Real Humans of MBA Students: HEC Paris Executive MBA

HEC Paris Executive MBA

Anna Safaryan, HEC Paris, Executive MBA


Moscow, Russia

Anna Safaryan, HEC Paris Executive MBA

Undergraduate Institution & Major:

Master’s Degree in International Economics and Trade from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Pre-MBA Work Experience:

9 years of experience in Banking and International Trade

Why Business School?  Why Now?

An Executive MBA requires a considerable amount of time, effort, and financial investment. This is a real commitment and investment in the future. If you decide to embark on this journey, you need to choose excellence. HEC Paris being a top-ranked business school not only in France but also in the world is synonymous with that excellence for me. I find HEC’s approach to EMBA to be quite unique. It is very flexible, thanks to the different tracks offered, and is oriented to help applicants to choose what suits them the best. Furthermore, HEC Paris offers different specializations, all made around very important issues that I find to be valuable for your CV.

Why did you pick your school/program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?

HEC’s EMBA program combines three very important criteria that I was looking for:

  • Excellent quality of teaching
  • Strong student body, alumni community and a great network
  • Efficient professional career management support

Deciding upon and subsequently only applying for the HEC Paris EMBA program was an obvious decision for me and I do not regret my choice!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your graduating class?

I think I will first of all contribute to the diversity within my class as I truly believe that my greatest asset is the international background that I gained through my personal and professional experiences.  When I need to say in a few words who I am I just say: I am a Russian-Armenian living in France and working for an American bank. I think that says a lot. Secondly, I have a number of soft and hard skills to share.  Thanks to my career at J.P. Morgan, I learned what excellence and professional ethic, and integrity are: how to behave in a very competitive environment and react in challenging situations, how to learn from others, and how to contribute to a team effort.  I learned how to work hard and constantly challenge myself and others. I learned that I don’t only need to focus on myself, but also to share and transmit knowledge to others. Third, I love being myself, I love motivating people, sharing my positive vibes with them, and encouraging them. I simply love learning and sharing. Finally, my extra professional commitment to J.P. Morgan’s mentorship programs and WOTM (Women On The Move) network are also valuable experiences that I’ll be happy to share with my classmates.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?

Well, that’s not an easy question. I am happy it wasn’t included in my application process! People around me know how much I love water and swimming. They also know that despite coming from Russia, I hate the cold. This is the reason why I am very proud that I challenged myself and made the famous Russian ritual of jumping into freezing water for Epiphany!

Advice to current prospective applicants:

I know it can be intimidating to apply for one of the best Executive MBA programs in the world. You can have doubts about whether you are the right fit and whether you will be selected. The only way to know is to dare. Remember that what makes a successful application is your personality. Just be yourself, show your strengths, your willingness to learn, true motivation, be humble, and do not pretend to know everything. Listen to what people tell you starting from the very first information call you will make with the recruitment specialist. All the information and tips they give you are precious. In terms of the application process, it is structured in such an efficient way. You have all the support and guidance of the recruitment team members. Don’t hesitate to ask them all the questions you have. Make sure you fully understand the program, its content, and that the schedule can match your personal and professional commitments.

What is your initial impression of the school’s students/culture/community?

HEC students and alumni form not just a community, but a family. The culture of the school and the sense of belonging is so strong that I felt it even when I had barely started my EMBA. Today, I have a few months behind me, and this impression is not changing but getting more and more confirmed. When it comes to my class, it is incredible to see such motivation, daily support, and involvement of all participants. I refer not only to participants but also to our incredible program managers! I am among the youngest EMBA candidates. Our age difference is often 10 and sometimes even 20 years, but we just don’t feel it. We all have the motivation and this thirst for learning and sharing and we have already all become friends.

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