You are halfway through your first semester in HEC. It is a rough semester, with a lot of course work, and you are starting to wonder when you are going to get to pick your elective. You start going through last year’s list of electives, shortlisting a couple that look interesting. Then in December in comes the official list, and that is when you have to decide. How interesting will it be? How is it going to fit with next semester’s schedule?
We all go through this process, and I was no exception. It happens in almost all bachelor programs, so what was different this time around? HEC’s choice of electives was huge, from geopolitics to culture courses, with all management areas included. What surprised me the most was a course that seemed destined to me. As you might have seen in my Bio I want to develop a career in Entertainment, more specifically in the world of TV. So, when I saw that the Elective Catalog included a course called “The Global Revolution of TV Series”, I had no doubts.
Besides the course being at 9 AM on a Friday, the class was one of the most interesting if not the best I have had. The teacher was Mr. Pierre Ziemniak, an HEC alumnus and recent graduate. After graduating he published his thesis on the French TV series market, and started his career in the TV industry, where he currently is an Executive Assistant for the producers of the famous “Bureau des Légendes”. Across the bimester, we went over the Cultural and societal origins of TV series, the Economics of TV series and how the new Streaming platforms disrupted these models, and finally how this disruption is giving way to local content that is being exported globally (think Netflix series such as Dark or Casa de Papel).
I think you can easily imagine how happy I was to put to use the hundreds of hours spent binging TV series. This combined to the industry insides brought by Mr. Ziemniak produced a course that allowed the class to understand the fundamentals of the industry. Even with all that binge watching, I did not know the difference between a showrunner and an executive producer, or the origin of the term soap opera and how some of these ran for 50 years. Nevertheless, the highest point of the class was the presentation given by Alex Berger, the executive producer of “Bureau des Légendes”. A truly inspiring character, he went over how he had gone into the Television industry and more specifically how he had to struggle with Canal+ to implement the writing room structure to the “Bureau”, or even how he had talked the script over with French Intelligence to be sure he could deliver an amazing TV series.
Overall, my point is that to get the best experience possible out of your academic life in HEC you should look at the elective process as the opportunity to pursue a deep interest that you might not have had the chance to do it. These are the opportunities that a school like HEC offers and that you should welcome with open arms. I did, and could not be happier.