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Real Humans of the HEC Paris MBA Class of 2023

hec paris mba class

hec paris mba classKajus Kietz, HEC Paris MBA Class of 2023

Age: 28
Hometown: Wichtrach, Switzerland
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Toronto, German Literature 

Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry)
I founded a restaurant consulting business 3 years ago, “The Toronto Epicurean,” where I consulted clients like the restaurant in The Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, about making menus more local / sustainable. One of the cheeses I connected them with, a water buffalo parmesan made locally in Prince Edward County, Ontario, was featured in a “Ravioli Doppi” for a winter and sold out almost every day it was featured.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I felt that I needed to learn some of the necessary hard skills associated with business, especially because my undergraduate degree was in no way, shape or form business related. I also wanted to pivot away from the food service sector and be closer to family in Europe. I was originally accepted into the Summer 2020 batch, but COVID put a spanner in the works. I deferred and here I am now, as part of the Summer 2021 cohort. Happy I made that choice!

Why did you choose HEC? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
HEC Paris has a partnership with Station F, the world’s largest start-up facility, where I would love to work on an idea that I hopefully manage to develop during my time at business school. In addition to that, the highly international cohort will offer a range of perspectives that will contribute towards developing strong interpersonal skills in a range of business environments.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
Well, I recently got voted as the one who’d be most likely to risk it all for success. Let’s hope my risks (in business) pay off!

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I won a bronze medal at Swiss Nationals in 200m breaststroke when I was 16.

Post-MBA career interests:
Successful entrepreneur and social impact project starter.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would totally do my interviews again, both alumni who interviewed me were great people and were genuinely interested in me as a person as well as an academic. It wasn’t just about them asking me a script of questions, but also the fact that they took time out of other days (not just the interview one) to answer additional questions I had about the program and their time there.

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I think if I changed or did something differently, I may have not ended up at HEC Paris, so to answer this question I will answer: nothing!

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Everything is just part of the process… so I wouldn’t say I’d skip anything. The most challenging part of the application was the GMAT, however. I didn’t have a math background going into it and felt like I was learning a lot of the concepts from scratch. I sat the exam twice and the 2nd time produced a score I was happy with. What helped me get through it? Stoicism.

What is your initial impression of the HEC students/culture/community?
Absolutely lovely.

What is one thing you have learned about HEC that has surprised you?
We don’t have classes in the château.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
My application was filled out and submitted in January 2020, before COVID hit Europe and North America, so I don’t think COVID had an impact in my application process.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Starting up a first business and getting it up and out of the gates!

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
We just voted on which MBAT team we’d like to see organize the tournament in May, and I’m excited to see what this cohort’s MBAT team will put together for the MBAT tournament! For those who don’t know, the MBAT is like the Olympics, but for MBA students and with sports as well as not-just-sports events.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2023, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: HEC Paris

About the Author

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Lauren Wakal

Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.

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