Tuesday Tips: HEC Paris Essays and Tips for 2023-2024

HEC paris essays

HEC Paris essays focus on your ethics and values. A fantastic location in Paris and a robust leadership education distinguish the HEC MBA. HEC Paris boasts a high number of CEOs in its alumni community. Another distinction is an entrepreneurial spirit. HEC Paris consistently ranks as one of the top MBA programs in the world.

If your life and career are based in Europe, HEC is worth a closer look. And, even if you are primarily United States-based, consider adding a European MBA program to your list.

Listen to B-Schooled Podcast #64: European MBA Programs FAQs to hear one of Stacy Blackman Consulting’s European MBA experts answer frequently asked questions about MBA programs outside of the US.

HEC Paris Essays

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.)

Describing your career goals is the first task in this HEC Paris essay. Also, why now is the right time for an MBA, and why HEC Paris is your choice. Also, you will want to explain past experiences, but avoid reciting your resume. In addition, think about the critical moments in your career that can highlight your skills.

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

HEC Paris has successfully assisted its 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. Also, you should explain the classes, professors, and student activities that 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. In the second of the HEC Paris essays, describe an experience demonstrating leadership. Consider that there is no time limit to this essay. For instance, you could explore something formative that happened to you as a teenager or an achievement from last week. Also, consider an accomplishment that demonstrates who you are when selecting an example. It should showcase 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 expertise of a team. Or, it may have forced you 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 helped a team achieve its best work.

HEC Paris essays

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.)

Because ethics are so important, the third in this set of HEC Paris essays focuses on this issue. 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 ethics can influence business.

You have likely encountered colleagues or leaders who did not adhere to ethical behavior during your career. When you have come across a moral dilemma, how did you handle it? Explain the situation, how you felt, what you did, and the outcome. Ideally, you have learned a lesson as a result of the experience. Finally, consider your overall 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 HEC Paris 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? Ask your friends and family what they think as a thought starter.

Describe this alternative life with as many specifics as possible, and use the exercise to clarify your core values.

HEC Paris essays

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 undeserved. Choose an example and analyze it.

c) What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc.)

Of all the HEC Paris essays, this one provides options to share your strong opinions and personality with the admissions committee. For instance, you can choose to describe your country or city, discuss an art piece, or a leader you admire. Honestly, any of the choices can showcase an aspect of your personality. Overall, the goal is to differentiate yourself.

Consider the best option for your unique background. For example, if you live in a small country or city rarely visited by tourists, describe a monument or site. In this way, using the essay to describe your city or country can further explain your background.

On the other hand, if you choose a public figure you admire, you could explore your leadership ideas. Or, perhaps you admire persistence, overcoming obstacles, or helping others. Use those ideas to explore your core values. Finally, whichever option you choose, get personal!

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

This HEC Paris essay gives you space to describe any additional information you would like to provide to the admissions committee. Generally, optional essays are for any confusing or concerning information in your application. In this case, you may also use this essay to provide positive details.

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 any of the above, you may be able to reinforce that 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 clarify any problems in your application than to leave the admissions committee to guess what happened. Briefly explain your issue and focus most of the essay on the correction employed.

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, explain why this one incident is in your past and will stay there.

You may 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 essays and application requirements, please visit the HEC Paris website.


Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your MBA application needs, from our All-In Partnership to test prep to hourly help with targeted tasks. Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant. Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

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.

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