How To Choose Your Business School After HEC Preparation: The 7 Decisive Criteria

The results of the competitions for HEC preparatory students will be published between 8 and 11 July 2022. Le Figaro Étudiant reveals 7 essential criteria for choosing the right school for you.

After two years of hard work, the long-awaited hour of school choices will soon come for HEC preparatory students. The results of the Common Test Bench (BCE) and the Ecricome Competitions will be published between 8 and 11 July 2022. Several criteria must be taken into account and not all of them equally important. Business school rankings are the first thing to consider. All recruiters have the headlines in mind and some companies even index the salaries of their employees on the list. Other criteria are also decisive. The city, the specialities, the double diplomas, the exchanges abroad and the social life are all elements to study before making a choice.

1. The Classification: Know How To Read It!

This is, of course, the most important criterion. But you need to know how to decipher a ranking of business schools like Figaro’s. When we compare the ranking over 10 years, we can identify certain constants. The location of a school often varies from year to year, but always within the same interval. A school in 9th place can climb to 6th place, but will not make it into the top 5. Rather than looking at the exact location of his school (which will fluctuate), it is advisable to reason by group of schools (Top 3, Top 5, Top 10, Top 15). Logically, between two schools of two different groups, it is better to choose the one from the first. Conversely, between two schools in the same block, it may be interesting to rely on different criteria (city, specialty, etc.).

The top 3

The Top 3 ranking has not changed in the past 10 years. This is the only group on this list whose order should be scrupulously respected (HEC, Essec, and ESCP in this case). In fact, a recruiter will almost always consider an HEC student more than an Essec student and an Essec student rather than an ESCP student.

Top 5

Edhec and EM Lyon are added to the Parisiennes to form the top 5. If Edhec is over its competitor in 2021, the two schools will be of an almost equal level. Program offerings and campus diversity can help students choose one over the other. A student considering a career in finance will have every interest in choosing Edhec (the school enjoys a worldwide reputation in this discipline). Conversely, some admitted students will choose EM Lyon because of its multiple international campuses in Shanghai (China), Casablanca (Morocco), Bhubaneswar (India) and Mumbai (India).

Top 10

The top 10 postprep schools continue with Skéma, Néoma, Grenoble, Kedge and Audencia. Students admitted to one of these five schools prefer BCE schools (Skéma, Grenoble and Audencia) over those of the Ecricome competition (Kedge and Néoma). In the ranking, however, these schools have an almost equivalent level. They evolve between 6th and 10th place in the postpreparatory rankings each year. We will nevertheless note a favorable dynamic for Skéma, in 6th place since 2020. A candidate admitted to these schools can therefore rely on the latest rankings to make his choice, in the hope that his school will not fall back before he comes on the market. Nevertheless, it may be just as relevant to rely on other criteria to decide.

Top 15

The last schools in the top 15 are (in order), Montpellier BS, TBS Education, Rennes SB, ICN and EM Strasbourg. The Top 15 schools regularly move between 11th and 16th place in the post preparation rankings. Recruiters don’t have a precise ranking of these schools in mind. It may be wise to choose one based on criteria other than just ranking. For the other schools, the methods of choice are essentially the same. When two schools are close to each other in the ranking, it may be relevant to choose from other criteria.

ALSO READ – Discover the 2022 ranking of Figaro business schools

2-The city

City choice is an essential concern for students. Some make you dream and are very well served by the TGV, others, more landlocked, are much less attractive. Some schools, such as Audencia in Nantes, have just one campus, while others are located in multiple cities. For example, Edhec and Skéma both have campuses in Paris, Lille and Nice. In most schools, campus selection is made based on league ranking. And it’s important to note that not all degree programs are always accessible on all campuses. Finally, for financial reasons, some choose a city near their home. In fact, the extra costs associated with staying in another city can easily add up to 10,000 a year.

3- Variety

The price can also be a selection criterion. In management, the best-ranked schools are also the most expensive. The prices of post-preparatory schools are between 7,842 euros for the Institut Mines-Télécom BS and 17,768 euros for Essec. Almost all schools offer scholarships for students from humble backgrounds. Some, such as ESCP or Toulouse BS (TBS Education), modulate tuition based on family income. However, work study remains the best solution for tight budgets. It allows students to work part-time for a company that pays them and supports their education. However, this opportunity is rarely offered in the first year. If this element is important to you, it is important to learn more about each of the schools’ proposals in this area.

4. Double National Degrees

Most schools offer a general course, followed by a specialization. Finance, audit, marketing or human resources all schools generally offer the same range of specialties. Some offer more atypical majors. For example, Audencia offers courses in cultural management and Kedge is known for its master’s degree in wine management. But what makes the difference is the double degrees. School of engineering, political studies institutes or military schools, business schools offer dual degrees in a wide variety of fields. This selective opportunity allows future managers to gain additional expertise, as well as consider a profession further from the corporate world. For example, Edhec has joined forces with the engineering schools of Centrale Lille and ESTP. Essec, for its part, offers double degrees at ESM Saint-Cyr and the Ecole du Louvre, while the ICN collaborates with the Faculty of Law of Nancy.

5. International

Business schools all offer a multitude of partnerships with foreign universities. Regardless of the school, it is possible to go on an exchange to all corners of the world. If you have a country in mind, look carefully to see if there is a collaboration with a university. Some schools have chosen to open their own campuses abroad. Unlike smaller group exchanges, students are required to study there with part of their PhD. For example, ESCP is located in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, Turin and Warsaw.

6. Associative Life: A Must

At business school it is almost a must to be a member of an association. There are ones in all fields, sports bureau, art bureau, junior company, solidarity or oenology association, etc. In all schools we find more or less the same associations. However, some are distinguished by the organization of national events such as the Edhec Cruise Race, the Hannibal Raid by EM Lyon or the Audencia Triathlon.

7. Labels: Equis, AACSB Amba

Accreditations are a guarantee of international credibility. They ensure that schools can maintain their position in national and international rankings. For students, these labels facilitate exchanges with high-level foreign universities. The three main labels are Equis, AACSB and AMBA-MBM (the latter mainly focuses on MBAs). The vast majority of schools in the top 15 can claim triple accreditation. And almost all schools in the ranking have at least one.

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