MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why I Chose the International Luxury Brand MBA: Interview with Sheng Gao

What were you doing before you joined the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program?
Right before I started the program, I took some time to travel. During my trip in Pyongyang, I saw some young local tour guides sporting handbags by Hermes, Chanel and Prada, it was fascinating. In terms of profession, I was working for a contemporary art gallery where I coordinated exhibitions and collaboration projects. It was a crazy and dynamic workplace where you get daily exposure to big-name artists, luxury companies, PR agencies and celebrities. Before entering the art world I was working as an accountant for a big-4 firm, very different life. 

Why did you decide to join the MBA?

I have always been interested in marketing and branding. They have huge influences on our generation's mindset and behaviour. Unlike many other MBAs, this program has an emphasis on marketing so it's exactly what I was looking for. 

What do you hope to achieve throughout the year?

Luxury brand consumption was a social phenomenon in the 90's in Japan, and now it's China's turn. I hope that by the end of the program, I will be able to uncover some of the secrets of powerful brands, in other words, how these brands can create such strong desires.

What are your professional goals after you finish the MBA?

Through interacting with professors and industry experts, I have identified that product development is the most relevant to my interest and work experience. 

What advice would you give to someone who is applying to the program?

Find out as much as you can about this program by talking to the school and graduates. Understand your motivation. It is a business program so if you want to become a fashion designer, it's probably not the right program for you. If you want to know about managing a boutique, CRM, digital marketing and retail operation, then you should definitely look into it.
by Teresa Chen

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why I Chose the International Luxury MBA: Interview with Patricia Chornenky

What were you doing before you joined the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program?
Before joining the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management I was working in the public relations industry in Canada. I was working at an international PR agency in Toronto, focusing my efforts on FMCG products. PR agencies tend to a lot of different things, so each day was very different. Some days a lot of time was spent building relationships with editors, bloggers and vloggers across the country and the next I would be planning a media event. 
Why did you decide to join the MBA?
I spent my career working mostly with FMCG products but had always wanted to gain more knowledge of the luxury world. I entered this MBA in order to broaden my knowledge and to also help me transition from a role in public relations into a marketing role.

"There are definitely a couple of things that applicants should take into consideration. First, be sure that you want to be in luxury"

The beauty of this program is that it is placed in one of the major centers for luxury, so even when you're not in the classroom or doing group work, you have the ability to be exposed to luxury, culture and art. The school also has strong partnerships with many different luxury houses and so you're often provided the opportunity to meet, network and learn from industry leaders. 
What do you hope to achieve throughout the year?

What am I not trying to achieve this year, is the real question! Like all the students here, I left a comfortable life and successful career to come to this program. I plan to learn everything I can this year and take full advantage of the opportunities that we are given!

What are your professional goals after you finish the MBA?

I have always been passionate about the perfume and cosmetics industry. My ultimate goal after this program is to be able to combine my already existing professional knowledge with what I've gained throughout this MBA. Ultimately, I think moving in to a marketing role in-house with a cosmetics industry would allow me to do this.

What advice would you give to someone who is applying to the program?

There are definitely a couple of things that applicants should take into consideration. First, be sure that you want to be in luxury. This program is curated specifically so that you can enter the luxury industry with a good base of knowledge. Everything that you do in this program is related to just be sure! Second, begin to think of what sector you'd like to enter - is it watches, fashion, cosmetics or jewelry. It's important to at least start thinking about it and doing some research into it before coming to the school. 

Last but not least, come prepared to learn and work hard. The program is 1 year, so it is intensive. You'll be given great opportunities and you'll be learning from everyone and everything!
by Teresa Chen

Friday, June 3, 2016

Why I Chose International Luxury as My MBA: Interview with Pedro

by Teresa Chen
Current student  Pedro Mendes Guimaraes Trajano de Sa from Rio in Brazil, has sat down with me, for an interview about why he joined our International Luxury MBA.

What were you doing before you joined the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program?

Prior to starting this MBA, I worked in the control/financial department in a fashion company in Brazil; I was hired to build this department from scratch. I was fully in charge for this mission as my manager at the time was involved in other projects. Through this experience, I realized how important research and new ideas are in an environment where the expectations are already high. The successful outcomes of this mission enabled the CEO of the company to entrust me with taking the strategic planning of the company to a new level. I started to work with every department to develop them so each one could achieve their short-term goals and align their long-term planning. 

In addition, I worked alongside the retail manager on a daily basis; together we analysed and took decisions to develop and increase each store’s performance. We also focused much of our efforts on store experience to ensure that the brand resonated with our customers all over Brazil, and for customers to feel that the experience provided was unique for them. 

Why did you decide to join the MBA?
Everything about this MBA aligned with my goals, and this is very important for me and helped me make my final decisions between coming here or going to another program. I'm also very passionate about the luxury industry and the products, it's something that gets me motivated, so after much research this program is the best program that exists in terms of an MBA with a deep specialization in luxury. 

My last reason for coming here was I wanted a very international experience, so this program based in France with a completely international class was perfect for me. For more details I have made a video on my channel describing exactly this MBA decision-making journey to ESSEC (see YouTube).

What do you hope to achieve throughout the year and what are your professional goals after you finish the MBA?

Coming from a fashion company, I wanted to understand what makes something luxury, and also understand the savoir-faire of France and Italy. I also want to work for a large luxury group eventually with a lot of structure, as this is the opposite of my previous experiences. Basically I want to continue doing finance but in a more complex environment to enrich myself and my skill sets.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone who is applying to the program?

I would say think about your motivation for applying for the program. Do not do it if because you like a brand or want to be part of luxury, because it's a hard-working industry! I am here for my dreams and goals so I would recommend candidates to apply to the program only because they truly love luxury, and also know that the MBA will fulfill their personal goals.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Breguet Museum Visit

Keli Chew, International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, Singapore

To conclude the Managing a Watch Brand elective, we were rewarded with a visit to the Breguet boutique and museum located at Place Vendome. This was a special arrangement, kindly made possible by our professor Jerome Auzanneau

We were warmly greeted upon arrival and were encouraged to browse around and to ask questions regarding the collections. The boutique was spacious and ornately decorated; each showcase featured collections, each more stunning that the other.     

We then proceeded to the museum located above the boutique. There, we had the pleasure to meet M. Emmanuel Breguet, Vice President and Head of Patrimony and Strategic Development. He welcomed us and took us through the illustrious history of the brand, which included distinguished clientele such as King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and the Turkish ottomans. After which, we had the opportunity to view some of these beautifully crafted vintage pieces on display. My personal favourite is a tactile pocket watch made for Empress Josephine; it is in blue enamel and features a letter “H” in diamonds on the reverse.

M. Breguet also kindly presented original ledgers from the vault, showing records of orders from Emperor Napoleon and other clients. Every record was handwritten and some even included detailed drawings, we watched in awe at the detailed descriptions as he leafed gently through the pages. We discovered amongst the archives, records of the first ever wristwatch invented, giving evidence that Breguet was indeed the inventor of wristwatches.

We were also shown a guilloche machine from 1815 and explained the technicalities and difficulties involved in guillochage. We have a newfound respect for the craft and manufacture, known for the use of up to 4 different guilloche patterns on a single dial.

The visit has been extremely enriching in helping us understand further the art of fine watchmaking as well as this innovative French watchmaking house known for inventing the tourbillion. Thank you M. Breguet and your team for this opportunity to visit!   

Our visit to Audemars Piguet

Keli Chew, International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, Singapore

To understand more about the world of watchmaking, the class visited Audemars Piguet at Le Brassus, Switzerland. It was definitely a memorable trip as it is the first time visiting a manufacture for most of the class and it was snowing in the middle of April in the valley!

We were welcomed by CEO, Francois-Henry Bennahmias and given VIP treatment starting with a visit of the museum located at the former Audemars family home. My group was guided by Veronique who used to work at the Audemars Piguet Academy. She is extremely knowledgeable and explained in details about the history of watchmaking, how a movement functions and the different complications. We were awed by the vintage watch collection as well as the beautiful grand complication pieces made by the manufacture. The highlight of our morning was visiting the watchmaker working on restorations whereby we saw him fabricating parts to restore antique pieces.

After lunch, we proceeded to visit the manufacture to understand the complexity and processes involved in fine watchmaking. We were required to put on protective gowns and shoe covers to prevent dust before given a tour around the manufacture. We marveled at the patience and skills of the watchmakers having seen with our own eyes how small and delicate the parts are.

The day ended with a conference with Mr Bennahmias whom answered all our questions without any hesitation.  After which, was time for us to bid farewell to the manufacture and head back to Paris.  Though the trip was short, I am certain that we all left Le Brassus with better understanding of timepieces and a new found appreciation for high watchmaking.