How does the HEC interview work?

How does the HEC interview work?

HEC Paris has been awarded place #7 according to the Financial Times 2021 Global MBA ranking! And it is no wonder, as students learn to think critically, challenge status quos and work with people from diverse backgrounds during this intense MBA program. The program has two intakes each year and the ability to add on certificates or do a double-degree MBA program.

How does the HEC interview work?

HEC interviews are conducted by alumni who use the interview to reflect personally on your entire application.  They ask standard MBA questions and questions designed to reflect your ability to handle a global learning environment. As the interviews are conducted by alumni instead of an admission committee member, discussions tend to be more friendly and personal.  Through the interview, HEC Paris is trying to understand your motivation to pursue an MBA degree, your interest in the HEC Paris program in general, and if you are a good fit for their global-focused program.

 In addition to the standard interview questions, you are also requested to present a 10-minute PowerPoint on a topic of your interest.  You will be asked to present it at any point during your interview without forwarning. 

 Who will interview you?

 Alumni will interview you, and there will be two separate interviews as part of the application process. A different person will conduct each interview. Interviews have not reviewed your application and will only have access to your CV. HEC Paris interviews are 45-60 minutes long.

Who is HEC looking for? 

The desire of applicants to use their careers to impact the world positively are critical factors HEC Paris seeks in their admitted students. Diversity is vital to HEC Paris. The average class comes from up to 60 countries, so applicants should have a global mindset and be able to adapt to the challenges of diversity through teamwork! The average student has a GMAT score of around 690 and a minimum of two years of work experience.  

Additionally, you should have solid and demonstrable qualities in the following areas: 

  • Leadership Potential: How have you excelled as a leader in your personal and professional life? 
  • International Exposure: Well rounded, with an ability to adapt to and work with people from different backgrounds. Intercultural experience and the desire to share and learn from others are critical factors for successful admission into this program!  What have you done in life to achieve these criteria?  
  • Interpersonal Skills and Personality: Respect for others, ability to lead or work as a team member, passion, self-confidence and humility are valued in students.  

How to get prepared for the MBA interview?

Like all interviews, nothing is 100% predictable. However, HEC Paris does tend to focus on standard MBA interview questions. Below you will find sample questions that candidate similar to you have received in past interviews.

Below you will find questions from previous student’s interview reports and sites like clearadmit.com. This list is not exhaustive, but preparing for these questions and any possible follow-up questions you can imagine will be a solid foundation and preparation for your interview.

Sample HEC Interview Questions

STARTING UP QUESTIONS

  1. Tell me about yourself. (Expect follow-up questions)
  2. What do you do in your current job?
  3. What was your undergraduate experience like?
  4. What do you like to do in your free time?
  5. What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  6. Name three firms you would like to work at after your MBA.
  7. Why did you quit your previous job?
  8. Why do you want an MBA?
  9. Why now?
  10. Why HEC?
  11. What will you contribute to HEC?
  12. What other schools have you applied for? If you get into all of them, how will you choose where to go?
  13. Have you visited campus? Spoken with alumni?
  14. Do you plan to stay in Europe after graduation?

 

LEADERSHIP & TEAMWORK

  1. Tell me about a time when you didn’t get along with your team. What did you do?
  2. Tell me about one instance when you disagreed with your boss and how you handled the situation
  3. What is your leadership style?

 

MISCELLANEOUS BEHAVIORAL

  1. Tell me an example of when things didn’t work out as you planned. 
  2. Tell me about a time when you were pushed to your limits at work.
  3. How would your friends describe you?
  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  5. What/who have been the greatest influences in your career thus far?
  6. Which accomplishment are you proudest of?

 

PRESENTATION QUESTION

  1. Why did you choose this topic?
  2. Why are you passionate about X topic?

 

CLOSING

  1. Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
  2. Is there anything you wished I had asked you?
  3. Questions for me?

Instead of just reading a list of questions to yourself and thinking of answers, it is best to have a friend or family member pick questions at random and interview you as preparation.  This simulated interview process also helps you develop your ability to respond quickly and confidently. The more you do this, the better your responses will be on your interview day.  

What to do if you get a question you haven’t prepared an answer for

When this happens, it is crucial to stay calm. You have already come so far in the application process; one question will not be your downturn!

Next, make sure to answer the question as detailed as possible by giving an example from your actual professional or personal life. As preparation in advance, you may want to think about some common examples of situations that have come up in your professional or personal life, such as dealing with a demanding customer or co-workers and how you dealt with them.

If you are having trouble thinking of an answer from your professional or personal life, take a drink of water and give yourself a minute to reflect. It is possible to answer a question with a speculative answer about how you think you would act in the situation.  Here, confidence, a smile and a positive tone of voice are of the utmost importance because your interviewer is most likely testing how you think on your feet and respond to unrehearsed questions, a common aspect of life in the business world and life in the HEC Paris classroom!