Studying sustainable management to prepare the next generation

Embarking on a new career in your 50s can be a daunting prospect. But after a rewarding career in business, Éric Mateu-Huon did just that, making the switch to teaching management to college students. He decided to enroll in HEC Montréal’s sustainable development and management master’s program in a bid to deepen his understanding of the field and better guide his students.

“The world is changing. We have to change with it.”

  • In the summer of 2017, Éric survived a serious heart problem that prompted him to rethink his career. He left behind his high-powered life as an editor and entrepreneur to pursue a long-held dream in a lower-pressure environment: teaching college.

  • Two years later, environmental activist Greta Thunberg came to Montréal to march for climate action and speak before a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people. The event spoke to Éric’s deeply held values, and he decided to enroll in HEC Montréal’s sustainable development and management master’s program. 
Éric Mateu-Huon

“I want to look ahead at what will be the most in-demand sustainable management skills in the future, so I can prepare younger generations for the world of work. HEC Montréal is giving me the knowledge and tools I need to do that today, so I can pass what I learn on to them tomorrow.”

“It has made me a better teacher”

  • Now as a master’s student, Éric is mainly driven by a desire to deepen his understanding of sustainable management concepts so he can better guide his students. Where he can, he draws on his experience in socially responsible entrepreneurship—for instance, one of his main areas of focus is the principles of “green IT,” an approach that considers the impact of digital practices on the environment.

  • After so many years in the workforce, Éric was initially concerned that he wouldn’t fit in with the younger students at HEC Montréal. But he found the campus community to be an inclusive and international one in which interaction and collaboration are held up as an ideal. He now feels very comfortable with adults of all ages and backgrounds.

  • He is impressed by how the faculty members—who he says are “hot shots” in the world of business—are open to hearing a diversity of opinions. He appreciates the quality of the sustainable management courses and is able to take what he learns and put it into practice in his own classroom.
  • Most of all, he is glad to see an institution providing higher education in French: “Their respect for the French language is not mere lip service. I didn’t realize it, but French is part and parcel of HEC Montréal’s mission.” 

“The idea of going back to school might give some people pause: ‘Do I really want to go from managing a team of 300 to working on group projects with 22-year-olds?’ But none of the managers I’ve met in my master’s program have any regrets. Interacting with a diverse range of people across ages and backgrounds has helped them better understand their peers in the world of work. It might take some getting used to, but ultimately it makes us better at our jobs.”

Éric’s story

2004-2017 Magazine founder and editor 
2010–2017 Manager of a start up that designed low-carbon data centres
Went back to school and pivoted to teaching management at the college level
2020-2024 Master’s candidate in sustainable development and management at HEC Montréal

HEC Montréal: Where opportunities are created

At HEC Montréal, our mission is to train leaders who make a responsible contribution to the success of organizations and to sustainable social development. We offer programs taught in French that are recognized by employers for their high standards of quality. We are committed to sustainability and providing members of the HEC Montréal community with a welcoming campus environment where inclusion is upheld as a fundamental value.

Sustainable and responsible management


specialized programs in sustainable development

Master’s programs


programs in every area of management

Equity, diversity, inclusion

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