The HEC Paris EMBA admissions interview is a vital part of the application process.
Along with the essay portion, its benefits extend far beyond prospective admission to the world’s top EMBA program. It doubles both as a dress rehearsal for being a student again, and for the universally useful practices of introspection and self-reflection.
It is, in short, a chance to tell the panel how you plan to make the most of your EMBA experience.
Invitation to the interview means you’ve already passed the first hurdle toward admission. You should feel good about that! It means that you stand out of the crowd of EMBA hopefuls.
Among your interviewers will be alumni of the HEC Paris EMBA. Obviously, they understand precisely what you’re going through; after all, they were in your shoes not long ago. It’s always prudent to listen to the advice of those who have been there, done that, for any difficult task.
We asked alumni for some tips— from their unique perspective as having “been there, done that”, as former EMBA candidates and as current interviewers— to help you prepare for the HEC Paris EMBA admissions interview.
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Don’t worry too much about technical questions. The most important thing is to be able to show that your overall thinking process is solid and that you have the right instincts for somebody with management experience. What you present doesn’t matter as much as how you do it: interviewers do not ask questions to look for correct or wrong answers, but to try and assess your fit to HEC Paris and potential contributions to the class. The best way for this is for you to be natural and the interview will flow freely.
2. Think Big
Consider how you will contribute to your classmates and to the HEC Paris community in general. Most candidates talk about what they expect to gain from the experience but not much from what they will bring in. Think about what makes you unique and what differentiates you from your future colleagues and how that can contribute to the class.
Like you, there are many hugely talented individuals who ask themselves the same questions, but each story is unique. We’d love to learn more about you and the projects you hold dear. Walk us through the journey of your career so far. Be specific about what brings you to HEC and what we can do together. The HEC EMBA is also about nurturing ties with fellow alumni, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.
3. Be open and authentic
Make sure to understand the questions that are asked from you.
Be open to feedback and to the perspectives that might be offered by a jury member. One of the worst things is when candidates are defensive and not willing to accept other points of view. Remember, the interview is your chance to tell us what really drives you and what makes your application so singular. This is the moment you have been waiting and preparing for, for some time now. If you manage to convey your talking points purposefully, you would have made a strong impression.
During the interview, the idea is to understand you. In other words, beyond your motivation, how you are different? What makes you unique? How could your personality be an asset for the community? So, what is important is to let us understand who you are and, in what you believe.
4. Rock the business case
Get the attention of your jury by presenting an engaging presentation.
During the interview, going straight to the point with consistently solid argumentation in your point of view is also a way to engage your audience.
Most candidates will go over the business case using the supporting questions. That is acceptable if your analysis is solid— but do you want to stand out? Surprise us and use storytelling. Cover the obvious and the hidden facts, speculate with the situation and build a strategic solution offering a few options. This will allow you to demonstrate the best of you.
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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