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Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE

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Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2013, 05:53
Hello Everybody,

After I went through the whole "lets get an mba" application process, i now find myself at the crucial choice moment and i would love to get some objective insights !
I was recently accepted to HEC, IE and Imperial for their international MBA's, I am a French/Lebanese/Moroccan IT engineer, I studied and worked in Paris, and my goal is to create a start up that will provide marketing services through web platforms.

While i have already crossed-off the imperial college, i have been been changing my mind a LOT between HEC and IE (I also regularly ask myself if an MBA is a good thing). I now only have a few more days to decide and i am trying to make the most rational choice. Some help would be greatly appreciated !

To sum up, here are the pros and cons i have weighted until now:

HEC paris:
- duration of 16 months, so a bit more time to ingest all the new knowledge
- Bigger campus and smaller class size (200) but located in Jouy en Josas so not really in Paris
- Great for marketing
- New mba curriculum since last year developed following the intervention of Bain & co
- Strong network in France

IE :
- duration of 13 months
- Great location in Madrid, but smaller campus and bigger class size (more than 400)
- Great for entrepreneurship
- Rankings usually place it higher
- Could learn a new language and gain perspective from spending over a year in a different country

In terms of diversity, both seem to be quite good. I know its a lot of data but i keep on changing my mind, so i though the objective point of view that you might have could help !

Thanx a lot
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2013, 09:50
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Hi, falleninadream.

I earned a MSc degree at HEC, but it was common knowledge at the time (2010) that the MBA students were experiencing some difficulty finding employment. HEC's reputation primarely comes from the Grand Ecole program, as well as the Finance-focused degrees. The MBA program, at least a few years ago, was still a work in progress. Perhaps the new curriculum, which you mentioned, has made a difference.

An HEC MBA is (arguably) comparable to a Spanish MBA, so it might make more sense to stick with a French degree in your case, as your personal history, work experience, and network are France-related. It's always good to expand one's network and cultural exposure, of course, and you can accompish that with any of the Spanish MBA programs, but I'm not sure whether that plays to your strengths at this stage of your career.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2013, 14:43
Hi BM,

Of course it helps ! I'm grateful for any insights ;)
So to sum up, HEC's MBA is not that well considered but you would still go for it ?
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2013, 16:46
Expert's post
Well, I'm glad that I could be of some service! :)

I'm slightly hesitant to make such a definite statement, but it seems to make sense in your case. HEC is an important name in France, so any degree from there will at least get you noticed. More specifically, your history and network played a big role in my initial response. Plus, you mentioned marketing as a strength of HEC, so that plays into your profile.

I suppose there are still some lingering questions. Do you envision your start-up with lots of Hispanic outreach, or do you plan to establish yourself in France, Morroco, or Lebanon? How essential is school location in your decision? Which school would carry more weight in Francophone countries?
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2013, 02:22
It is indeed an important name, but isn't the fact that MBA's experienced difficulties finding jobs indicative of a negative image?
To answer your other questions, currently, i do not envision my start-up with hispanic outreaches and intend to establish myself between France and Morocco.

School location is still important in the whole MBA experience, as for the school that will carry more weight in francophone countries, I guess the logical answer would be HEC but I do have the impression that it is only true for people not knowing much about MBA's though...
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2013, 06:34
Hello BM !

I just thought of another important question i wanted to ask you, does the fact that you graduated from an MSc (MBA for me) have an influence in the alumni network which is supposed to be global, is it in fact fragmented among alumni from different program types or not ?
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2013, 09:33
Expert's post
While the strength of any network depends, among other things, on the personal connection between the individuals, I wouldn't go so far as to say that HEC's is rigidly fragmented by program type.
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2013, 09:58
To which question are you refering to, the network or the choice in itself?
I was not going as far as rigid fragmentation, but i just wanted to know, in your case for example, have you enjoyed the broader network as a graduate from the MSc?
Anyway, I appreciate your help !

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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2013, 14:01
I believe you should go with HEC !
HEC is a top notch school in Europe. I live in Eastern Europe and HEC is still popular here, in contrast to IE and the other Spanish schools. In terms of employment, HEC gives you exposure to the whole French speaking Europe - France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium - arguably much stronger and healthier economies than, at least currently, Spain. Indeed, Spain is experiencing unemployment of like 20% and youth unemployment of close to 45% so it does not really make sense to look for employment there now. And if you are not to look for an employment there, well, it makes sense, at least to me, to remain in Paris.
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2013, 09:27
Expert's post
falleninadream wrote:
To which question are you refering to, the network or the choice in itself?
I was not going as far as rigid fragmentation, but i just wanted to know, in your case for example, have you enjoyed the broader network as a graduate from the MSc?

I was theorizing about alumni networks in general. But to answer your question more directly, I haven't particularly experienced much benefit from the HEC network yet.
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2013, 00:51
Thanks a lot BM and Ivan, I really appreciate your opinions, I'll have to make my choice tonight and make the necessary bank transfers as the deadlines are nearing … I have extended my thinking time as much as I could :P

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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2013, 03:52
Good luck ;) Let us know what you decide .
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 02:54
I have chosen IE. If i were not french and did not already have significant experience in Paris, I probably would have made the opposite choice. It was not a rational choice, but who likes rationality :)

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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 09:33
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Congratulations on your decision! As long as your choice makes sense to you and it feels right, then don't worry too much about what others think. IE is a reputable school and I'm sure that you will do very well there.

Have fun in Spain! :)
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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2013, 07:12
I am still waiting for the scholarship results to compare the financial packages but I made the desposit for IE.
Thanks again for your implication guys !

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Re: Which school for a French applicant: HEC or IE   [#permalink] 18 Aug 2013, 07:12
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