American wants HEC Paris MBA + live/work in Europe

I'm considering an MBA at HEC Paris and the deciding factor for me is employment. I'm an American but I'd like to live and work in Europe for the rest of my life. I previously studied for my MSc at LSE but unfortunately, David Cameron cancelled the Post-Study Work Visa in 2011 (my year of entry) and I wasn't offered a single interview despite a high GPA and background in asset mgmt. Later, a recruiter at Commerzbank told me that they were told not to issue Visas to non-EU citizens. I don't want to end up in this situation again, especially after paying a relatively hefty tuition bill.

Have any Americans been able to secure employment in France/Europe and obtain work permits? Or has this been an issue due to the lingering economic downturn? If you have been allowed to stay, what do you think has been the deciding factor in obtaining a work permit? Your MBA or French language skills? Anything else?

The following links states that "...72% of the MBAs find jobs outside the country, largely in Europe but increasingly in China, Korea, Singapore and India, often with French firms such as L’Oreal, LVMH and Schneider Electric, that have been gaining a foothold in Asia."
poetsandquants.com/2014/06/10/hec-paris-where-the-grande-ecole-has-gone-global/

Is this because they weren't allowed to stay in Europe? It seems like people are getting jobs through networking, not OCR.

I'm primarily interested in HEC because of the low cost, its location in Europe, and the relatively strong brand name.
economist.com/news/business/21601884-payback-time?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/paybacktime

 

I think getting a Job in France without being french is tough. I would probably go with LBS or Esade. German companies often just recruit germans and tend to not recruit heavily at all internationally. So LBS is your best bet!

 

The curriculum actually requires French language courses. I have full confidence that I'll be able to have basic proficiency in 15 months. I recall from NPR that English borrows more words from French than from Latin so learning it won't be difficult.

I can make no generalizations about German hiring though what you say makes sense. They are a nationalistic bunch. Other threads on this forum stated that many German execs actually have PhDs - perhaps due to their engineering/industrial base.

I'll check out LBS but the price tag on HEC, Queensland, Macquarie make them all very attractive, especially with the salaries being quite close to top US programs.

 
Best Response

I'm an American (the only one, mind you) attending an MSc in Finance at one of the European schools, and I was able to secure a SA internship at one of the BB's in London. The people interviewing with me were all European. Now of course it's not guaranteed for FT, but the rate of securing a FT offer in this specific group is nearly 100%, so I'm not too worried. I think you'll find that some employers don't give too many shits about visas and work permits (unless they specifically state on their websites that they do not provide them) as long as they like you and think you can do well. I will agree that it's difficult though.

 

Internship/SA are usually not an issue because they don't have to pass the Resident Labour Market Test in London. Is your program a one year or two year research?

In 2011 they had just made that change regarding visas so things were not exactly clear at the time. We got an email regarding it - it was a big deal as the majority of students at LSE are intl.

 

It's a two year program in continental europe. There was another individual who was an intern last summer (in the same group that i got the offer in) and not an EU citizen, they gave him the FT offer. And especially considering that it's a small group, they even told me they aren't looking for interns who will not want to join full-time...they want people who will stay on after the internship.

 

Would you want to work in the Netherlands? We speak very good english and I feel like we're a lot chiller towards non native dutch speakers then for instance France or Germany. They really want you to speak those languages for business.

 
  1. HEC Paris is very hard to get to. You can see it as the french HBS.
  2. being fluent in French is more important than having an MBA if you want to work in France. It is a non negotiable condition. Finally just keep in mind that French is much more difficult than English. You will have very hard times learning it.
 

The average GMAT is 685 and they have multiple rounds of applications. They're not projecting the exclusive image. Other threads mentioned that the French grading system is what makes the program difficult - harsh curve. Also, the placements seem to be in corporate finance / strategy, not banking. Actually, this is fine for me. I've been looking to transition into FP&A.

 

French is really not that difficult. Yes it is more difficult than English but the structure of the language is far from complex compared to many other languages. I will say though that French people do not just expect you to speak French, they expect you to speak French real fucking well.

Personally I would be hesitant to bet my career prospects on the approval of my person by the French people. OP should definitely look into opportunities in the UK as well. HEC places fairly well in London so should definitely be do-able. However, HEC's brand name carries nowhere as much weight as it does in France. Becoming really really good in French and then staying in France could be a good option, if it's doable. French people might respect you extra for speaking French fluently as a non native speaker.

 

I can confirm with MandAisOkay is saying.

My Dad use to work in banking there back up until the late 90s, I'm sure things may have changed now but I know some things haven't. Apart from being able to speak french as a Native-born; You may be able to secure a job as a foreigner but if your ambitious it can be hard to get into Senior-Management. If you aren't Anglo/European in terms of Appearance it can be harder.

I do have friends who are of Foreign descent some of who were able to secure internships from attending HEC. However I would caution in regards to getting to higher level management you may find yourself stuck. (May be some discrimination in regards to promotions)

You may find it more accommodating in the UK, Switzerland, Germany or the Nordics.

Quand on veut, on peut.
 

SamSung I found this thread because I too am an American seeking to live and work in Europe permintetly. I am considering applying to HEC Paris and St Gallen for their MBA programs. What did you end up choosing? Are you now living and working in Europe?

For me, I don't think the language barrier will be a problem. In my undergraduate studies, I studied abroad in Italy for 4 months and was able to pick up the language so well, people thought I lived there. Moreover, I have a strong determination and believe picking up French or German will not be that tough.

 

People will really respect you for learning to speak their language. With the exception of the French, who are always critical of anything that's not entirely French, any other people in Europe will appreciate you extra when you speak their language.

I'd go for St Gallen if you want to work in a German-speaking country (St Gallen is extremely well regarded in those countries) and HEC if you want to work in France or Spain. If you want to work in the UK or Nordics, I don't think it matters much because both are very good schools, although I do think HEC might have a slight edge in terms of international reputation (again, definitely not true for German-speaking countries).

 
dro7:
@SamSung I found this thread because I too am an American seeking to live and work in Europe permintetly. I am considering applying to HEC Paris and St Gallen for their MBA programs. What did you end up choosing? Are you now living and working in Europe?

For me, I don't think the language barrier will be a problem. In my undergraduate studies, I studied abroad in Italy for 4 months and was able to pick up the language so well, people thought I lived there. Moreover, I have a strong determination and believe picking up French or German will not be that tough.

I just saw this (I don't think you hit reply so I didn't get a notification). I didn't apply - I ended up working in NYC for a year and I'm back to thinking about this again.

 

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