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HEC Paris Essay Advice

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? (Maximum 500 words)

This essay is a classic MBA application essay. It will be important to clearly explain how your career goals are aligned with your past experience and skill set. Many people are very ambitious about their post-MBA goals and wish to make a major career change. While this is perfectly acceptable and I always encourage people to use the MBA to pursue their dream job, for the purposes of the application it is important to be realistic. A business school wants to be sure that their program will allow you to achieve your goals and most importantly to find a job afterward. MBA rankings are closely tied to students’ career outcomes and if you are set on a goal that is not realistic you might ultimately hurt the school’s statistics and their rankings. That is why it is critical that your goal, while it can be to work in a different industry or role, is ultimately an extension of your current skill set and experience.

Essay #2: What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (Maximum 250 words)

This question asks about your most significant life achievement, not a professional achievement. With business schools, we are often programmed to only think about our professional lives. Do not make that mistake here! This is an opportunity to share more about who you are as a person. What are your values and your proprieties? What are your interests? These are questions that allow someone to get to know you better. This is a difficult question but you should think about your personal life and what you are most proud of. Even if the example might seem insignificant to you, if it adds color to who you are as a person it can be a strong topic for this essay. 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. (Maximum 250 words)

You are being asked to find a situation in which you found leadership and ethics to be intertwined and how you dealt with the situation, and all in 250 words! This is certainly a challenging topic to write about. To go about this question, you can think of a time when you faced an ethical dilemma and took a leadership position or a stance and made a decision based on your beliefs. Or you can think about a time when someone in your company in a leadership role faced an ethical dilemma and either acted in a way that you agreed or disagreed with. Once you have the situation in mind, the rest of the essay should flow more easily. You should follow the STAR interview method (situation, task, action, result). The situation and task description can be joined together for you to provide the background. Spend the majority of the time on the action and result, which will answer how you dealt with the ethical issues that you encountered and how they influenced you. Essay #4: Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (Maximum 250 words)

This essay is not a typical MBA essay but ultimately the goal is to get to know you better. Here you need to find the right balance between sharing what your dream life would look like and maintaining a professional tone. This essay does not need to be about your dream job. It can be but be cautious in how this dream job relates to your post MBA goals in essay #1. You do not want to contradict yourself. You can instead use this essay to share what you are passionate about. If you had no worries and could devote your life to anything at all, what would your life look like? How would you spend your time? How would you make a difference? There is no right or wrong topic here. This is an extremely personal essay so try to share another side of yourself, beyond what you have already mentioned in other essays or the extracurriculars that are on your resume. Essay #5: Please choose from one of the following essays:

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 analyse it.

c) What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc).

(Maximum 250 words)

With three choices to this essay, you have the opportunity to be creative. Pick a topic that allows you to show another of your many interests. Ultimately the portion of this essay that will stand out to the reader is the why and how you explain your choice. You have the opportunity to share how you think about the world with this question. Think about how you are trying to brand yourself throughout the application and make sure that your answer feels true to the image that you are carefully crafting.


What sets Oriel Admissions apart from other admissions consulting companies? I provide highly a personalized service and work around your busy schedule. Your application will truly be your application, only the absolute best version that it could be. We never take a formulaic approach when guiding you.

Rona is an Oxford MBA graduate and she has successfully assisted clients in applying to HEC Paris as well as other top programs both in the US and internationally. If you would like to learn more about my services and how I can help you with your applications, please contact Rona at for a free consultation.

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