Phillippe Oster is an admissions director at HEC Paris and he will provide us with some interesting facts about HEC programs.
Being the director of admissions, communication and development at HEC Paris, Oster maintains integrity and quality across the three departments by taking responsibility of all the related directing as well as communicating. This in turn draws the most favorable international MBA candidates to HEC. 

Prior to proceeding as the director at HEC Paris in 2009, Oster was the head of international admissions for the education department of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and IndustryHEC ParisESCP EuropeEMLYONAudencia and Skema – Frances five top business schools, gave him an oversight of international student selection.  

The following interview gives an insight about a challenging new dual degree program in international finance, being offered by next fall. Oster also talks about leadership development; the advantage of the class size at HEC which is up to 200 students. 

He gives an honest advice to potential MBA applicants. According to him, those interested to collaborate their own mind set and professional goals, they should find maximum three MBA programs after a thorough research. Competency and briefness should be kept in mind while applying. 


MBA Center: What’s the single most exciting development, change or event happening at HEC Paris this coming year?

Philippe Oster: A new dual degree program at HEC Paris – MBA-MSc in International Finance commencing from September 2015 is the recent innovative program. The goal is to seek competent fellows who wish to pursue a career in finance or consulting.

Compact management education coupled with sound leadership skills, advanced technical knowledge along with quantitative skills are being offered by this degree.

The candidates would have a prospect in senior management positions in their chosen career, having two sets of distinctive systems (MBA and MIF courses in each semester) side by side.

MBA Center: What is the one area of your program that you wish applicants knew more about?

PO: “Learning-by-doing” style is adapted by the MBA class of 200 students. This ensures interactive learning by indulging in leadership development activities. Students take up “real world” leadership roles by participating in the yearly student run MBA tournament (MBAT) and Off-Campus St-Cyr Leadership Seminar. 3 day sporting event, with over 1500 MBA students from business schools across the world, gives them the chance to get involved in logistics, funding sponsors, budgeting etcetera. 

TEC (The Executive Committee) on-campus program on the other hand promotes interaction with CEOs to talk about personal motives and professional goals. 

MBA Center: Walk us through the life of an application in your office from an operational standpoint. What happens between the time an applicant clicks “submit” and the time the committee offers a final decision (e.g. how many “reads” does it get, how  long is each “read”, who reads it, does the committee convene to discuss it as a group, etc.)

PO: With time being crucial, “HEC Online Candidate Profile” is to be filled out prior to the application process. To know if they meet the program criteria, the candidates are encouraged to fill in concise information and receive prompt feedback. Thereafter there are 12 deadlines that can be chosen throughout the year.

The application is looked into and analysis along with candidate evaluation is done. HEC Paris MBA alumni then invite the chosen students for a set of interviews.

The period is of five weeks – from the application submission to the admission notification. The candidates are notified in responsive and efficient means.

To reduce or eradicate evaluation bias, one individual is appointed to assess all the applications, after the evaluation team is finished evaluating them. A fair balanced process is ensured that doesn’t permit certain quotas by profile type or region. Accredited by the French Ministry of Education, HEC chooses its candidates solely on achievement basis. 

MBA Center: How does your team approach the essay portion of the application specifically? What are you looking for as you read the essays? Are there common mistakes that applicants should try to avoid? One key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write them?

PO: The admissions process has rendered the essay as a very crucial decision factor. An in-depth acumen about the candidates and their inspiration of choosing MBA and how HEC in particular will enable them to pursue their career objectives.  

The applicant should be prepared with thorough research. HEC selects candidates with moral and integral approach that they clearly identify in their application; this has to be put forward in the essay for sure.  

My advice to MBA candidates is as follows:

Shortlist the topmost 25 MBAs in the world. A surety for: best academic quality and avant-garde infrastructures, a diverse student body is selected (up to 50 nationalities) and a strong alumni system coupled with adept career services (HEC: 50,000 alumni worldwide)

To meet your goals and personal objectives, choose no more than three schools among the top 25 programs chosen. Always take advice from alumni and peers. Seek information from those with personal experiences who risked their jobs for challenging proficient lives. 

In the essay we focus on the 5 Cs:

  1. Content: Mention concrete and attention-grabbing aspects of yourself.
  2. Correctness: Grammar, punctuation and spelling are crucial. Always conduct proofreading. Take the process seriously and diligently. 
  3. Clarity: Avoid any obscurity in your content.
  4. Conciseness: Be to the point but be alert to express thoughts as efficiently as possible. 
  5. Coherence: even though pitching positivity about yourself is important, the most crucial thing is to simply be factual about yourself and your achievements. Maintain accuracy and avoid exaggeration. 

With the above sorted out properly, you will efficiently deliver motivation that the essay itself would flawlessly speak for!


About Hubert

Hubert ([email protected]) is the Founder of MBA Center, an elite test prep and admission consulting organization collaborating with the best test prep centers in Europe and India. Over the last 24 years, Hubert has developed the World MBA Tour and co-founded ACCESS MBA. Hubert’s passion is teaching, though. Holder of a perfect 800, Hubert has trained thousands of GMAT students, written and developed over 50 TOEFLTOEICIELTSSAT, and GMAT prep bookssoftware and e-learning platforms.
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