Interview with Bernard Garrette, Associate Dean of HEC Paris MBA

Bernard Garrette - HEC paris

Bernard Garrette is the Associate Dean of HEC Paris MBA. He is Professor of Strategy and Business Policy, and has received the Pierre Vernimmen Teaching Award, endowed by BNP-Paribas. His research interests focus on competitive and collaborative corporate strategy, and is co-author of several books including “Alliance Strategies”, which won the McKinsey Award for Best Management Book published in France.

 

What are companies looking for in today’s MBA graduates?

When Bernard Garrette first took the position of Associate Dean for the HEC Paris MBA program, one of his first steps was to bring in Bain and Company to help with an extensive curriculum and strategic review of the program, to make sure that the leading French business school had one of the best MBA’s in the world.

In this interview, Garrette talks about the findings of the review, which started by asking CEOs and senior HR about their company needs in terms of what MBA graduates should know.  One of the findings was that companies want to hire people who are both very well trained in the analytical side of business – making sure that the core business skills are really solid – but they also want leaders who are pragmatic and willing to roll up their sleeves and get things done.

He talks about the importance of going outside your own culture, country, background and habits, and developing the ability to interact with different people. He argues that being able to respect and even leverage individual differences is key in the current business context. In a job market where there are few discernible trends, MBA students have to develop a sense of direction, knowing how to find their true North and be flexible in the path they take to reach their goal, even when environment is chaotic.

On a personal note, Bernard Garrette talks about what he has learned from failure, and to have the courage to acknowledge when you are failing and to learn to ask for help. He also shares what he would have wanted to be if he were not a business school professor.

 

 

 

For the full interview on Forbes, click here.

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