Now, there is no perfect way to respond to the given prompt of questions from HEC. HEC bears in mind a variety of factors when reviewing applications, from your background to your schooling to your work experience and beyond. However, the question response section is the perfect opportunity to highlight your unique qualities and experiences that set you apart.
The HEC recruitment team is asking you to convince them through your words alone that you are the right match.
An important skill taught by many professors at HEC is the art of marketing yourself. The ability to show your confidence in a range of skills is a tremendous asset, not only in applying to graduate schools but for job interviews as well.
Here are a few tips as you begin to write:
- Brainstorm your best qualities that would set you apart from a line-up of 60 other candidates.
Are you an accountant by trade with a soft spot for non-profit work? Had a killer internship working hands-on at a consulting firm? An engineer with a technical background hoping to round out your skills set with a business foundation? Have you had no business experience whatsoever but can clearly express your enthusiasm for one specific line of study at HEC?
- Use specific examples of times these qualities or skills were demonstrated
Don’t just say you’re a “hard worker” “ambitious” or “driven” – show it. Given an example of a specific project or competition that allowed you to highlight your leadership skills, what you specifically contributed to it, and how the result would have not been the same had it not been for your contribution. If you prefer to shy away from the spotlight in projects, perhaps recount a narrative that illustrates your detail-orientation, stating the approximate number of hours you worked on a deliverable to get it just right.
- Articulate why you would choose HEC specifically over other schools
The recruiter sees you would be a perfect fit – for any of the other top business schools. Why did you apply to HEC specifically? Are you looking for opportunities in Paris or France after your studies? Can you speak French, or are interested in French culture? If it is for the reputation, what specific connection interests you – the ties to large banking, consulting, luxury marketing firms etc.?
- Demonstrate that you would be an asset to HEC beyond academics
Recruiters want to see you are well-rounded and that you have a global outlook on business and current affairs. They also value international experience: most HEC applicants speak at least two languages, and many have lived in several countries. Even if those do not apply to you, what unique perspective can you bring to HEC from a cultural or social perspective? Are you interested in extracurricular activities such as sports, art, volunteering? If so, how will you be integrating your interests into the larger fabric of HEC student life?
Hopefully these thought-provoking tips should your ideas flowing and help you craft your own personal narrative, but note that there are many other topics you can bring up as well, including failures and how you learned from them. It is important to remember that above all, you should be honest with the recruiters, and true to yourself.
Good luck with your application!