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Introduction

I am Sunny Soni, B.Tech (Mechanical Engineering) 2018 graduate. I am currently pursuing a Masters in Management in HEC Paris        

What was your Motivation in going for future studies over a job?

There were 2 major reasons which framed my motivation to go for higher studies.

Firstly, when I was doing my internship at EY, I was able to give out ideas but realized that I lack the understanding of basic concepts of management/business viz. Finance, stepwise Strategy, Law, Consumer Understanding. That’s when the thought of ‘making a strong base rather than struggling and learning on the job’ struck my mind.

Secondly, during my time at IIT-B, I was able to attend business and social conferences – both on the national and international levels. During the interaction with my fellow delegates, I realized that I was enjoying learning about social causes and business on the international level. These positive interactions put me in the doubt “Whether I’ll be able to enjoy the international environment if I take up a job right now” because getting an international MBA was a far distant thought at that time.

Additionally, as I had always tried doing not so common things, I wanted to do something different and simply not take up the path of choosing a well-paying job in India.

What was the motivation for choosing a Management program, and what were some other options that you thought of?

Like most of my friends, I wasn’t sure about in which sector I really want to work in the long run because – 1) I didn’t have work experience (intern in our case) in all major sectors and 2) I didn’t have the basic theoretical knowledge of all major sectors. Hence, the most obvious choice left to me was doing a Master’s in Management degree, which allows you to study and explore different sectors all together before actually start working in a particular sector.

Some other options which appealed to me were a specialized master’s in a couple of fields – Finance and Strategy but rather than convincing myself to pick one over the other, I went ahead with a generic degree (and I’m happy that I chose this because the world is not only about Finance or Strategy).

Did you have any specific motivation for choosing HEC over some other places like in Asia, Australia, and Europe or the USA?

Choosing HEC Paris over any other college was a very strategic move.

MIM degree is definitely not so famous in the USA (started just a decade ago) and the country already has world-famous MBA programs; hence, nobody would recognize a MIM graduate over there.

The second obvious choice (area wise) to study management was Europe. MIM is the most famous degree in Europe and it’s been running successfully for more than a century now. There were 2 options in Europe – English speaking countries and non-English speaking countries. Although my obvious choice would have been the UK but there were 2 constraints – 1) UK had terrible visa scenarios (they just changed it for the next year onwards, a positive sign now) and 2) The most famous MiM school of UK – London Business School offers 1-year MiM course, something which doesn’t allow you to explore more before finalizing on something.

Rankings and Economic Situation were the 2 major benchmarks for choosing HEC Paris over any other school. It’s been ranked in the top 2 for decades and the specialized master courses are ranked 1 most of the time. These combined with a strong reputation of Indians (even the IITs) in France motivated me to apply to HEC Paris.

A question that the students should ask themselves before applying for a Management program abroad 

“What do you enjoy more – Exploring or going with the well-proven path/flow?”

Any exam tips, application tips, links to any personal blogs etc

Exam tips  – All management schools ask for a GMAT score, which I believe our insti people can score easily in.

Application tips – It’s always advisable to research a lot about your dream school, connect with Alumni (both Indian and international). On top of that, your application should connect all the dots (undergrad, internships, extra-curries) and frame a story to show that you actually need this program. A common mistake should be avoided – Write your essays, SOPs specific to the school’s requirements and structure of the program. Most of the candidates just change the last paragraph of the essay/SOP; one should always write every sentence, every motivation point relevant to the school. Admission committees have been screening applications for decades, they know what is common to every school and what is specific to every school.

Personal Blog – Coming soon 🙂

Factors considered in choosing the university and country 

Experience

What do you think are the differences between IITB and the current University in terms of say:

Faculty – I guess it will be unfair to compare the faculty as such, because of the 2 different foreseen outcomes. IIT-B faculty members want us to become engineers and serve accordingly; hence, they still stick to more theoretical concepts and applications in research (I completely agree that the industrial application of concepts is still missing in our insti).

On the other hand, HEC Paris faculty members might not be that academically sound but they actually know what works in the outside world; hence, everything is taught as per the industries’ and society’s needs.

Facilities – Being a govt. funded college as compared to private school (HEC Paris), the state of the art facilities are very different. Again, it’s not ideal to compare them on this basis.

Friends and Social Life (also if any culture shocks): This is something very important. Living in the free environment of insti, where you can wear whatever you want, live however you want, talk to friends however you want, makes you a free individual free of the pressure of societal judgment. This is slightly untrue in the case of international B-schools because living among international people won’t give you that much freedom which you would enjoy in insti. IIT-B gives you friendships without asking for any help in return. Friendships and social life in B-schools are acts of networking, which are, again, necessary for the outside world. You can, obviously, make great friends here too, who will be with you throughout your life without any judgment but this percentage is less than that of insti’s.

Significant difficulties (like say finances, research and colleagues, adjusting family life, marriage, etc.)

Finances are definitely one of the key major difficulties one would face while studying abroad. Yes, you will be living among rich Europeans who tend to spend a lot but the confidence of positive ROI (after your graduation) will help you adjust accordingly.

Language is another difficulty. Very few French people speak English (it’s done only on the corporate level). There are 2 ways to live with it – 1) learn the local language completely and 2) learn some basic daily usage terms, go out with friends (at least helps in translating) and use the availability of technology (google translate, etc.). To be frank, it was difficult for the first few months, it has become a part of life nowadays.

What are some key takeaways you have from your experience in Paris, and in Europe?

It’s been a completely different experience. Studying, living, and working with people coming from different backgrounds, completely different cultures, and languages is always an enriching experience. This journey opens up the mind to different thoughts and gives you the power to appreciate something which is completely different from you and what you’ve seen throughout your life.

What are your Future plans?

HEC Paris allows you to do something different. You’ve got the possibility of taking a professional gap year between the 2 years of study and explore different sectors by doing different internships. I’m presently doing my internship with Procter & Gamble, Paris and will complete 2 more internships in different companies and different countries. After gaining an understanding of different sectors, different working environments and different countries, I’ll choose my specialization (for the second year of my master’s) accordingly. It can be a specialization in Strategy, Finance or Data Management or a completely different thing – known as CEMS (allows you to officially get the management degree from 2 different schools in the world), just to explore another country, another culture, another studying environment.

Any advice that you’d like to give to the students?

All of these things look fancy from a broader view but don’t get fascinated by something which you think you’re not going to enjoy. The decision of studying abroad is something which shouldn’t be regretted (because of high financials, the peak time of your life, etc.). Hence, enjoy the IIT-B life (I still miss it), I can assure you that this is the best place to explore and learn more about yourself. Drill down your interests to 2-3 major ones and then explore whatever you feel confident about.