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HEC Paris: The Best MBA Program in France

With nearly 1000 AACSB-accredited business schools and over 250,000 MBA students worldwide, aspiring business leaders may find themselves overwhelmed with options. Lucky for you, The Best MBA Program in… is taking a look at the top B-schools around the world, organized according to country. Today, we are heading to France!

Boasting one of Europe’s largest and most advanced economies, France is home to a number of highly ranked MBA programs. In addition to providing a world-class education, students at French B-schools have the chance to explore finance, the arts, fashion, gastronomy, and all that one of the world’s cultural capitals has to offer. With nearly 80% of the French economy dedicated to service industries, France is a particularly great place to study business at the intersection of Big Data, AI, Sustainable Innovation, and Finance. So what sets HEC Paris apart?

HEC Paris

In 1881, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris founded the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) as a business school to keep pace with the advances of the Industrial Revolution. In 1958—nearly eighty years later—HEC christened its MBA program as a response to the Harvard-style B-schools that were gaining greater prominence in the international business world. Since then, HEC Paris has consistently performed well in rankings, currently sitting near the top of all major polls, including the top 5 European MBA programs.

Program Structure

A 16-month residential MBA, the HEC Paris curriculum is divided into two phases, each consisting of two terms. The first, the Fundamental Phase, covers the core curriculum essential to any business education. These courses include Financial Accounting and Reporting, Managerial Economics, Ethics and Sustainability, and Organizational Behavior. The second—the Customizable Phase—is broken into two parts. During the two terms of this phase, students may customize their education by mixing and matching a combination of an international exchange at one of over thirty top business schools such as Booth, Kellog, or London Schools of Business; a specialization in fields like Finance, Strategic Marketing, Data and AI for Business, and Sustainable and Disruptive Innovation; a social impact project; an MBA project; eight electives; or an entrepreneurship project plus four electives. Students at HEC Paris have a great deal of freedom to customize their education as they carve out their unique niche in the business world.

Student Life

HEC Paris accepts 300 students each year. Of these, 93% are international students, representing over 60 countries. Unsurprisingly, one of the key benefits of HEC is the school’s extensive global alumni network, including more CEOs of Fortune 500 companies than any other university in Europe. These numbers track just behind Harvard and Stanford on the global scale. In addition, HEC Paris fosters an entrepreneurial environment among the student body. Though many are recruited by top companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Schneider Electric, and Société Générale, a solid 25% of students start their own businesses. This entrepreneurial spirit is further reinforced by HEC pitch competitions, creativity talks, and rigorous mentoring through both HEC faculty and world-renowned entrepreneurs. Additionally, career development services play a major role in students’ education, with the Career Center offering workshops on CV and interview preparation, international business etiquette, and pitching, and also hosting numerous guest speakers from different companies, excursions to global business headquarters, career fairs, case-study competitions, and much more.


Since the 1800s, HEC Paris has built a reputation as one of the best business schools, not only in France but in the world. HEC Paris’s MBA, in particular, provides a world-class education and access to a robust alumni network of over 68,000 individuals, providing graduates with opportunities and mentorship long after the program’s 16 months have run their course. Of these alumni, 4,000 are head executives of companies or have founded their own companies. Additionally, the alumni network consists of 80 international chapters, 60 professional clubs, and over 1000 events organized each year.

According to the 2021 Employment Report, 93% of HEC Paris graduates accepted an offer of employment within three months of graduation, earning an average annual salary of $128,628 USD. Of these job offers, 68% were acquired through school-facilitated opportunities. HEC’s 2021 graduates also demonstrated major changes to the sector, function, and location of their work, with 40% changing all three upon graduation. The 2021 Employment Report contains detailed data regarding salaries, job offers, sectors, recruiters, and much more. We suggest that any interested applicants read the report.

In summary, the HEC Paris MBA is a world-class program that provides not only a high-caliber education but also transformative opportunities for business students all over the world. Recent graduates demonstrate concrete and verifiable returns on tuition through increased salary, positive changes to the sector, function, and location of one’s work, and access to a well-connected and highly-developed alumni network.

If you want to hone your MBA applications and find your perfect program, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of Crimson’s expert advisors. We can’t wait to meet you!

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