The beginning of the year at HEC is dedicated to Academies. These 3-week long activities offer both first-year students coming from the “prépa” track and Master 1 students the unique opportunity to explore different fields of work. Students have access to a variety of academies! Some are allowed to immerse themselves in a fire station or a hospital. Some choose to work for a newspaper company or a cultural institution while others shoot a movie or work on their writing, speaking or even coding skills. The choice is really extensive when one recalls that HEC Paris is a school of management.
I chose the Château de Versailles Academie to discover the organization at work behind this monument of the French heritage and to recover an appetite for culture upon which the time-consuming studies of the “classe prépa” had taken a great toll. A group of eight students, we were split up in teams of two to work in four different departments : marketing, cultural development, patronage and European Royal Résidences (a network you should definitely have a look at). I got to discover a crucial department for such an institution: patronage.
Indeed, the estate constantly needs new financial resources for it to be able to restore the works of art, the furniture but also the buildings themselves. The gardens need attention too: you can thus “adopt” a statue, a bench or even a tree!
Currently, the Royal Chapel is undergoing a major restoration (starting with its roof) thanks to the patronage of the Fondation Philanthropia, that has also made possible the restoration of the Latona fountain. They even made a dedicated website for the latter but what stroke me the most was the spectacular before/after restoration.
What’s more, we got to visit the Palace twice with a wonderful person that led us through rooms that are only opened for guided tours, if at all. We also made the most out of our lunch breaks, wandering around the Palace and the gardens, going to the Trianon. If the weather wasn’t always ideal, at least we avoided the continuous flow of tourists (that are commonplace during the summer)!
At the end of our third and last week at the office, we were even allowed to meet briefly with the president, Mrs Catherine Pégard. And we became patrons of the palace with the operation “Patronage Token”.
This time off campus allowed me to get a taste of what working in an office for a cultural institution can be like. I think it is, for all of us, a great opportunity to prepare our future.
I would therefore like to finish by thanking the Château de Versailles’ departments that welcomed us for this short period of time.
PS: Whether you are an international or a French (even a Parisian !) student, I highly recommend you make the trip to the Palace, it is really worth it. I don’t know if the International Society will do it again but they organized a day trip to visit in November. There is also a bus that leaves right in front of the campus and drops you off at the station Versailles Château Rive Gauche (that is a 5-minute walk away from the entrance to the Palace).
Peristyle of the Grand Trianon – Crédit : EPV / Thomas Garnier
The Love monument in the English Gardens of the Petit Trianon – Crédit : EPV / Thomas Garnier
The Queen’s Hamlet – Crédit : EPV / Thomas Garnier
Crédit photo aérienne : EPV / BeDrone