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HEC Montreal - DOC

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									Student report of exchange semester at HEC Montreal
winter 2010




University: HEC Montreal
Name: Madeleine Olsnes Fredriksen
Exchange semester: Spring, 2010



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Index

Student report of exchange semester at HEC Montreal winter 2010 ............. 1
The university of economics; HEC Montreal ............................................................................... 3
Before Leaving ..................................................................................................................................... 3
    Course enrolment .......................................................................................................................................... 3
    Medical insurance ......................................................................................................................................... 4
    VISA procedures and travel experience ................................................................................................... 4
    Signing up for the Welcoming Week ....................................................................................................... 5
Academic Calendar............................................................................................................................. 5
Reception .............................................................................................................................................. 5
    Housing ............................................................................................................................................................ 5
Costs ...................................................................................................................................................... 6
    Living expenses .............................................................................................................................................. 6
    School expenses............................................................................................................................................. 6
    Social activities ............................................................................................................................................... 7
The International Office .................................................................................................................... 7
Exchange Promotion .......................................................................................................................... 7
Social Activities .................................................................................................................................... 7
Language ................................................................................................................................................ 8
Cultural and Social Effects from the Exchange Experience ....................................................... 8
Academic Information ........................................................................................................................ 8
    Teaching Situation......................................................................................................................................... 8
    Required Literature ....................................................................................................................................... 9
    Exams............................................................................................................................................................... 9
    Other ..............................................................................................................................................................10
    Description of Courses ...............................................................................................................................10




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The university of economics; HEC Montreal
   HEC Montréal (formerly known as: École des Hautes Études commerciales de
   Montréal), is the independent affiliated business school of the Université de Montréal,
   and the oldest management School in Canada. HEC Montreal celebrated its 100th
   anniversary in 2007. The school has several times been awarded for being one of the
   best business schools in America. The school consists of 12 000 students and every
   semester students from over 30 countries come as exchange students to Montreal. The
   domains of study comprise Finance, International Business, Logistics, Management,
   Marketing, Human Resources, Accounting and Information Technology. The BBA
   program offers a trilingual program of courses in French, Spanish and English.
   HEC consists of two buildings. The main building is called Côte Sainte-Catherine
   while the second building is called Decelles.


   In the exchange semester of spring 2010 there were approximately 200 exchange
   students from more then 30 countries. Getting to know people has never been easier.
   If you want to do an exchange, go to Montreal. Montreal is the second largest city in
   Canada; it is a city rich in culture and history, a city of attractive, fashionably dressed
   people, and a well-deserved reputation as one of the liveliest cities in North America!



Before Leaving
When accepted at HEC you will receive information regularly from the exchange office
regarding course enrolment, housing, the buddy program, welcoming week, etc. For
important dates, check out <
http://www.hec.ca/en/international_student/international_exchange/HEC_calendar.html >



Course enrolment
Before choosing courses you will have to get your courses approved by the exchange
office at BI. When that is done the administration at HEC will be prepared to help
accommodate you for the courses. Assure to check information regarding course


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enrolment. This should be done in good time since the courses sometimes get filled up in
a few days. When you start your courses you are always able to withdraw from them or
change. This can be done through their website or the administration will assist you.



Medical insurance
  One of the main things you need to do when arriving in Montreal is to register for the
   medical insurance. If you are a Norwegian citizen this is free. What you need to do in
   advance is to apply for a student loan through Lånekassen as an exchange student
   electronically. After receiving a letter of acceptance from BI saying you have been
   admitted to HEC Montréal spring /fall XX with a stamp and signature from the school
   you need to send this to Lånekassen. When this has been processed you receive a
   conformation letter from Lånekassen, which will go through NAV (who provides the
   medical insurance papers). As you know, Norway is very bureaucratic, and paper
   work gong through the government could take a long time. Make sure that you do it
   in good time. The paper that you will receive is a confirmation letter from NAV. In
   my situation I didn’t receive my confirmation letter until February. What I did was to
   bring my European Health Insurance Card (you can order it online) and after a lot of
   discussion it was accepted! If you don’t provide the acquired documentation you will
   have to pay the insurance fee of 385 CAD.



VISA procedures and travel experience
   If you are coming on an exchange for one term only (less than six months) you do not
   need the study permit, issued by the Government of Canada. But it is suggested that
   you obtain these immigration documents if you want to have the option of extending
   your exchange. This means that you don’t need a VISA unless you are staying longer
   than six months. If not you need “Letter of Acceptance” from HEC Montreal when
   you enter the border, and also the confirmation letter from lånekassen. In case of
   changes in the procedures, contact the Canadian Embassy or check out HEC
   Montreal’s webpage.




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   Regarding airline tickets, I checked for the cheapest tickets through Kelkoo
   (www.kelkoo.no) and then ordered directly from the flight agency that offered the
   cheapest tickets. I ordered my ticket in September through Lufthansa
   (www.lufthansa.no).



Signing up for the Welcoming Week
   The student association organizes a welcoming week, where all the exchange students
   meet. It is a week of non-stop partying. I would definitely recommend you to register
   for this week. This is where you will get to know people both exchange students and
   local students. The procedures for the payments etc will be informed through the e-
   mails received from the HEChange team. You can also sign up for a buddy, who can
   show you around in Montreal and help you whether you have any questions.



Academic Calendar
   I arrived in Montreal on December 29th with my boyfriend who also was an
   exchange student at HEC Montreal. The Introductory week started January 5th, the
   same day as the classes started. We did not order the welcoming package that
   included a pickup at the airport, but this will all be in the e-mail giving you 4 choices
   at different prices.


   In the first class of every course it was mostly introduction (both yourself and the
   course outline). My last class before the midterms was February 16th and the
   midterms started 17th. By the 24th I had my spring break (watch for cheap tickets to
   Cuba). Class started again 4th of March and my last class was April 15th and by April
   23rd I had my summer holiday.



Reception
Housing
      The administration provides help for students to find accommodations through
       Gia Gestion that find rooms in students apartments, who you will share with other

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       HEC students. After what I have seen, I would definitely recommend this since
       living with other exchange students gives you the opportunity to make more
       friends and develop your language skills. Since I was travelling with my
       boyfriend we decided to find an apartment on our own. We tried to find
       something near the Le Plateau area, which is a big student area, and is a very
       attractive area to live in. Le Plateau is filled with restaurants, cafes and bars. Le
       Plateau is a big area, streets like rue St. Denis, rue Mari- Anne, rue St. Joseph, rue
       Mount Royal, St. Laurent are some good suggestions for housing. I would
       therefore recommend you to take a walk in these streets (or in near by streets) and
       look for “for rent” signs in the windows. Also check out
       www.mystudiomontreal.ca and www.kijiji.ca. Mystudiomontreal is the leader in
       furnished apartments and studios rentals while Kijiji is more or less like finn.no.



Costs
Living expenses
   When studying in Canada you don’t get any extra money from Lånekassen besides
   covering the travel expenses. Anyhow, Canada is not as costly as living in Norway.
   But I would definitely recommend saving some extra money. In general, the rent cost
   ca 600 CAD each month which included gas, Internet, heating etc. Metro card cost ca
   40 CAD each month. The cell phone bill (through Fido) cost ca 50-60 CAD. Be
   aware that the cellular telephone service in Canada is very limited compared to
   Norway. A lot of exchange students chose the prepaid deal. However the “month to
   month” payment is less expensive. This because texting and calling is less expensive
   if you chose the “month to month” payment. Just make sure that before you leave
   Canada you need to resign from the deal in good time (more than one month) before
   departure. Other than that it is food, ca 150 CAD each month and buss/metro card
   (STM) that costs 37,5 CAD per month. The buss/metro card gives you unlimited
   access to the public transport in Montreal.



School expenses
   The books in Canada are very expensive. Ca 150-200 CAD per book, per class.

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Social activities
   The exchange association, HEChange will through your semester organize several
   get-togethers and trips. Aside from the welcoming week they also organize trips to
   neighbouring cities like Quebec City (145 CAD), Boston (ca 300 CAD) and Ottawa
   (one day trip 45 CAD). They organize the transportation, housing and activities for
   the trip. They also organize get-togethers, which vary from one year to another.
   Besides this, it is a lot of clubbing. For instance every Tuesday students get together
   at Café Campus for the cheap beer.
   Also, for spring break going to Cuba for instance can be very cheap. You can find
   cheap tickets from Canada to Cuba. We paid for an all-inclusive package in total of
   700 CAD.

The International Office
The International office is situated at HEC Montreal second building, the Decelles
building at room 5.260. The International Office will direct the first day at school. They
will give you a tour guide around the school and give you general practical information
both about the school and Montreal. If you have any questions their email address is
isa@hec.ca, and telephone number +1514-340-6049.



Exchange Promotion
By the end of the semester, the International Office at HEC organizes a meeting for
exchange students to meet outgoing students from HEC. This means that you, as a
student in Norway will meet a student from HEC who is going to your country the
following semester. This can be really helpful especially for the outgoing student, and a
great opportunity for you as a resident of Norway to show he/she around and help him
whether he/she has any questions.



Social Activities
As a result of the welcoming week (organized by HEChange) , you easily get to know
students from all over the world. It is a situation where everybody is interested in meeting


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new people and make friends. The fact that there are not many Norwegians at HEC
makes it even better (not that I don’t like Norwegians), because as an exchange student I
wanted to meet people from all over the world. Through the semester a lot of exchange
students take the initiative to organize parties, dinners etc.



Language
Montreal is a French and English speaking city. Mostly the students at HEC speak both
languages. But in certain areas of Montreal, their English is very poor. My French was at
a very basic level when I came to Montreal, but I never saw this as a very big problem.
Instead it motivated me to learn more French.



Cultural and Social Effects from the Exchange Experience
Before I went on an exchange I especially looked upon the ability to master different
languages as being essential to any future career. By going on an exchange I could not
only continue my studies, but also improve in both English and French. Moreover the
experience of studying abroad also helped me understand other cultures, have many new
experiences and make new friends, which all enrich my life both academically and
socially. Exchange to Montreal is definitely one of the best experiences of my life, and I
would recommend anyone to take the opportunity to go on an exchange.




Academic Information

Teaching Situation
  There are more courses offered in French than in English and Spanish. I took all my
    courses in English except for my language course, which I had in French. In some
    classes they also give you the opportunity to take the class in French but have your
    exams in English. But this is really a decision of the teacher of the class and not a
    general practice.




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   The level of the study in comparison to the level at BI is a lot higher. The teaching at
   HEC is closer to the teaching at High School in Norway (videregående). In your
   classes you have assignments, cases, quizzes and other teaching methods, which need
   to be done throughout the semester. The teacher sometimes tests the students in order
   to check whether the students did their homework. Teaching is manly practical, but I
   would say that the level of the teachers are so high that very few of my classes were
   boring. The classes consist of 20-50 students, so you feel like you have more a class
   and not a lecture like at BI. Students are expected to participate in class, and in some
   courses this count as a part of your grade. The teacher also tries to memorize students
   names in class. As a result you have more a personal relationship between the faculty
   and the students (not as distant, like at BI). You naturally also have a better
   relationship with the students as a result of having group work together and
   participating in class.



Required Literature
  The literature is in the language you have your class in. The level of the literature is
   very mixed. I found it to be very diffuse and not very precise. The books are very
   expensive compared to Norway. Often the slides (used by the teacher) are really good
   and I used them very actively in my studies.



Exams
   Most of my exams were written one open-book while the rest was closed book. In my
   language course I had an oral exam. In three of my courses I had a midterm as well as
   the final exam. The exams are pretty similar to the ones in Norway. I found them
   somehow to be more difficult, because the exams could consist of a lot of questions,
   which make it difficult to be finished on time. But this differs from person to person.
   They also curve the grades (normal fordeling), you receive a grade accordingly to the
   level of the class. Usually you need 50 points (out of 100) to pass, but in some classes
   you need above 60 points to pass.




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Other
  The library is at the main building; this is also where the students study (study hall).
   Here you have computers, books and printers. The administration is very helpful if
   you have any questions regarding finding the literature.
   The teacher use PowerPoint actively in class, and these are distributed to the students
   online. Like I said earlier, the slides are often very good and easy to use in your
   studies. Usually the permanent students at HEC bring their computers to class. This is
   not required, and usually the teacher prefer you not to because they know how it
   distracts the students to pay attention in class. But for the assignments and cases you
   need to use your computer.



Description of Courses
Major at BI: Business Administration


2-508-09 Operations Management
The course is designed to give a broad yet thorough understanding of the role and
function of production and operations management (POM) within a business. Videos and
case studies will be used to provide the students with the conceptual framework of POM.
These concepts will be applied to both manufacturing and service firms. The major
elements covered in this course are: system design, quality control & management, and
supply chain management. After completion of this course students should have an
excellent understanding of POM as well as a solid base to major in this field.


In my opinion, this was my favorite course. It was not a heavy workload and the teacher
was easy to follow.


Grading:
Assignments: 20%
Midterm exam: 40%
Final exam: 40%




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3-218-04 Financial Management
This advanced course is devoted to capital budgeting and financing decisions of non-
financial corporations. The three building blocks are:
• Investment decisions and valuation
• Cost of capital
• Capital structure and dividend policy


This course will provide a deeper understanding of these topics. We studied the
theoretical models and discuss their application through numerous case studies. In the last
part of the course we applied the tools to special topics in corporate finance: Mergers and
acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and real options.


This was a course with a heavy workload. We had in total 5 assignments/cases, but only 4
of the best write- ups counted to the final grade. These cases were quite difficult, and
time consuming, but very effectively when learning the course material.


Grading:
Cases: 25%
Quiz: 25%
Final Exam: 50%


2-908-97 Management accounting
This introductory course is intended to develop managerial accounting skills on the
means of gathering and using accounting information to support decision-making within
the organizations. The emphasis is on cost allocation, budgeting and performance
evaluation.
The course was ok, the only matter of difficulty was the exams. The exams consisted of
too many questions compared to the time we had.


Grading:
Home quiz: 10%


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Midterm Exam: 45%
Final exam: 45%


3-118-00 Marketing Research
The course objectives are:
       1.1 
 To acquire understanding of important marketing research terminology.
       1.2 To develop understanding for important marketing research ideas and
           concepts.

       1.3 To develop the ability to apply marketing research knowledge in particular
           and concrete situations.
       1.4 To interpret research results in the context of their meaning for the client
           (implications).

       1.5 To develop critical thinking (logical and deliberate reasoned evaluation of
           issues), and the ability to organize information in a convincing manner to
           support one's arguments.
       1.6 To develop skills in writing compelling business memos.
       1.7 To correctly apply statistical methods.


   This course was mainly about the marketing research project we had for a company in
   Montreal. We learned the theory along the way, which we applied to the project from
   start to finish. A very interesting course but also a heavy one. The project itself was
   very time consuming, but also fun.


   Grading:
   Marketing research project: 30%
   Quizzes: 30%
   Final Exam: 40%


3510303 - H0 French Language Course (Oral)
The course was offered at different levels. I had level one and here the focus was
grammar, pronunciation and trying to make conversation. If you are having a language


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course at HEC I would recommend to take a French language course. This is offered by
the exchange administration, and they will inform about the procedure to register for the
class.
This course was taken out of HEC at Universite de Montreal. The points get transferred
to your HEC “account” and are approved as a course at HEC. The workload was not too
bad.


Grading
Oral tests: 40%
Homework: 5%
Participation in class: 5%
Final exam: 50%


If you have any questions regarding the exchange, contact me on email
madeleine_222@hotmail.com




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