Hervé Crès loves the power of the scientific language. Trained as a mathematician he combined his love of numbers with an interest in humanities and social sciences, discovering along the way that the language of maths was also used in economics.
It was the neo-classic economic theory that interested me. But both fields can be developed through accomplished theories that rest and rely on the power of the language of maths, he says. Now, a professor of finance and economics and Associate Dean of the Master of Science in Management Graduate Program at prestigious French university HEC, Professor Crès is sharing his passion of numbers, economics and humanities with the next generation of Masters students.
HEC deanships are very entrepreneurial and I've got a lot of interesting things to work on and implement: new programs, new potential students, new academic policies but it means there is very little time left for research and teaching. I teach a PhD class in micro economics, and as a result of a sabbatical year four years ago, I've still got some research projects to work on, although I do need to revive my research agenda.
A model for the future HEC has topped the Financial Times ranking for its Masters of Science in Management (MSc) for the last three years. Professor Crès says during this time there has been a model of pre-professional experience at the Masters in Management level. In France, you can have a Masters in Management before gaining any professional experience and I think that's going to be the model for the future. HEC has been an integral part in developing this model and Professor Crès wants to see his institution making the most of the current advancement they have over the market. France's nationwide system of competition means the brightest kids in high school are going to business school.
There is an elite going on to study management who are intelligent, clever, hardworking and mentally tough, which sure is good for HEC. These students are a product for France to market. They are ideal candidates for firms recruiting graduates, they have impressive salaries and careers and perhaps most importantly for HEC they are a powerful alumni network. Professor Crès says it is this network that allows his current students to experience the best internships in the best firms. In between the student's first and second year of study is when they have the opportunity to gain experience through a forty-week internship. And because of the quality of our students, they are learning to deal with strategy, data and operations at a high level during this time in the company. They are very much involved in the most strategic aspect of the firms they are in and this is due in part to our alumni network operating as a family.
Another important aspect of HEC's internships is the soft skills that the students gain. Professor Crès says his students come back from their internship with a valuable skill set that benefits their second year study and also their future career moves. HEC is not the only school to rank highly in the Financial Times for its Masters in Management program. Five other French schools are also in the top ten: ESCP-EAP, ESSEC, EM Lyon, Grenoble Graduate School of Business and Audencia. So what is it about the French Masters in Management that puts them so far ahead from the rest of Europe? Professor Crès puts it down to France's 'know-how' attitude to teaching management.
Here in France, and at HEC, we know how to teach management to students who don't have any work experience, and we advertise that 'know-how'. Meeting the needs of employers Professor Crès says there is a growing trend for students to embark on the specialist Masters degree, which he also believes is the way of the future. And that trend is highly visible in France. We have contributed to making the standard of specialist Masters very high and HEC has a role to play in ensuring this standard remains.
The quality of HEC's Masters in Management program is also reflected in the careers the school's graduates embark on. Statistics show these graduates find their first position less than two months after graduating and within three years of graduating from HEC's specialist Masters degrees, they are earning upwards of €70,000 (US$110,990, currency rate - July 2008). This program is of high value for employers, Professor Crès says. A portfolio of programs HEC School of Management offers a large portfolio of Master programs.
The 18-month Masters of Science (MSc) in Management is designed for candidates with no background in management but there are also 12-month Masters of Science programs in different disciplines such as international business, finance, economics, and sustainable development. These programs are taught entirely in English. Candidates with a good level of French language may join one of the school's 12-month specialized Masters in subjects such as finance, marketing, auditing, entrepreneurs, law, and international affairs.
These programs are designed for students with no or few years of work experience. Candidates with more than three years of professional experience generally join HEC's MBA. But HEC doesn't just offer variety in its programs. It also offers variety in its learning environment. In the Master of Science in Management program, a quarter of the class is likely to be of international origin whereas in the new MSc programs the school is developing, Professor Crès is expecting 90 per cent of the students to be international.
Diversity of origin is a key ingredient for any Masters course and we want that to increase, he says. Designing the world The average age of a Masters in Management student at HEC is 23-24 and Professor Crès is incredibly aware that he and his staff are teaching France's next generation. We have been successful in what we do because we're aware that we are teaching students who are young and lack work experience.
Therefore the content of our courses includes scientific development. Other techniques students need to acquire can be picked up during their internships or in their first job. The key element in our classrooms is that our students are being taught this scientific research by the researchers themselves. In 20 years the world will be our students and that's our target.
Professor Hervé Crès Department of Finance and Economics Associate Dean, Master of Science in Management Education 1994 PhD in Economics, University of Geneva, Switzerland 1994 PhD in Applied Mathematics, Université de Paris I. 1990 Diploma Science Po - Paris 1987 Ecole Normale Supérieure (Ulm), Mathematics Areas of interest General Equilibrium Theory Theory of Social Choice Theory of Market Failures
Main courses taught at HEC Public Economics Managerial Macro Economics Editorial activities: Associate Editor, Economic Theory Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control Associate Editor, Mathematical Social Sciences.