Student clubs are a vivid part of student life at HEC Paris. With more than 80 different student clubs and societies, it’s even quite hard to decide to which organizations you want to dedicate your time. But sometimes, the choice becomes quite obvious.
On my first day at HEC three years ago, I noticed students, all wearing the same red sweats with an embroidered Superman logo on their backs. They were welcoming international students with large smiles and friendly faces, and I couldn’t help but go and talk to them.
One of them told me that they were all members of a student club called HEC International Society (“HEC IS”). This society was created 10 years ago and is now the largest student-led organization with some 50 French and international elected members. They organize many events such as two welcome weeks, weekends in French regions, dinners, and huge parties. HEC IS also helps international students to develop their own clubs and societies, with latter examples including HEC Seed, HEC Business Game and HEC CEMS Club.
As everyone can join these events, I decided to attend their Wine & Cheese Tasting in order to learn more about this club. I spent the evening talking with students coming from all over the world and with staff members who were enthusiastically happy to share their experiences and best memories of HEC IS. I enjoyed this first event so much that I attended all the following events. Thus, step by step, I got involved in the organization of these exciting activities under the supervision of the second-year members.
A few months later, I joined the HEC IS board as General Secretary. My role was to supervise the organization of the events by coordinating the different teams (communication, sponsoring, on and off campus teams, etc). During these two intense years, I’ve learned three things:
- HEC is getting more and more international, and for its students, it’s an invaluable opportunity to discover new horizons
My best memory of my experience as an HEC IS member is the Welcome Week we organized in September to welcome 1000 foreign students. During this intense week, we offered students to participate in several dinners, barbecues, visits of Paris and Versailles. We ended the week with an amazing party on a boat with a cruise on the Seine. The whole idea was to get the foreign students to get to know each other, Paris, the campus, and last but not least, us! I could meet many students from different countries and share special moments with them. Most of them are now part of my best friends. Thanks to them, I’ve become more open-minded and aware of how big the world is, which made me feel like making two exchange semesters in Australia and China.
- When you’re strongly involved in a student society that you deeply love, you learn a lot about how to work in a team, how to manage projects and how to achieve your goals
Working as an active IS member was really exciting. Every morning (or afternoon) I woke up, I knew that the day would be full of projects and initiatives to improve my club and the student life at HEC. I was working with awesome people with a “just do it” mindset on thrilling projects, so we could greatly improve the HEC experience of the foreign students on the campus. Thanks to this hands-on experience, I developed essential skills such as teamwork spirit, passion for achievement, leadership and rigor that will be useful in my professional life.
- Studying at HEC is not only about studying in a great business school, it’s above all belonging to a great family
If I enjoyed so much my student life at HEC, it’s because of the strong relationships I’ve built with the other members of my society. When you study, work, and live with members of such an active student club, these people become your best friends. Furthermore, as a member of IS, you also get very close to the former members of the club, including alumni who graduated before you joined HEC. You can meet these people during afterworks or team-building weekends. They are always ready to take time to share their experience with you and give you precious advice. For me, it is what makes my club unique.
To conclude, I will be graduating in a few months and I know that in ten years, when I remember my years at HEC, I will immediately think about these two years as an HEC IS member. But what makes me the happiest is to know that this society will keep on evolving following the school strategic trends, and I can’t wait to see what future student generations do with the club!