Student Report About Montréal

Student Report
Name of the University: HEC Montréal
Exchange semester: Fall 2013
About Montréal
Montréal is the biggest city in its province, Quebec. It is also the second largest city in Canada
after Toronto.
The city is located in the French part of Canada, so the main language is French, but most
people also speak English. (Some of us doesn’t understand a single word in French, but this
was not a problem!)
Practical information
We received information about everything regarding school and courses, housing and
welcome week via e-mail during the spring semester.
You will after attending classes the first week be able to choose between your selected
courses. So, before you leave for exchange, select more than the required amount. You can
just remove the classes that you don’t find interesting and keep the ones you like later.
HEC also has an exchange committee, HEChange, who is there to take care of you the whole
semester, especially the first couple of weeks.
All of us participated in the Welcome week which is about 2000 NOK for 2 weeks of
different activities. We recommend that you do that, as most people get to know each other
during this week. There are also a lot of fun activities to participate in such as jetboating,
amusement park, waterpark, pubcrawls, discover Montréal rally etc.
We all booked our flights online during the summer.
Some of us booked through Icelandair and thought this was very ok. Cheap tickets and the
flight time was good. Did not have to go via USA which is an advantage.
Other used British Airways, which meant that we had to go via London before coming to
Canada. There were no need for additional documents, which you need if you go via USA.
Food, blankets and headset were included. When you move to another country, it is better to
put comfort, and a simples possible flight as a first priority, before price. We all booked our
tickets with an additional bag.
We rented an apartment and fixed everything online prior to our stay. We rented the
apartment through a landlord-agency called RAGQ.
Everything was included (internet etc) for only $2700/month, which is a very ok price! Four
double- bedded rooms with TV in each room. Other students rented from “Get your place”
which is an organization the school collaborate with. They had very different experiences
with the apartments. Some had a really nice accommodation for 700 dollars/month, others
paid the same for a terrible place. We were lucky to get such a nice place for that price. If you
haven’t seen the apartment, we suggest you rent a hotel/hostel for the first week and then start
looking for an apartment. Since we prioritized short distance to school, ahead of the distance
to the city and nightlife, we rented an apartment close to Cote des Neiges area. Which pays
off, since you probably want to buy the OPUS card (busses and metro).
When you are staying in Canada less than 6 months, you don’t need a visa. When arriving at
the airport the only thing you need is the letter of admission received by the school.
Kind of similar to Norway, only a bit cheaper. The only thing that can be more expensive are
books and a phone plan. If you make a budget, double it. You will spend more than you
expected on trips and social activities. But the price level is about 25% cheaper.
NOK 3200
NOK 800
NOK 1000
NOK 275
Culture and language
Montréal is situated in the province Quebec where both French and English are spoken. Most
of the people here speak both French and English very well and we have never encountered
any language problems.
Quebec has a special agreement with many European countries regarding health insurance, so
you will have to need a valid HELFO-card and then you will get a health insurance for
free (you just need to pay for the card and the picture, about $11).
Also, you should have a student insurance, and then we can recommend ANSA which
specializes in this. You can also go with “Gjensidige Studentforsikring utland”
About the school
HEC Montréal is one of Canada’s leading business school with a long history and three
international accreditations: AACSB International, AMBA, EQUIS.
It is basically French-speaking, but they also offer courses in English and Spanish.
On HEC Montréal there are 12,200 students, plus 400 international students.
HEC Montréal’s campus includes two buildings; Decelles and Côte-Sainte-Catherine(CSC),
and it is about 1km between the two buildings. Although the CSC building is newest one, the
Decelles building is in our opinion the best looking school(inside).
Course registration
We could register for courses on May 30th. It is a good idea to be early, most of the popular
courses goes by fast. Once you get started at school you have a “shop-week” where you can
attend all the courses you have signed up for and decide if you want to take or drop the course
during that week.
Academic calendar
Arrival date:
First day of the semester:
Last day of classes:
Examination period:
Any special events/holidays:
August 12
August 26
December 3
Midterms: October 16
– October 22
Finals: December 4 –
December 17
Labour day: August
October 14
Midterm break:
October 23 – October
The International Office
We received informational emails about important deadlines, there was also possibilities to
participate in several activities to get to know the city. The international office is very helpful
if you have any questions.
Promoting BI and Norway
We did participate on the exchange fair, which was hosted by HEC. And in general it was
quite similar to the fair that we have at BI.
Social activities
You think you will be able to meet many of the local students during the exchange, but in
reality you socialize mostly with other exchange students. The fact is that most of the classes
consist of other exchange students. On the upside, the relationship with these students are
good. You get along with everyone, despite of some few cultural differences. You learn to
adapt to other cultures and better understand their ways.
HEChange organize parties every tuesday and several trips, exclusively for exchange
students.To Boston, Quebec City and Cuba. You can also join Interstude’s trips which also
includes Toronto. As a member of the exchange students, you also get the opportunity to see
hockey games (very popular here) and play curling.
In the classroom
The teaching style is quite similar to what we are used to at BI nad Norway, but you are
expected to participate more (but you are not forced to do so). And you will not face any
major differences, the teachers are as informal as they are back home, hence you have more of
a friendship approach. The lectures consist of both cases and lectures, as things are broght
down on a practical level.
Regarding the workload, we experienced that we had to put more hours down to studying.
Since we have to take five courses, compared to the Canadian students, who only had three
Course materials
The course materials was also quite similar to what we have in at BI. Most of the courses
required books, online articles, and powerpoints. A lot of the books are available on PDF,
make sure to check it out before purchasing it in the bookstore, because the books there are
quite expensive.
Library and technology
The library is located at the CSC building. A large library with lots of space for reading.
There whole library is quiet (i.e. no designated area for quiet reading as it is at BI). Had no
technical issues, the school is very well equipped with all that is necessary for a student.
International Financial Management
A course regarding the financial markets and how they are linked together over the whole
world. The course take a special interest in global financial environment, foreign exchange
theory and markets, and foreign exchange exposure.
An interesting, but an advanced course. We found the English level in this course very high,
but it was ok. The teacher was very nice and helpful.
Midterm: 40%
Final: 60%
International Management
This course aims to equip upper level BAA students with a basic set of tools to analyze the
opportunities and challenges that globalization brings to both domestic and multinational
enterprises. The course will focus on three issues. First, the course will analyze the global
environment in which domestic and multinational enterprises currently operate. It will
demonstrate how, despite globalization, countries continue to differ significantly across four
dimensions: culture, administration, geography and economics. Second, the course will
analyze how strategic options available to domestic and multinational enterprises to meet
these opportunities and challenges, and the ethical complexities that they may entail.
Most of the students have learned these concepts in other courses. It’s easy to learn and the
readings are not difficult. If you find this interesting, we suggest you choose this course. Since
the course is recommended for both us as incoming students, and outgoing students from
Individual project: 10 %
Participation: 10 %
Team project: 40 %
Final exam: 40 %
Human Resources Management
A course regarding staffing and managing employees in a company. When to hire, how to
hire, how to make people stay etc. Everything that has to do with the human resources aspect
in a company.
All of us found this class very boring, and the teacher was not very good. Not difficult to
understand the subjects, but because of the bad learning environment, we found it little
Midterm: 30%
Classroom presentation: 10%
Consultation report: 20%
Final exam: 40%
International Economic Environment
The course includes important aspects like institutions and economic development through the
world crisis. The course does not have one single book as the curriculum, but uses over
twenty articles as the main list of required readings. Moreover, if you choose this course,
make sure that you set of enough time to do the readings. But the course connects many
courses together, and it does facilitate bridges between courses.
Team project: 30 %
Participation: 10 %
Final exam: 60 %
Strategic Management in Organizations
One of our mandatory courses. A strategy course based on a simulation where you have the
role as CEOs of a company and have to do all the decisions within a company. The goal is to
come up with the best strategy and end up with the best nominal share value.
A pretty fun and interesting course. All of us found it very educational, compared to reading
books. It is more of a practical course. However, huge amount of written reports it required,
but it is necessary to carry out the course. If you take this course and play the game, it is your
god-given mission to beat the Swedes and Danes for that feeling of superiority.
Simulation: 35%
Self-assessment Report: 25%
Final exam: 40 %
Management Skills
This course is meant to give you a brief intro on what it takes to become a good manager. The
learning is based on class discussion and case studies, with occasional public speaking
training. This course has been one of the most influential courses I have ever taken, and the
professor is simply amazing.
There is no book in this course, but you have to buy a course compendium that contains all
the cases.
4 Written case analyses: 20%
Oral exercises: 10%
2 Written exercises: 20%
Final Exam: 40%
Participation: 20%
Relationships selling 1: The sales process
A sales course that focuses on relationship selling. Relationship selling is mainly B2B, where
you learn to how to use different sales techniques through role plays. The role plays are done
with one or two class mates and is videotaped.
The course is fairly practical and there is no mandatory readings or books, and there is no
midterm or written final exam. The final exam is a role play, fairly similar to the previous
ones, but longer.
Role play 2: 20%
Role play 3: 20%
Final Exam (Role play 4): 50%
Participation: 10%
Information Technologies in Organizations
This course gives is about business processes, and how you can improve these through IT.
The course is very basic and is considered to be one of the easiest courses at HEC. (Note that
the grading system is based on class average, so it is possible to fail even with a 60-70%
score) The course is very practical and all required readings are provided through free PDF´s
and Flash-videos. It´s recommended to have a Windows based computer, but if you use a mac
they will provide you with a free virtual computer software with a windows partition to install
on your mac.
Assignment 1: 15%
Assignment 2: 15%
Tests/Quizzes: 30%
Final Exam: 40%
Other things/experiences (trips)
Considering Montréal is very close to the US border, we had some trips to Boston and also
Vermont during the semester. We arranged the trips ourselves by renting a car and driving,
but the HEChange team does also arrange a trip (but this was not until October/November
which was a bit late).
Two of us went to Toronto and the Niagara falls. If you’re going, try to go as early as possible
to make sure the weather and temperature is nice.
Some of us also went to Cuba in the fall break. Also this trip is arranged, but we organized
everything on our own and do not regret that.
One of us also had a trip by bus to New York. The trip is not that very costly, but the bus ride
is quite long (approx. 9 hours).
We all went to Quebec City with HEChange, we recommend this trip. Beautiful city.
We strongly recommend Montréal! A beautiful city where you never get bored! :)