Usually at this time of the year, as a professional basketball player, I am either locked in the gym to work on my craft, in the weight room trying to get bigger or on the track and field chasing the best time!
This summer has been a little bit different, I decided to go back to school. I used my resources (playing for the French national team allows you to get a “formation” for free) to apply for HEC summer school. Quickly I got in touch with Elyse Michaels-Begrer, the director of the summer program, passed some tests on the phone to evaluate my English and of course some online questions where they ask about your motivation, background etc etc
A couple of weeks later, we were travelling for a game, when I find out that I was accepted!! Super happy about the news, I told one of my teammates and he basically killed my vibe saying : “Why would you do that?”
Why did I join HEC Summer School?
As funny as it sounds, growing up my dad (professional player for 15 years and now professional coach) was BIG on school. He really didn’t care much about Basketball but he was always on me for school. So even though it was clearly the opposite for me I guess he succeeded in teaching the importance of school and education. Watching him studying for years while he was still playing was also am inspiration. Now that I am growing up, getting more mature and extending my hobbies I understand that knowledge IS power. I have been in couple of situations these last couple of years with some very successful people and I couldn’t keep up the conversation, which was incredibly frustrating, but helped me to realize the importance of higher education. Even though it’s not easy being a professional athlete there are many way to gain knowledge, and joining this summer school was one of them.
Also joining HEC was a chance for me to be part of this family. Indeed HEC is one of the top business schools in the world and has a tremendous network to help young student like myself find various opportunities. I connected with great people during this two weeks, people from different countries, with different backgrounds and aspirations, but all very open minded.
The HEC experience
Everything was better than I expected (except the fact that HEC Paris is actually 30km away from Paris!).
In my mind I thought we were going to study for 8 hours a day straight, no break, teacher would talk so fast I wouldn’t be able to take notes, after the class we would have to study again and again…and basically those two weeks would have been extremely hard and intense for me: someone who has not been to school for years! But it was ok , I felt pretty good in class, I was always trying to participate in order to keep my focus up, professor were very educationalist so everything went smoothly… I have also finally been introduced to the “Nespresso” and I can finally admit that it helped a lot!
The Luxury Management program that I chose was exactly what I was looking for, it allowed me to assimilate some universal management and business concepts/laws needed in my own businesses but that can also be applied to different sectors. We started by learning the history of luxury which is a very significant part of French culture, then quickly we learnt how to examine/evaluate a brand and the different strategies that they use and also how to develop it and make it more attractive. It was the whole goal of our group project : choose a brand and find solutions to develop it… Well I’am going to cut off any type of suspense, my group and I killed it, we finished on the podium which was pretty cool knowing that 10 others projects didn’t had this chance. During this group project I really felt like being already in the professional world gave me a different position compared to my partners who were still studying at university, so it was a great chance for me to lead this project.
This HEC experience was priceless for me, I have no regrets at all choosing it over vacation. I am seeing it as the first step of my educational ‘comeback’, I will definitely dig deeper into what we learnt and I will definitely stay in touch with all the amazing and talented people that I met there.
Big thanks to Elyse Michaels-Berger and the French Basketball federation for allowing me to take this next step.