Thursday, July 30, 2009

HEC R2 First interview - December 2008

My first interview for the HEC MBA was with an alumnus working in the banking sector.
After having received the 2 names of my interviewers, I agreed with them on a date and location.

Interviews for the HEC MBA are quite demanding compared to other schools interviews because:
  • you have 2 interviews (like INSEAD)
  • you have to present whatever you want in 10 minutes (the trick being to know what "whatever" could be :D)
So the first interview took place in the alumnus office in Central Paris (very nice location and great building). The interview was half in french, half in english.

After some quick mutual presentations, I first ran through my presentation. At the end, she asked some questions about my topics, said it was well-presented and clear but lasted 20 minutes instead of 10!

After that we ran through the typical MBA questions:
  • Why MBA?
  • Why HEC?
  • Why now?
After that she asked some more personal questions. At first, I was not at ease because of the very nature of the questions. Indeed, I mentioned in my file some actions I had taken to help one of my family members. She greatly appreciated that trait and asked me to develop on that:
  • Why did you do it?
  • How come this situation happened?
  • What is your relation with this family member?
Questions were not hard per se (I was just honest and told my story) but telling your family stories in front of a stranger is somewhat uncomfortable...
My advice: if you mention this kind of topics in your file, don't assume the interviewer won't ask you questions about it even if it is personal. Be prepared to overcome the awkwardness of the question.

Another question was also a bit awkward:
  • Are you a collaborative or competitive person?
  • How is the work structured at your company?
I found it a bit awkward because I am more in the middle regarding the topic of competition.

After that we went through a general discussion about HEC, professors, student life...

My impression at the end was generally good but I could really tell the difference between HEC and other schools interviews (I will also talk about it in my HEC second interview report). Indeed I really felt that the interviewer wanted to know who I was as a person, whether I was somewhat balanced between my professional and personal life.

More to come!

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