8 Helpful Hints to Nail the HEC Paris EMBA Admissions Essays

The sight of a blank page is often enough to give even seasoned mid-career professionals pause, more so when they need to fill those pages with the essays that help get them admitted to the HEC Paris Executive MBA program. This article, sourced directly from EMBA alumni, offers helpful hints and strategies and some friendly encouragement for getting those essays started, sorted, and finished.

The HEC Paris EMBA admissions essays is a crucial element in the candidate journey. As such, potentital candidates should seek help and advice to make sure they put their best foot forward. Who better to give tips on the admissions essay than the alumni that make up the Alumni Admissions panel? After all, before they were playing their fundamental role in determining candidate suitability for the program, they were candidates themselves.


What to keep in mind for your admissions essays

 For the lucky few who don’t suffer from white page syndrome, drafting your essay should be a breeze. Everyone else can keep reading.

 The process includes  several essays that help us know you better. These also help evaluators determine how you would fit with HEC Paris values and culture.

Writing essays about yourself includes the task of pausing your thoughts for a moment, looking in the rearview mirror, and imagining the future—at the same time.

It’s a rare opportunity for you to look back and reflect upon the path you have taken so far.

Think of your past personal or professional experiences, and even of the role models that you have or had. Leverage the decisive moments that made you who you are, and most importantly that helped you decide who you want to become. Childhood dreams, or the moments of truth that forged your temperament and your convictions—these all count. Then, put them into words, and you will discover how very inspirational such testimony can be.

The EMBA is transformational journey. Use it to refine the person you wish to become.

  1. Be yourself

The essay is an opportunity for you to present who you are and to share your experience and your thoughts. Don’t overcomplicate. Be yourself.

Give detailed examples or explanations in your answers. Real-life details have more impact than generic statements. Essays are about you and the journey that brought you to applying for the EMBA, and interviewers are looking for what makes each candidate unique. What *you* are bringing to the table is the most important.

HEC Paris EMBA classroom

  1. Ask for help!

It is in our nature to believe that everything we do is a masterpiece. Sometimes, this can be the case. Other times, not so much. Better to play it safe: ask someone from your inner circle to read your essays before submission. Are they clear? Are they well-structured? Do they address the questions? Are they interesting to read? Do they have typos?

  1. A process of self-selection

Your admission is, most of all, your own self-selection process. You choose the business school. You write the essays. You explain your motivation; keep that in mind when writing the essays. They make you shape your thoughts and revisit your choice. Take the time to get it right. If you find that answering the questions stretches your mind and deepens your understanding of certain experiences, you know you’re on the right track.

HEC Paris EMBA classroom

  1. Don’t be too brief…

You have a lot of space to write the essay, use it! Interviewers want to get to know you, and the essay is the first step before the interview. The more detailed your answers, the more information the interviewers will have before the interview. And this will make the interaction in the interview richer, and give you a better chance to showcase who you are.


  1. But don’t repeat yourself!

There are several essays you need to write, touching different topics. Use different cases from your experience for the essays. Avoid taking just one and using it across all your essays. First of all, it is boring for the admission jury to read them; second, limiting how much you share doesn’t give us a full picture of yourself.


  1. Discuss your plans

The HEC Paris EMBA is quite a commitment in terms of finances, time, and workload. For that reason, it’s important that you show you have thought out all aspects of enrolling in this program. Clarify your plans financially, your work arrangements, and that you have thought of contingencies if needed.

  1. Clean it up!

Polish your essays. They are an important part of your application and many people will read them. Imagine an essay full of typos and grammar mistakes that is not well structured and a pain to read. Really? Yes, that happens more often than you might think. You are an outstanding and highly successful professional. You can do much better than that!

  1. Contribute with ideas to solve a situation

Beyond answering the questions, you need to show how you can be able to take a step back in each situation and how you can contribute to resolve them (similar experiences, creativity, argumentation). You also need to make us understand how you will contribute when, for instance, you have to work on a business case with your classmate – how you can help them to improve themselves?

HEC Paris EMBA classroom



More CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have graduated from HEC Paris than any other university in Europe. Nearly 4,000 graduates are currently CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies. According to the Financial Times, the HEC Paris offers the best EMBA program in the world; click here to learn more.

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