s Career Services center helps students along the journey

Michael: Like other top business schools, students at HEC Paris benefit from a large Careers team (HEC Talents) who are dedicated to coaching, developing, and marketing our talent (you!) 

In addition to CV workshops and career fairs, a lot of time and effort is put into helping students leverage the alumni network and ecosystem of the School. Most jobs come through networking, so HEC equips students with the right contacts and best practices, not only to find the first job, but the second job and the job after that. 

admitStreet: Finance/ Accounting (28%), Consulting (23%), General Management (22%) and Marketing/ Sales (12%) are the top 4 recruiting sectors for HEC MiM graduates. What type of roles do graduates typically pursue in each?

Michael: It depends on the background and experience of the student. Traditionally, young graduates go into analyst roles where they do the number crunching for the consultants or associates at the level above. 

However, Gen Z, as digitally savvy natives, are increasingly entering roles where they have real responsibilities and impact in companies that are surfing waves of digital transformation. I’ve seen it happen in traditional corporates and entrepreneurial tech-enabled companies. 

admitStreet: Is it compulsory to learn French as part of the curriculum? Would not knowing it pose challenges for any roles? 

Michael: All students are encouraged to learn a second or third language; for many of them this is French. Learning French helps integrate during your time at HEC, even if you are only using the language off campus. 

For students who wish to work in France after their studies, having a good level of French is essential. Otherwise, you would look at markets where you speak the local language and know the local customs in Europe or elsewhere.  

admitStreet: What can international students do before and during the MiM to improve their chances of landing their dream job?

Michael: Research. Network- speak to people in that industry, company, or function. Sign up for newsletters and other industry news. 

If you need to develop specific skill sets, set out a plan. You will save time in the long run, and you will be able to get more from the academic and career services offered. 

You may also wish to check your assumptions with a mentor or coach to work out whether your dream job is really your dream job- often we are surprised by what we don’t know about ourselves. 


admitStreet: How does one apply for scholarships: are there separate scholarship essays? Approximately what % of the class receives a scholarship?

Michael: We don’t typically ask for separate essays except for some scholarships that have a specific application process. All candidates are automatically considered for a merit-based scholarship. Around one-third of students receive a scholarship which is also the norm in most schools. You’ll know within days of your admission if you have a scholarship. 

admitStreet: What are your tips to applicants on how they can increase their chances of securing a scholarship? 

Michael: Don’t auto-disqualify yourself, many students receive a scholarship. If you wish to request financial aid to study at HEC Paris please state this clearly in your application. 

Connect with AdCom 

admitStreet: Besides the online group webinars, how can applicants connect with the AdCom at a personal level, if they have any questions or clarifications?

Michael: We have a dedicated student recruitment team who will connect personally with applicants and prospective students. 

We also have a team of student ambassadors who are very willing to answer questions about campus life and student experience. 

admitStreet: Thank you, Michael, for your time and insights. We hope this will give applicants a comprehensive overview of the HEC Paris MiM program. 

This article is part of bridgeStreet, an initiative by admitStreet to connect with the global B-school community.

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