Tuesday Tips: HEC Paris Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips

HEC Paris MBA essay tips

An amazing location in Paris and a strong leadership education distinguish the HEC MBA. HEC Paris boasts a high number of CEOs in its alumni community. Another distinction is an entrepreneurial spirit. The MBA program was recently named as one of the top MBA programs in the world. At HEC Paris you will have a diverse network as the student community is 90% international.

If your life and career are focused in Europe, HEC is worth a strong look. Even if you are primarily focused on programs in the United States, think about adding a European MBA program to your list. We explore in more detail the advantages for US based applicants in this blog post.

To learn more about how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with your HEC Paris application, contact us.

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 max.)

The first essay in this set asks you about your future career, why now is the right time for an MBA and why HEC Paris is your choice. You will want to explain a bit about your past experiences, but avoid reciting your resume. Think about the key moments in your career that have influenced you or highlighted your skills.

Those are the mini-stories to tell. Then, you can explain your career choice with specifics. What industry do you want to work within? What will be your function (marketing or finance, for example)? Do you have any desires for location and aspirations to impact the global economy?

Also, note that HEC Paris has successfully assisted students with career changes and entrepreneurial dreams. If you are looking for a new career after your MBA, HEC may be the perfect place. Thorough school research will help you make the case to the admissions committee. You will want to explain what classes, professors, alumni and student community activities will help you achieve your goals.

Essay 2. What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words max.)

HEC Paris is looking for leaders. Think about the experience that shows your character and demonstrates leadership. There is no time limit to this essay; you could explore something formative that happened to you as a teenager, or an achievement from last week. In terms of selecting the best example, you should think about an achievement that both demonstrates who you are, and also shows a moment that changed the course of your life.

For example, perhaps you were given an assignment at work that was beyond your capabilities. That experience may have taught you how to leverage the experience of a team. Or how to research and learn on your own. Think about the achievements that stretched your abilities and taught you the most. A leadership example can also show how you worked with others and helped them achieve their best work.

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 max.)

As a future leader, ethics can determine how well your company performs. When you look at the devastating results of the 2008 financial crisis, or recent security breaches at major tech companies, it is clear that business can be influenced by public perception of ethics. Because ethics are so important, HEC Paris is asking this required question.

In your own career you have likely encountered colleagues or leaders that were not guided by ethical behavior. When you have come across an ethical dilemma, how did you handle it? Explain the situation and how you felt, what you did, and the outcome of your actions. Ideally you have a lesson learned from the experience that has influenced your approach to leadership and ethics.

Essay 4. Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words max.)

This essay is a creative way to explore your character and core personality. When you think about the opposite of who you are today, it shows how you view yourself. Where would a person leading an entirely different life live? What career would they pursue? What would be their family responsibilities? Think about asking your friends and family what they think as a thought starter.

Describe this alternative life as specifically as possible and use the exercise to clarify your own core values.

Essay 5. Please choose from one of the following essays, 250 words max.:

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)

This essay provides a few options for you to show the admissions committee your personality. You can choose to describe a part of your country or city, provide your point-of-view on an art piece, or discuss a leader you admire. Any one of the choices can showcase an aspect of your personality. The goal is to be specific and differentiate yourself.

For example, if you live in a small country or city that is rarely visited by tourists, it might be interesting to describe a monument or site. Using the essay to describe your city or country is a way to explain what is unique about your life. If you choose instead to discuss a public figure you admire, you could explore your ideas of leadership or fame. Perhaps you admire persistence, or overcoming obstacles, or helping others. This is a way to again explore your core values. Whichever option you choose, get personal!

Essay 6. Optional: Is there any additional information you would like to share with us? (900 words max.)

An optional essay gives you space to describe any additional information you would like to provide to the admissions committee. Generally, optional essays are used for any confusing or concerning information in your application. In this case, you may use this essay to provide positive information as well.

You may have a story about leadership or another achievement you would like to highlight. If so, this is a place to tell that story. If you have described your core values in the essays above you may be able to reinforce the story with this essay.

This is the essay to use if you need to explain an academic issue, low GMAT, recommender issue, or gap in work experience. It is far better to fully explain any issues in your application than to leave the admissions committee to guess what happened. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue.

For example, if you had a low grade in a quantitative course in college, spend most of the essay describing how you have shown academic promise since then, rather than focusing on the negative. Avoid blaming anyone else for your issue. Instead, describe why this one incident is in your past and will stay there.

You may also choose to skip this essay if you do not have another story to tell or an incident in the past to explain. Remember that it is optional.


For more details on the HEC Paris MBA difference and the application requirements, visit the HEC Paris website.

With deadlines around the corner, you may be interested in the world-famous SBC Flight Test. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school have been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member for a one-time review, adcomm style. You’ll have the benefit of a true admissions committee review while still having the ability to tinker and change.  You will receive written feedback within two business days after submitting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


(718) 306-6858

Latest Blog Post

B-Schooled Podcast Episode #137: Doubting Yourself? This Could Be a Good Thing (Part One)

Every thoughtful MBA applicant doubts themselves at some point during the MBA application journey. More critically, it is often the applicants who have the most to offer—the most unique experiences, the most diverse perspectives, ...