The HEC Paris MBA application essays – and there are many compared to most MBA applications these days –give the adcom a well-rounded view of you. They go beyond what you’ve done to capture how you think and respond, even how you imagine. Moreover, they require you to communicate complex thoughts and experiences succinctly. For the four shorter essays especially, don’t waste words on conventional introductory and concluding paragraphs. Jump right into your point or story and use straightforward sentences that avoid wordy constructions (e.g. “had the opportunity to”); don’t hesitate to use direct, declarative sentences. This writing approach has an added benefit: it conveys confidence.
Since there are several essays, I suggest first sketching out ideas for them all, then stepping back to assess how all these facets add up as a whole, and adjusting topics if/as necessary to avoid redundancy and ensure a well-rounded presentation that will make the adcom feel that they must invite you for an interview.
HEC Paris MBA application essays
HEC MBA 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 maximum)
This is a traditional goals question with a couple of twists.
- First, the “why now” part should be explicitly addressed, even if it seems obvious. Briefly is fine – the essay overall should make this case ultimately.
- Second, the “professional objective” is essentially your long-term career vision. The question implies that this vision or goal will drive your preceding steps, so present your shorter-term goal(s) in that context: show how they pave the way for you to pursue and achieve your ultimate professional objective.
- Be brief but specific when discussing the HEC MBA – tie its program directly to achievement of your goals, and detail the 2-3 points about the program that are most meaningful to you.
Finally, connect the dots. This essay, well done, will convey how your goals grow organically from your experience and are achievable given your previous experience and an MBA from HEC.
HEC MBA essay #2
What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words maximum)
Most significant life achievement – Wow. It probably didn’t happen yesterday. And for many people it didn’t happen at work… Few work accomplishments rise to the level of MOST SIGNIFICANT LIFE ACHIEVEMENT. Imagine if, for example, you state that boosting your organization’s bottom-line (by whatever amount) is your greatest life achievement – the adcom might wonder about your values or whether you really have a life. Although, if you can say that at work you saved jobs or lessened negative environmental impacts or were instrumental in developing a new medical advancement, that would be more substantial and could possibly fit the bill.
For many people, this story will be personal – I think of clients who have persevered through, managed, and overcome major family crises. For others, it will involve impact with community, religious, and/or social organizations or groups; for yet others it could involve a major milestone such as a national sports ranking or photo exhibit or music performance.
Whatever topic you select, with only 250 words, simply narrate the story and include the results or impact. It would be fine to have a sentence or two of reflection on why it’s so meaningful to you, but don’t make a long explanation. The reason should be clear from the content.
HEC MBA 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 maximum)
Again, keep the structure simple: tell the story, and end with a brief discussion of how the experience has influenced you. Don’t feel the need to present a very dramatic story – many such situations are gray, not black and white. It may seem like a challenge to identify an experience that encompasses both leadership and ethics. However, addressing an ethics challenge will almost inherently require leadership (even if informal), whether on your part or someone else’s. When you explain how it influenced you, don’t just state generalities; give a specific example.
HEC MBA essay #4
Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words maximum)
This essay is an opportunity to show a different side of yourself. Describe an imagined life that reflects something meaningful to you. Make it vivid, show your passion. Note that the question does NOT ask what you would do if not in your current life/role; it asks you to imagine a life. Use that openness to express your creativity. In doing so, however, avoid being abstract. Weave in and employ your actual knowledge and experience, e.g., if you love ballet and are an avid ballet-goer, you could build your imagined life in a way that portrays your knowledge of and passion for dance. The reader would learn something interesting about you – and your prospective contribution to the social milieu of the program.
HEC MBA essay #5
Please choose from one of the following essays: (250 words maximum)
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 analyze it.
c) What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc.).
All these options are equally good – choose the one that resonates most with you; the one that you want to answer. It’s another opportunity to showcase your interests and passions. The “why” part is key: avoid platitudes, be specific and present focused, fresh insights.
HEC MBA essay #6
Is there any additional information you would like to share with us?(900 words max)
This question invites you to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender, a bad grade, etc.) as well as to present new material that will enhance your application. If you choose to do the latter, make sure it’s a point that contributes to a clear and full picture of your candidacy. They give you a lot of words to work with; don’t think that you must use all 900!
HEC Paris at a glance
HEC MBA average GMAT score: 690
Class size (Class of 2021): 281
HEC MBA acceptance rate: 18.9%
You’ve worked so hard to get to this point in your journey. Now that you’re ready for your next achievement, make sure you know how to present yourself to maximum advantage in your SCHOOL NAME application. In a hotly competitive season, you’ll want a member of Team Accepted in your corner, guiding you with expertise tailored specifically for you. Check out our flexible consulting packages today!
HEC Paris remaining MBA application deadlines for Jan 2023 intake
|Application due||Decision received|
|1 June 2022||9 July 2022|
|15 August 2022||17 September 2022|
|15 September 2022||22 October 2022|
|15 October 2022**||19 November 2022|
|15 November 2022**||17 December 2022|
*Application deadlines may be subject to change
** For non EU nationals, we encourage you to apply sooner due to housing and student visas
Source: HEC Paris website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
For expert guidance with your HEC Paris MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to top MBA programs and look forward to helping you too!
- Why MBA, a free guide to writing about your MBA goals
- HEC Paris MBA: Excellence, Diversity, and Community [Episode 302]
- How to Choose X Number of Essay Questions to Answer from Y Number of Choices