Trip to HEC Paris
As my taxi navigates the wide and bustling street of Paris and the taxi driver mumbled that he hoped I had enough Euros, I quickly realized that my trip from the Rue de Castiglione to HEC Paris would be no ordinary trip. It wasn’t.
45 minutes and thousands of stooping trees later, my driver turned off the narrow roads seemingly built for the Tour de France, and we arrived at HEC Paris. On fairly short notice…okay – very short notice, I was granted/gifted a meeting with Luciano Rolon, the associate director of development. The newly-designed campus, enclosed within a building created in the last two years, was visually spellbinding. When I turned right after checking into the lobby, I was surprised at how open, massive, and stately it appeared. If Luciano had scolded me on not bringing my polo shirt for our afternoon horse ride, I would have apologized (he didn’t). Frankly, it felt like a French version of Downton Abbey and my corporate casual dress of blazer with shirt and jeans and felt inadequate.
I heard four languages (French, English, Spanish, and I think German) spoken during a 25 -minute span. Three by Luciano himself, with various students who were milling around at student cafe in the main building. Though I didn’t have a chance to visit the various students, two things stood out worth mentioning: 1) They are global in perspective, comfort (and language); 2) They are tight-knit with the administrators. At many schools we have visited, the people in admissions are not known or addressed by current students one they are accepted into the program. Luciano was treated like Roger Federer on is way to a Wimbledon match: Engaged with by various students with a few hugs. More than anything I saw, those relationships underlined how special an institution this school is.
I certainly hope to return and will be ready to experience this majestic campus on the edge of Paris. For any high-achieving applicants seeking an immersion in a phenomenal program housed within one of the exciting economies of Europe, HEC Paris is highly recommended.