Friday, April 17, 2009

HEC and Exchange programs

Here's a question I received in response to my last post:
"In every interview or article regarding HEC i see that it partners with 50 schools around the world for Exchange programmes. I get that you did not do the exchange program. Any reasons? How is the procedure of selection? or does every one get to do the exchange prgm."

I am glad that someone asked this question because this is a topic which I had missed covering in my posts and this is quite an important question.

So this is how exchange program works:

Procedure of selection
HEC has exchange program partnerships with close to 50 schools across the world. The way it works is pretty simple. HEC announces the opening of applications for exchange programs with its partner schools - the announcement basically informs students about three things -
1. Names of the partner schools
2. No. of seats with each school
3. Deadline of application

Once the announcement is made, every MBA participant is free to submit his/her application for target schools. The application contains some short questions asking applicants about their motivation for that school etc.
After the deadline, all applications are collected and reviewed by a committee at HEC. In case of multiple applications for a school, the participants are invited for interview and then a final decision is made. The decision is made solely by the committee at HEC and the partner school is not involved in this decision.

Why did I not go for an exchange program
As with your b-school application, there are several factors that you should consider while applying for an exchange program. Why do you want to go for an exchange program? The main reasons are:
1. A different experience - HEC gives you a European experience. You could go to a US b-school to get a different experience and enhance your professional network
2. Brand Name - Getting a better recognized b-school name on your resume
3. Career - You have specific career objectives that you could achieve by going to a particular b-school

For me, there were two main reasons why I did not go for an exchange program:
1. Career - I figured that going for an exchange program will not improve my career prospects. Most of the schools I was interested in were based in US. Going to a US school as an exchange student did not appeal to me because of the economic uncertainties and work-visa related problems faced by international students. Also, by staying at HEC, I had better chances of leveraging its brand in France and continental Europe to get a job
2. Funds - Going to any school for an exchange program will have required me to spend around 5K $ which I was not keen on spending

Does every student get to go for an exchage program?
The answer is No (generally). I think there are around 50 seats for exchange and there are 130 odd students in Sep intake. So it's not possible for everyone to go on exchange. However, there are only 50-60 students in Jan intake. So most of the students in Jan intake can go for exchange program.

Friday, April 3, 2009

HEC MBA - differences between Sep and Jan intakes

In some of previous posts, I have addressed the common queries about HEC that people have asked me over the past couple of years. In this post, I am addressing another such important query - the difference between Sep and Jan intakes

The biggest difference is the program structure. Click here to look at the program structure for the two intakes

The 16 month HEC MBA program is divided into two halves - Core Phase and Personalized Phase; Core Phase is the backbone of the MBA and has common, mandatory courses for everyone. Personalized Phase allows one to customize the program and provides options for electives, internship and exchange program.

As can be seen from the table, the program structure for Sep and Jan intakes is very different. Personalized phase for Sep intake allows for a lot of options - one can attend classes at HEC for the entire 16 months, for 8 months (do the core phase at HEC, take up a long term internship and then go on exchange program) or 12 months (core phase, internship and electives/exchange).
For Jan Intake, things are completely different. They must take classes at HEC for 1 year (Core Phase and PP1) and in the last 4 months, they must either do an internship or go for exchange. Thus, even if they want, they cannot attend classes at HEC during the last 4 months.

Apart from the program structure, the main differences are:
1. Class Size - Sep intake has around 130 people and Jan intake has 60-70 people. So Sep intake allows you to interact with more people
2. Choice of electives - This comes directly from the difference in program structures. During summers, HEC attracts some great visiting professors from other universities; Sep intake is at an advantage here and I've had some of my best courses with visiting proffs.
3. Internships - In Jan intake, you can finish classes in 12 months and then start working (even full time without technically finishing your MBA). It also becomes easier to find a long internship if you are in Jan intake. So if you want to spend less time studying, Jan intake is better.