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HEC Paris Clubs: Forging Connections & Creating Opportunities

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“Clubs are clearly a must-have, and helped make my studies at HEC Paris a success.”

Laury Jacot, HEC Paris MBA ‘23
MBA Specialization:
Pre-MBA Work Experience:  6 years in the automotive industry
Current Employer & Title: Co-Founder
HEC Paris Clubs: Founder and President, HEC Paris MBA Blockchain Club; Advisor, HEC Paris MBA Blockchain Club

How have clubs influenced your experience at HEC Paris, in particular regarding finding a job/career niches, internship, networking, and educational value?
Most of the network and opportunities I have built come from the Blockchain Club. While the HEC Paris brand catches people’s attention and opens doors to networking, it is the club’s presence that permitted me to create content for discussion. I wished to work on projects related to Web 3.0, which is not that common among the alumni. Having a club created a direct link with companies related to Web3.0 and caught people’s attention. I also joined some events with the Retail and Luxury, Consulting, and  Finance clubs. Overall, if well executed, being in a club is a way to unleash the potential of studying at HEC Paris.

Tell us about the Blockchain Club. What are the goals/activities of the organization? Why did you found it?
The main goal was for the members to get to know more about blockchain. Firstly to educate about blockchain: What is it and how does it work? Secondly, how can we be part of it? As MBAs have many different skills (marketing, strategy, finance, law, engineering, etc.), it all fits what a company needs; it is not tech only. Lastly, if we do not join a pure Web3 company, how Web3 by itself comes to us. Basically, what interests corporate companies have in blockchain and Web3, what opportunities does it bring and why should we consider learning about it.

To do so, we organized a lot of talks (online and in-person), open to everybody at HEC (MBAs, EMBAs, Grande écoles), but also alumni and people from outside. Since these talks were mostly about learning, we judged it should be accessible to anybody interested in the field. We joined many major conferences across Europe such as NFT Paris, Paris Blockchain Week, Metaverse Summit, European Blockchain Convention, Crypto Valley Convention etc. We organized a career week in Paris to visit multiple companies’ HQs. The club also connected with a high number of other clubs from schools spread all over the world, leading to additional opportunities.

Finally, we organized a major event in October in collaboration with Tezos and Blockchain at Polytechnique, an opportunity to gather more than 100 people on campus to work on web3.0. projects, from different schools, countries, backgrounds. It was an amazing experience for everyone. At the end of the year, we even had the chance to contribute to the organization of the very first Blockchain Conference at the Ministry of Interior (S.B.M.I.).

Another reason for creating the club was to create a link with the school, and push to show interest in web3, whether through the creation of a masterclass or even a dedicated certificate. We wanted to connect with companies to have them attend HEC recruiting fairs and any other relevant events.

What should MBA candidates consider when trying to decide which clubs to join?
Students need to consider why they want to join a club. Many people join multiple clubs with a fear of missing out on events. In the end, the events are open to anyone on campus. Hence, the best question is: what do you want to invest your time in? Is it something you want to explore, an experience you want to live? Is it something you want to leverage for your career or just for fun? Basically, what do you wish to get out of it? Some people joined the Blockchain Club out of curiosity, to learn. Others were already convinced by blockchain and took the opportunity to build their network and gain in visibility for their professional projects.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Each MBA experience is different. While some students will get the most out of it thanks to a club, others will benefit mostly from an internship, social life, or the course itself. I would then say there is no obligation to join a club. However, we hardly measure the benefits of it until joining one and actually making things happen. As the structure of the clubs often changes, the results may vary and so does the experience. It is quite a good exercise for students to see what more they can achieve compared to the previous batch. We are currently open to discussing collaboration and future events anytime, the new structure is being formed and we hope this year will be as positive if not more than 2022.

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.