Merci beaucoup!

An NUS student posts about the MBA exchange programme at HEC Paris in 2006.

In 2004, I had been to Paris as a tourist for four days but fell head-over-heels in love with the place and knew I’d definitely be coming back. Anyone who has seen the Eiffel sparkle at night can surely agree.

Paris! Je ne sais quoi
So while I am here to pursue an MBA exchange program at HEC lets first give Paris its due importance and discuss what you will miss by not being here! There is beauty in Paris – in everything you can imagine. Streets, people, architecture, weather, cafes…you name it. The added advantage of living in a Schengen country is that we can travel to so many other destinations without having to worry about individual visas.

HEC, Paris
Coming to the program at HEC, I had spoken to my seniors at NUS who had been here last year and they recommended the experience. Quite a few professors here have surely lived up to my expectations. If you are particularly interested in a Marketing specialization then do consider HEC. Also if you are looking at working in the luxury, cosmetics, fashion industry this is the mecca of wannabes. Let me also add that a lot of full-time students here have entrepreneurial inclinations and come especially to pursue the entrepreneurial track which also has a good repute. The Asian diversity at HEC almost made me feel like I’m back in NUS initially but then they do have a good balance from Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Campus life
A good change for us NUS students is that we get to live on campus here in very self-sufficient single rooms. Parties on campus are never-ending. Wine flows like water so one has to ensure that there are no classes the next day! Actually HEC is more famous within France for its Grande Ecole school – similar to our BBA. The kids keep the campus more lively with themed parties every week ranging from Star Wars to Porn Stars!

Je ne comprende pas

For some thumbs downs – the school sits in a quiet little village called Jouy en Josas so that the name ‘HEC, Paris’ is completely misleading. I long for the buzzing life of Singapore when I go down to the village stores for groceries. Of course once you travel down to Paris (an hour’s journey by train) things change dramatically. And then everything is twice as expensive as Singapore so that a watchful eye on the wallet is essential.

The good weather lasted really long this year but it is getting colder now. Only a few more weeks left to return and I know I will miss some friends from here. It will be a bitter-sweet au revoir for sure.

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