A shipwreck and a chicken hotel – ‘giving back’ has different guises

HEC Paris | Diapason Juvenile Behavioural Facility

Over four days in April a total of 156 MBA students at HEC Paris left their mark on the community they’d called home for 16 months in the form of a play area – a three-part shipwreck – seating areas and a chicken ‘hotel’.

Through the build of these imaginative play facilities for young people at the Diapason Juvenile Behavioural Facility co-located with Buc Ressources, in central France, the cohort not only got to experience effective leadership and the power of teamwork, but also had the opportunity to ‘give back’ to others less fortunate. 

Splash Projects involve participants building timber facilities from concept designs; most people are in the same boat having to learn how to use tools for the first time, a skill taught by our expert project facilitators, the majority of whom are ex-military or tradespeople. 

Here are some soundbites from the MBA students captured during the project about their previous experiences with tools: 

“I’ve never really built anything before apart from IKEA furniture, so this is going to be really fun…” 

“When I was at school, I was part of the theatre group; I didn’t act, but was part of the team who built a whole set…” 

“My dad used to let me build things with wood in his garage when I was a kid…” 

And here are some soundbites from the students about teamwork: 

“This is all about co-operation, making sure everyone’s doing their bit, and making sure it’s of really good quality for the kids…” 

“We’re working together towards a common goal…” 

Students on MBA courses have backgrounds in various subject areas from engineering and manufacturing to marketing and IT, but however different the subject, the importance of effective leadership and teamwork remains the same. 

Kristine de Valke, Dean of Degree Programmes and Professor of Marketing at HEC, said: “We introduced Splash Projects into our MBA programmes for several reasons, the main one being impact: our students go out and take all the learnings from their Splash Projects with them into their business roles.  

“It’s also about them leaving a legacy in their country and community.”