William Hosie is an undergraduate student at the University of Oxford, and is spending five months interning at HEC as part of his year abroad.
I usually waddle into the office with large bags under my eyes around 9:30 in the morning, prompting my boss to ask me yet again: “So, another late night in Paris?” It turns out interns are actually given bedrooms on campus, and I find the mattresses surprisingly comfortable and hard to rise from – as are the office chairs once you’ve slumped into them. Happily stuck at my desk, I begin by scrolling through today’s press release and, from amongst the several articles mentioning HEC, I pick out those which will make the best news stories on the HEC Master’s Program Twitter Feed.
Working for the best business school in France ironically means you end up missing out on loads: there are so many events happening every day on campus and instead of attending them, you have to stay backstage promoting them. Fomo aside, I thoroughly enjoy my job: who wouldn’t if they were being paid to glorify their employer? From publishing news announcements on LinkedIn and translating video subtitles into English for HEC’s YouTube channel, to editing student blog posts and updating alumni profiles on the website, working for HEC has been an absolute pleasure.
I share my office with four other full-time employees on the HEC Paris Masters marketing team, who are incredibly kind and welcoming. The office’s open-plan layout encourages a relaxed and sociable approach to work, meaning I easily fleet from one desk to another, assisting different colleagues with their respective tasks. We debate ideas aloud and hold a more formal round-table meeting with our boss every other week, usually to rant about technical glitches on the website. We usually take an hour-long break for lunch and go to the canteen together, each choosing a different meal and gawping at the other’s choices thinking ‘I should’ve gone for that*”. I often work until six in the evening, working around my colleagues’ schedules and setting tasks for myself on our online group planner.
Occasionally, I’ll spend the day doing something completely different: my boss might ask me to attend a conference or networking event and write a piece about it for the website, which gives me the opportunity to meet many inspiring professionals and learn more about careers in finance or consulting. When the day is over, I usually go for a walk around the neighbouring town of Saclay, which has a long pedestrian path running through several fields. It’s a nice way to clear my head after a day spent scheduling tweets for the weekend and rewriting pages for the new website, and I usually swing by the large supermarket opposite HEC to buy a couple of groceries before heading up to my room where – you won’t believe it – I have my own kitchen.
As a university student, I have been surprised and enlightened by the administrative side of higher education and have newfound respect for the teams who help build a school’s reputation, make sure the world knows how highly it ranks and improve the quality of its website for prospective students. Beyond the classes, the student societies, and the careers service, there is an entire cosmos of people within the school walls whose work not only ensures its reputation, but without which all these other facets would surely collapse. Over the course of a month, I’ve realized that marketing is not only an asset for any kind of business: it’s a vital part of its internal structure and crucial to its lasting success.
*: Usually a chicken curry