Sunday, November 06, 2005

Staying alive

The pace is still unrelenting. After attending the school's inaugural conference on Sustainable Development, I started the first week of the Personalized Phase (PP) with 35 hours of classes, excluding lunch breaks. I am not exaggerating. Fortunately, we have much fewer assignments and presentations than in the core phase but it's still quite a lot of work.

In the PP, students can specialize in four subjects (called tracks) - Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing or Strategy. Although I'm pursuing a career in finance after the MBA, I chose the Entrepreneurship track. I simply figured I'd learn more if I specialized outside of my professional experience. Besides the curriculum is flexible enough that I can also pick classes in finance and in other areas.

To meet the credit requirements for this term, we are expected to earn 24 credits for a total of 210 class hours. These figures exclude the French classes (six hours a week) that non-fluent speakers must take. From speaking to exchange students at HEC, it seems that we're saddled with more class hours even though our program is shorter.

Here are the numbers:
325 hours of core classes
399 hours of track and elective courses
80 hours of compulsory personal development courses (leadership, communication, conferences, business simulations, etc).

So after 16 months in the HEC program, each participant will have endured 804 hours in the classroom, plus an extra 132 hours for those who weren't exempted from French and an additional 132 hours for the brave ones who want to learn a third language. I wonder how these figures compare with those of other schools.

I'm very impressed with the quality of teaching this term, as many classes are taught by professionals. They include the ex-CEO of Louis Vuitton Malletier and Yves Sain-Laurent, the CEO and owner of an investment fund, and an investment banker from Rothschild who worked in London, Paris and New York. The drawback with this setup is that many of these 18-hour classes are squeezed into a few days to accomodate their schedule.

My classes this term are:
Core/Required Classes
Corporate Valuation.. DONE
Management Control.. DONE
Entrepreneurship Track.. ONGOING

Electives
Business Plan Workshop (write an actual BP for a startup).. ONGOING
Private Equity.. DECEMBER
Mergers and Acquisitions.. DONE
Marketing of Luxury Products.. DONE
Takeover of a Company in Bankruptcy (in French).. DONE
Negotiation and Created Agreement.. DONE
Corporate Marketing.. STARTING

Anyway, I have a busy week ahead as I'm going with four other classmates to the Net Impact Conference at Stanford (17-hour plan ride) and have three big projects due the week after. I hope my hotel will have Internet access.

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