Diversity pays off with Parisian elite

December 3, 2004

Demand for global business courses has fallen, but many individuals still value the experience. David Jobbins reports

Julia Homayoun-Nejad, 31, read communication and information studies at Brunel University and has a postgraduate diploma in marketing. She worked for three years in television news documentary production for the Foreign Office and a further four in marketing for the music industry before moving on to project management in brand and communication consultancies.

After three years, she wanted to add experience of life in another culture to her MBA studies and as she intended to study full time, the location of the school was no longer a limitation.

"France, although very close to the UK, is culturally very rich and different. In fact, doing the MBA abroad has been life-changing."

She visited Manchester Business School and EM Lyon before deciding on HEC, outside Paris.

"Faculty and candidates come from all over the world. Diversity of culture is discussed and celebrated throughout the programme and social life. The diversity goes beyond cultural boundaries, people's life experiences and career backgrounds are also diverse. In addition to the typical MBA profile - engineers, economists, general managers - we also have sports people, army and navy personnel, scientists and doctors."

"I feel some pay-offs are visible - I have broadened my outlook and formed lifelong friendships.

Ms Homayoun-Nejad said she wanted to work in business development when she graduated, and accepted that a UK school would have enabled her to achieve this goal - but without broadening her experiences. "In the next few years British employers will become much more aware of the value of the HEC MBA."

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