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HEC Paris MBA Essay Analysis

(Application Cycle 2021-22) 

HEC Paris MBA 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 words)

This is a standard motivation question, asking the applicant about their reasons for applying to  the HEC MBA program at this step in their career trajectory; make sure that the reasons connect with your professional goals. The answer should also highlight how an MBA specifically from HEC Paris can help you achieve those objectives. 


To personalise this essay for the HEC Paris Adcom, I recommend answering each part of the question in order. Talk about your work experience so far and how this connects to your post-MBA career plans. 


For example, if your objective for the MBA is to transition your career into a new industry, this is the essay to cover that point. Given that you’ve got 500 words (quite a lot), I suggest you use a story to explain why you want to make this transition. Perhaps you want to move abroad, or transition into a similar role. Or maybe you’ve  hit a glass ceiling or realised a new passion. 

Applicants often choose to go beyond their immediate post-MBA career goals. If you have a concrete vision of where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years, this is where you should include it.


Finally, explain why HEC is the right school for you. Refer to specific electives, professors, clubs, societies, trips & treks that are HEC exclusive and connect it with how you wish to utilise these resources and bring laurels to the institution as an HEC alumnus. Show the school that you’ve done your research. If you’ve had particularly meaningful conversations with alumni or current students, mention them too.

HEC Paris MBA Essay 2

What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words)

This answer should be direct, given the tight word limit. Select a significant experience where you achieved something solid and elaborate on how you worked towards accomplishing it. Ideally, it should be a situation in which you created a positive impact and how you went about it. 


You may also include an instance outside work. A sensible approach here is to choose a character trait that you're looking to convey and back out an essay from there. For example, if your other essays lack evidence of Leadership, use this essay to demonstrate that trait.


It's a short essay, so focus on the specifics rather than describing the overall context in detail. Remember the SCAR format: Situation, Challenge, Action, and Result.

HEC Paris MBA 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 words)

This is a classic 'Moral Dilemma' question. Most applicants struggle to think of a relevant story immediately, but everyone has one. Think about some difficult situations at work where you had to make a tough decision. This might be a scenario where you had two choices, the first one being a moral high ground while the second one demanded you to take a questionable course of action, but that too seemed logical.  

Some of the themes you may choose from may include conflicts of interest, insider trading, hiring & firing, and office harassment. Remember, you don't have to be the white knight necessarily! What's important is to demonstrate awareness of the situation's sensitivity and a thorough backwards-looking understanding of why you behaved the way you did.  


Again, consider using the SCAR format: Situation, Challenge, Action, Result to form an outline of your essay and then focus on storytelling. Once you have figured out the critical points of your essay, it'll be much easier for you to form a narrative.

HEC Paris MBA Essay 4

Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words)


This question is an attempt by the Adcom to understand you as a person outside the professional environment. Especially if the rest of the application is about your professional achievements, use this space to describe your interests outside work. A powerful essay will demonstrate key character traits (leadership, communication, determination etc.) outside the work environment. 


Often, applicants choose to build on their current hobbies and interests. Think of something that you are good at and passionate about and explain how you would have chosen it as a profession in a parallel universe. 

For example, 

For example, if soccer is your hobby, you may want to say that in another life you’d be a soccer agent, or a treasurer of your favourite club, or maybe even a professional player.

HEC Paris MBA Essay 5

Please choose from one of the following essays (250 words):
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).

Warning: This is a trick question!

They don’t really care about a monument, and you’re not applying to a book club.  Use this question to give the reader some highly personal insights into YOU: how you think, and your own unique experience. If you choose to describe a monument, explain why it is meaningful TO YOU. What value does it hold in your heart? Do you have any particular memories of that monument? Maybe the time you spent travelling across the country during a summer break would add a perfect story.


Similarly, explain why a book is meaningful TO YOU and how it resonates with your experience. If you choose to describe a figure, describe how they resonate with your values. Support your answer with logical explanations, but at the same time, don't forget about providing new information about yourself.

If diversity hasn't played a part in your application so far, this could be an opportunity to show your inclusiveness


The key is to understand that they are looking to LEARN ABOUT YOU. Again, they couldn't care any less about the monument, book or figure, but they most certainly do care about what experiences you are bringing to the table for your future peers. 


HEC Paris MBA Essay 6

Is there any additional information you would like to share with us? (900 words)


HEC Paris' application essays are fairly substantive, so unless you have an extremely unusual profile, you shouldn't really need additional space to convey information about your narrative. Instead, use this essay to describe any extenuating circumstances, inconsistent/poor grades, gaps in your resume or a criminal record. I would suggest that you keep it brief and stick to only what needs to be said. 


Caution: This space may lure some candidates into bombarding the adcom with irrelevant information about themselves. Try to keep it direct, informative and snappy. There really should be no need whatsoever to use all 900 words!

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