93 percent of this MBA’s graduates have doubled their salary

If you're working overseas in the corporate world, odds are that past a certain point, you'll find it difficult to progress without an MBA.

93 percent of this MBA's graduates have doubled their salary
Looking for the MBA that nine out of ten graduates would recommend to their peers? Consider HEC Paris. Photo: Supplied

This can seem an overwhelming prospect – there’s a bewildering variety of MBA courses vying for your attention. Furthermore, when and if you decide on a program, they uniformly involve a significant investment – they can cost anywhere between $60-160,000 USD, and that’s before you factor in the time and energy involved for an on-average two year programme. 

You may ask, is such an undertaking really worth it? 

Together with the leading French business school, HEC Paris, we examine the benefits completing an MBA can provide, and discuss whether it may be the right choice for you. 

A popular choice

Whether you are an employer or an employee, MBAs are popular in the corporate world. In April, a survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) showed that 9 out of 10 MBA graduates recommend the qualification to others, citing the motivation it provides, the career flexibility and the ensuing job prospects as benefits. 

Employers are also big fans of MBA graduates. This year, a survey of international employers by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) revealed their attitudes towards graduates. 47 percent of surveyed employers considered themselves ‘Very Favourable’ towards MBA graduates, with another 40% considering themselves as ‘Favourable’.

Further examination of the AMBA survey reveals what exactly employers value about MBA graduates. Qualities identified in graduates, and rated most highly by employers included understanding of management principles, leadership and problem-solving skills. Time-management skills and ability with multiple languages were also considered skills that MBA graduates excelled in – especially those participating in an international programme. 

Going by this data, completing an MBA seems to be a ‘no brainer for those seeking fast career progression. The time, money and energy required to complete the qualification seem a welcome trade for the upskilling provided, and the favorability it has among employers. 

Looking for an MBA program that offers high quality teaching and a global outlook on business? Find out more about what HEC Paris offers

On the move: Undertaking an MBA can open up a world of career opportunities. Photo: Getty Images

Case Study: HEC Paris

For a better idea of how an MBA can benefit those seeking to move their career forward, let us examine one particular cohort from one program – in this case, the graduating class of 2021 from HEC Paris

First, we should identify some important information about the class. 281 participants from 50 different countries made up the 2021 cohort. 34 percent of graduates were female, and 66 percent male. Almost half of the 2021 class hailed from the Asia and Oceania regions, followed by the Americas, Europe and finally, Africa. The average years of work experience prior to embarking on the MBA was six years. The course length for an HEC MBA is 16 months – as opposed to the usual 24. 

Three months after graduating, 93% of the HEC Paris 2021 cohort had accepted a job offer. On average, in accepting those job offers these graduates almost doubled their pre-MBA salaries.

Some of the top recruiters for the 2021 cohort included Amazon, Hello Fresh, Microsoft and Deloitte – all thriving companies with an international reach.  

Of course, a higher salary isn’t everything. Job satisfaction and flexibility also play an important role for many. 79 percent of HEC graduates changed their job sector following graduation and 67 percent changed their role, demonstrating the opportunities provided by the qualification – students were able to find a role that better suited their interests and passions. 

An MBA also led to greater mobility for HEC Paris graduates. 68 percent of the cohort secured a job outside of their home country, beginning an international career and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many.

93% of 2021 HEC Paris MBA graduates received a new job offer within three months of graduation – find out what set them apart from their peers

Strong connections: HEC Paris students can access an alumni network stretching across both industries and the globe. 

The sensible decision

For those wishing to progress their career, undertaking an MBA would appear to be the smart choice across a number of important metrics. 

Whether it’s an increased salary, greater career flexibility or international mobility, the data demonstrates that the 2021 graduating class of HEC Paris have enjoyed all three. 

Of course, not all MBAs are the same, and many have a particular focus, whether it be industry-specific or more focused on leadership skills. It is important to do your research before making any decision and to talk to alumni to get a better understanding of what you’re about to take on.  

For an MBA program with an international focus and a global reputation for quality teaching, you may like to consider HEC Paris. Based near an international centre of culture and commerce, students enjoy world-class teaching across sixteen months of industry experience, and are able to access a strong alumni network. The school also offers flexibility in terms of learning, with a number of delivery options to suit your schedule. One of Europe’s top three business schools, HEC Paris demonstrates excellence in MBA education. 

Choosing to undertake an MBA is not a decision to be taken lightly – but as we’ve seen, the positives can more than make up for the costs, financial or otherwise. 

Enrol in the HEC Paris MBA that unlocks significant career progression, increased salaries and international mobility for its graduates 

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EXPLAINED: How to get a mobile phone contract in France

This is one of the first administrative steps you will need to handle after moving to France, here's what to expect.

EXPLAINED: How to get a mobile phone contract in France

If you are planning to spend extended time in France, you will likely want to set up a French mobile phone (cell phone) contract. 

Having a French phone number can be crucial when organising apartment visits, signing up for certain subscriptions, and setting up utilities bills in your French home.

Keep in mind that if you want to use your mobile phone from your home country, you will need to verify that it is unlocked and compatible with a new SIM card. You can check this with your previous provider. 

The main operators

There are four main cell phone service operators in France, Bouygues Telecom, Free, Orange and SFR. 

There are also some smaller operators that might offer less expensive plans, such as Prixtel or La Poste Mobile. 

Orange is often touted as the best telephone operator in France, and it is one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies with over 266 million clients across the world.

In France, however, Orange technically comes in second place to SFR for 4G coverage across the territory. According to data from France’s national frequency agency (ANFR), SFR covers 95 percent of the country with 4G access, while Orange and Bouygues both cover 94 percent and Free covers 92 percent.

As for 5G coverage, which began in 2020 in France, there is still a lot of room for improvement. In June 2023, Free had deployed the most 5G antennas, with 16,644 across the country. Bouygues came in second place, having set up 9,942. As for SFR and Orange, they came in third and fourth place, with 8,936 and 6,267 antennas respectively.

That being said, those figures only show antennas constructed – Orange had still activated the most 5G sites. 

How do they compare in price?

When it comes to price, the main four mobile phone operators keep costs similar. For 100 GB of data, as of September 2023, Orange offered a monthly deal of €16.99 for the first year, and then €31.99 after 12 months.

As for Bouygues and SFR, for a phone plan (forfait) with 100 GB of data you could expect to pay €15.99 per month fo the first year, and then €30.99 afterwards.

Free did not have a plan offering 100 GB as of September 2023, but its closest option offered 120 GB for €12.99 per month for the first year, and then €19.99 afterwards.

For plans with at least 200GB of data, you would pay more. Orange offered one for €32.99 for the first year and then €44.99 later on, Bouygues and SFR offered similar deals with €31.99 a year and €44.99 after 12 months.

Meanwhile, Free offered 250 GB for €19.99.

Keep in mind that you can also choose a ‘sans engagement’ plan, which means even if you sign a contract you can cancel it at the end of the month. 

Many phone contracts will be ‘avec engagement’ (or just engagement). This usually means that for a specified period of time –  typically one year – you pay the discounted price and then after that you may pay a higher price but you can cancel when you’d like to.

Beware that with these types of plans, if you try to cancel before the engagement period is finished, you could be asked to pay the remaining fees.

The other differences between contracts will depend on whether they allow you to use the service outside of France, and whether they charge a SIM card activation fee (for example – SFR charges €10).  

Some plans offer discounted rates for those who also use their service for internet or cable. 

Do I need a permanent address or French bank account to set up a plan?

It depends on the company. As of 2023, Free was one of the cell service operators that allowed clients to purchase a new SIM card using just a credit or debit card with one of their kiosks. 

For this purchase, only a valid bank card and email address were required. 

However, other cell service operators tend to require at least some of the following: a valid proof of identity (eg. passport), address in France (eg. utility bill or lease), or a French bank account for payment. 

What if I am visiting for a short/ defined period?

If you are travelling for a longer period of time it might work out cheaper to turn off your phone data and buy a pre-paid SIM or E-SIM card in France.

In order to get a pre-paid SIM card, you will need your passport or proof of identity (drivers’ licences do not count).

Keep in mind that you will not be able to use your normal phone number with the new SIM card in, but will be able to access your internet enabled messaging services, like WhatsApp, Facebook and iMessage. Your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ (ask your carrier about whether yours is) in order to put a new SIM card in.

You can find more information with The Local’s tips guide for how visitors can avoid roaming charges.

READ MORE: How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting France

How can I cancel a French phone contract?

Prior to cancelling, you should again verify whether you are sous engagement (under contract) and if so, for how long. 

As of September 2023, it has been a legal requirement for companies to offer ‘cancellation in under three clicks’ directly on their websites. This would be done in your online space.

Your operator has 10 working days to cancel the contract once you have made the request. 

Some phone services might allow you to cancel by calling as well, but if you want to be entirely certain that your cancellation request has been sent and received you should send a lettre recommandée

READ MORE: Lettre recommandée: Why you need them and how to send them in France

What if I want to keep a phone number in my home country?

Many foreigners living in France want to maintain a phone number in their home country, perhaps to verify dual-factor authorisations or receive banking information.

Some opt for services like ‘Google Voice’ to port their existing phone number. It is advised to do this prior to moving to France.