INSEAD or HEC Paris, Which One Would You Choose for MBA?


INSEAD that fashions itself to be ‘the business school of the world’ and HEC Paris that holds ‘learning more to become more daring’ are institutions that attract a sizable number of MBA aspirants. Which one would you choose for your program?

INSEAD, the first in Europe to launch the MBA program, has campuses in Fontainebleau near Paris, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. The three places offer locational advantages of being prominent financial and business hubs.

HEC, with its campus, built around a 19th-century château, on a woodland close to the Versailles and Paris, also shares the location advantage.

The INSEAD’s MBA program is divided into five sections of 8-weeks that conclude with an exam, essay or project. The first three cover the 14 core courses that give students a thorough grounding in the business skills. The core courses include financial accounting, organizational behaviour, corporate financial policy and macroeconomics in the global economy.

The highest-salaried industry for graduates was finance, with an average annual salary package of €116,800 (US$137,365).  In consulting that figure was €110,500 (US$129,956), and for the industry in general – €94,500 (US$111,139).

The second part of the course, consisting of two sections, allows students to customize the program with a choice of 75 electives in more than 10 academic areas.

The students get to know about business practices in different cultures as they are allowed to switch campuses during this period. Several of the electives also have international travel options.

INSEAD also takes care to keep the content and curriculum constantly updated. The faculty ensures that students are aware of changing trends in the business and economic worlds.

In the case of HEC, the program is divided into two phases. The first is fundamental or core subjects and the second one, customized. The fundamental part is taken care of in eight months. It deals with several essential subjects including financial policy, management skills, accounting and other entrepreneurship essentials.

The next eight months form the customized period in which students could take up elective courses, specializations, international exchanges and fieldwork projects.

HEC also has two intakes, in September and January. The school also offers personalized career development programs.

In teaching, INSEAD promotes individuality. The faculty are free to choose the method they feel is most appropriate for the course and the class. Thus, there would be case studies, computer simulations, role-playing, project work and study tours.

Another feature of the program is that students are put into 6-member study groups of around six students at the beginning of the program. The groups are made as diversified as possible with the inclusion of a range of genders, nationalities, ages, experience levels and educational backgrounds. It allows for academic debates that enable students to understand various perspectives.

HEC Paris has creativity talks, weekly mentoring sessions with experienced entrepreneurs besides lectures and talks from top business leaders. The faculty has a tailored approach and lays stress on learning by working. Students get ample opportunities to put into practice the theoretical knowledge they had acquired.

The international and diverse nature of cohort allows them to evolve a multicultural approach to strategy and problem-solving.

INSEAD has 600 students in its most recent intake, 34% of whom are female and 90% international. As many as 75 nationalities are represented.

HEC has 232 students in the class of 2018, 34% female and 93% international students. The class has 52 nationalities represented.

The latest cohort at INSEAD has an average GMAT score of 707 and 5.7 years of work experience. In education background, 33% of the students had majored in business administration followed by 29% in engineering.

The average GMAT score for students at HEC is 690 this year, with an average of six years’ work experience. The most popular undergraduate major is engineering at 26%.

In terms of fees, INSEAD is more expensive than HEC. The school charges €82,000 (US$95,018) for the 2018 batch. For HEC, the fee for January 2018 intake is €62,000 (US$71,843) and for September intake €66,000 (US$76,478).

As far as employment is concerned, the Class of 2016 graduates reported having received an overall Annual Mean Salary of US$ 103,700 and an overall Annual Median Salary of US$ 102,500.

The school had stated that 89% of the December 2015 and July 2016 graduates secured employment within 3 months of graduation. Of them, 53% found their job via INSEAD’s career development center or the alumni network.

In terms of sectors, 46% of graduates pursued careers in management consulting, 14% in financial services, and 19% in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors.

In HEC, 92% of the 2015-2017 class had accepted a job offer within three months post-graduation and on average, doubled their pre-MBA salaries. The average base salary of graduates was around €86,300 (US$101,495), with around €17,500 (US$20,581) of annual benefits. The average sign-on bonus was around €14,200 (US$16700).

The highest-salaried industry for graduates was finance, with an average annual salary package of €116,800 (US$137,365).  In consulting that figure was €110,500 (US$129,956), and for the industry in general – €94,500 (US$111,139).

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