A Student Perspective on the HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative

Please tell us about yourself and your experience at the HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative.

My name is Eilis Connolly-Shinozuka, I am half Irish, half Japanese and I took part in the Youth Leadership Initiative back in 2018. After graduating from the French high school, Henri IV, I am now in my first year in the Master in Management (MIM) at HEC Paris and am currently studying abroad in Japan with the Global Exchange Program HEC offers with Keio University.

I decided to take part in the HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative before even considering attending HEC and it was also through this experience – getting to see the great campus and the quality of their classes – that cemented my will to join such a wonderful and international academic institution. 

What elements of the Youth Leadership Initiative stand out most for you?

In fact, one of the things I loved most about the HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative was the incredible diversity of the group of students I worked with so many different nationalities, backgrounds and skills; everybody brings something uniquely theirs to the program and the HEC experience is truly an international one.

I really enjoyed working on projects with the other students, learning with – and from – them, and many remain very good friends of mine to this day. For instance, one other student was also Japanese, and we are now going to the same university half-way across the world. The experience really does help shape you and part of your future projects – sometimes even in very unexpected ways!

The teachers in the program were also incredible: they were all very competent in their own fields, particularly interesting to listen to but also truly kind and attentive. They contribute to making the program very personalized so that you can get the most out of this experience and come out of it a little wiser, more self-aware and having found your own brand of leadership.

I fully recommend this program – it truly was a great experience and I hope that it will be for you someday too. 

Question to the Directors: What is the HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative?

The HEC Paris Youth Leadership Initiative is an intensive, residential program for high school students who are eager to develop their potential. All participants are from 15 to 18 years old and proficient in English.

The leadership team is dedicated to fostering an environment for students’ self-discovery and empowerment. Participants learn to lead by example and thrive through teamwork and compelling projects. They develop essential skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.

According to Summer School Director, Elyse Michaels-Berger, “Our mission at the Youth Leadership Initiative is to empower and equip students to make an impact in the world, starting in their classrooms and their communities. Eilis is a wonderful role model for other students who are seeking out their future paths.”

Academic Co-Director, Jessica Honan added, “When students like Eilis, who are driven, open-minded and proactive, come together with like-minded peers on campus and connect with purpose, positive change is inevitable.”

Summer School Director, Elyse Michaels-Berger (on right) pictured with Academic co-director, Jessica Honan (on left) at the HEC Paris Open Day on March 12th.

For more information on the full offering of HEC Paris Summer School programs, please see here: www.hec.edu/summer-school or contact summerschool@hec.fr. The application process for Summer Programs is online and currently open.

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