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  • Malvika Patil

HEC Paris MBA Interview Questions 2023 -24



With its 2024 FT rankings as #1 Business School in Europe, #12 worldwide and its place as the #5 MBA program worldwide in QS for 2023, HEC Paris is one of the most highly rated MBA programs outside the US. Located close to Paris, HEC gives students access to the city’s industry contacts and reach, also placing them within easy travel distance of continental powerhouses such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Madrid as well as the financial capital of London. 


HEC is especially known for its specializations in Data and AI for Business Transformation, Disruptive Innovation, and Strategic Marketing. HEC, as a site for the Creative Destruction Lab site, a seed-stage program that has helped thousands of science- and tech-based startups worldwide, also offers its MBA candidates the option of hands-on tech consultancy training. The HEC program also boasts the ability to complete a finance certificate during the MBA program, double-degree programs with other top-ranked schools such as the National University of Singapore, NYU Stern, and Yale SOM.


HEC Paris’ class size is approximately 350 students (class of 2023) with an average of 6 years’ work experience and an average age of 30. The class is 60% female and 93% international (non-French, that is), representing 60 different countries. HEC’s median GMAT score is 690 (635 for the GMAT Focus). HEC’s median GRE score is not published, and HEC itself suggests scores higher than 60th percentile for consideration; however, at V154 and Q157 this is actually rather low. A safer approximation would be to use the equivalent GRE to a 690 GMAT, which, balanced would be roughly Q162 and V162. 


In this post, we will show you how HEC Paris structures its interview, who conducts the HEC interview, what HEC Paris looks for in its MBA cohort, and give you our top interview tips to help you nail the interview. 


The HEC Paris MBA Interview Process


Two aspects stand out about the HEC Paris interview:


First, you will be interviewed twice, each time by an HEC alum. These interviews will be separate, and both count equally toward your admissions decision. The interviews are conducted in-person with an alum in your region or virtually; while there is no penalty for an online interview, we have found that schools do appreciate it when you take the effort to attend your interview (or, in this case, interviews) in person. 


Second, you must complete a ten-minute presentation in each interview. This will be a PowerPoint deck on a topic of your choosing that the interviewer may ask you to present at any point during the interview. In our experience, it is unusual to expect follow-up questions based on the presentation. 


The interview is blind: your two interviewers will have access to your CV, but no other application materials. Each interview will last 45-60 minutes and typically do not run over. You can expect normal CV-based questions, follow-ups, and standard “Why an MBA,” “Why HEC,” and behavioral questions.


According to reports, some interviewers are quite personal and conversational, while others are more formal and treat the interview as they would a job interview. 


The HEC Paris MBA Interview Presentation


HEC’s 10-minute presentation is on a subject of your choice. Given the broad topic, applicants are often unsure of what to choose.


Think about it like this: the 10-minute presentation gives you the chance to demonstrate clear, concise thinking and reasoning, and, of course, your presentation and communication skills. It gives you the chance to discuss something you’re passionate about while expressing yourself creatively. 


There’s nothing to say that your presentation needs to relate to your career, but ensure that your topic adds value to your profile and supports your application. 

The presentation will only last ten minutes, so keep it to five or six slides. Focus on making a persuasive argument, displaying the reasoning that brings you to your conclusion, and speaking clearly. Bonus points if it’s something memorable! The topic, that is: it doesn’t mean explaining Pivot Tables while holding a handstand.


Who is HEC Paris Looking For?


HEC Paris is clear about the type of MBA candidate they’re after: they want leaders who work well with others, who inspire others to do their best work, and who hope to make long-term contributions to the organizations they’re involved with. 


The school has six core principles:


  1. Academic Accomplishment: This doesn’t just mean your GPA and GMAT/GRE scores, but also your ability to adapt your knowledge to impact others during the MBA program. Students at HEC Paris come from a wide range of academic backgrounds.


  1. Leadership Potential: Students have specific, demonstrable examples of their leadership capability, even if they haven’t been in managerial roles. 


  1. Professional Experience and Career Progression: This means demonstrable examples of high performance in your current role as well as a steady progression in your career to date.


  1. International Exposure: One major draw of HEC Paris is that it is “globally minded.” HEC students come from varied experiences and backgrounds; they are well-rounded individuals who are comfortable working with colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures while sharing their own knowledge and experience.


  1. MBA Motivation and Career Objectives: Students have clarity on why the HEC Paris MBA is the correct next step for their career goals, expectations, and progression; this must be consistently demonstrated throughout the application materials as well as during the interviews.


  1. Interpersonal Skills and Personality: The key point here is self-awareness, humility, and respect for others. Remember the amount of team-based work you’ll be expected to do at HEC, so the ability to be a team player - leading the team but also following when necessary - is key. 


Expect these points to be precisely what your two interviewers will be looking for during the interview process, so make sure that you work them into your stories and presentation. 



HEC Paris MBA Interview Schedule 2023 - 2024

HEC Paris Interview Schedule

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

Application Deadline

15 January 2024

12 February 2024

13 March 2024

15 April 2024

20 May 2024

17 June 2024

Decisions Released

16 February 2024

15 March 2024

19 April 2024

17 May 2024

21 June 2024

19 July 2024


HEC Paris MBA Interview Questions 2023 - 2024


Here are the HEC Paris MBA questions that applicants have been asked previously: 


About You


  1. Tell me about yourself (plus follow-ups).

  2. Why did you choose your undergraduate program? What was the experience there like?

  3. What do you do for fun?

  4. What are your short- and long-term career goals?

  5. What is your backup plan should these goals not work out?

  6. What are three firms where you would like to work post-MBA?

Career


  1. Describe your current job role.

  2. What sort of knowledge gap did you face at the beginning of your career? How did you overcome it?

  3. What is a work accomplishment you’re proud of?

  4. What is an accomplishment outside work that you’re proud of?

HEC and Europe


  1. Have you visited campus? Spoken to alumni?

  2. Are you planning to work in Europe after graduation?

Motivation


  1. Why MBA? Why now? 

  2. Why HEC?

  3. If you’re accepted at multiple schools, how will you choose?


Presentation


  1. What interests you about this topic?

  2. What inspired you to choose this topic?

Leadership and Teamwork


  1. Discuss a time you disagreed with a superior. How did you navigate the situation?

  2. Discuss a time that you experienced conflict within a team. How did you handle this?

  3. Describe your leadership style.

  4. Describe a time that team members disagreed with your decision.


Behavioral


  1. Discuss a time that things didn't go as expected. How did you handle this?

  2. Discuss what sets you apart from your peers; give three examples.

  3. How might a friend describe you?

  4. Which one person has had the greatest impact on your career to this point? 

  5. Tell me about something you’re proud of.

  6. Tell me about a time you failed.

  7. Describe a time that work stretched you to your limits.


Concluding


  1. What else would you like HEC to know about you?

  2. What would you have liked me to ask you?

  3. Do you have any questions for me?


Tips to Ace the HEC Paris MBA Interview


Here are our top tips for the HEC Paris MBA interview:


  1. HEC itself says that the interview is designed to show you as a person rather than focusing on technical details. So, you should demonstrate your values, communication skills, and confidence. Think of it as a conversation with a colleague!

  2. HEC also advises that you consider what differentiates you from your peers. What makes you the unique value-add for the MBA program?

  3. Following from the previous point, strive to be authentic in your answers. Your unique qualities are what the school is looking for, so say what you think rather than what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

  4. Needless to say, don’t underestimate the 10-Minute Presentation. Pick an interesting, memorable topic that means something to you personally and let your passion shine through. Remember, even if the interviewer doesn’t share the same interest, your vigor and communication style should hook them in!

  5. HEC encourages you to reach out to one of the Student Ambassadors before the interviews. These people have successfully gone through the interview process and they are there to help!

  6. HEC tells us, although one would like to think it’s obvious, not to overstate your abilities. That is, don’t claim to be a spreadsheet genius when you don’t know an .xls from a .csv.

  7. It’s OK to admit you don’t know something. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, but you can follow up simply by saying “I am unfamiliar with this, but here’s how I would respond…”

  8. Be clear and concise: stick to your core narrative, and focus on what you want HEC to remember about you: use the SCAR method to construct your stories and anecdotes. This will help you share information while assuring that your stories are logical, concise, and clear.

 

Want personalized support for your HEC Paris MBA Interview? Book a chat with us today!

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