MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Friday, September 13, 2013

Where are they now? An interview with alumnus Joseph Grigsby '04

Joseph Grigsby, Class of 2004
Where does an MBA in International Luxury Brand Management from ESSEC take you? Over the following months, several alumni will answer this question by sharing their stories on the MBA blog.

Joseph Grigsby '04, Executive Director Global Marketing, Lab Series & Good Skin Labs, Estée Lauder Companies, shares his experience.

What drew you to work in the luxury field and study with the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management?

I had always worked in cosmetics and I really wanted the opportunity to understand high-end, prestige cosmetics and the industry in order to become a better cosmetics marketer. ESSEC had the only program in the world like the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management and I knew that cosmetics were a part of it. I also wanted the opportunity to live in France, the birthplace of luxury, which attracted me to the program.

Could you describe your career path after your graduation from ESSEC? What is your current role and responsibilities?

Immediately following ESSEC, I was hired by L’Oréal as the manager for Lancôme brand for three years. From there, I moved to Sephora Europe, for which I managed all categories for the European exclusive brands. Three years ago, I was recruited by Estée Lauder Companies to work in their Global Corporate Innovation Team and was recently promoted to be executive Director of Global Marketing for two of our smaller brands. I’m now back in New York City.

Was there anything particular about the Luxury MBA that helped prepare you for your career path or qualify you for your current position?

The thing that I really enjoyed about the MBA was having access to the industry leaders in luxury; not just cosmetics, but all sectors. I also learned the importance of respecting heritage, authenticity and the DNA of the brand. Now that I manage global brands, it is crucial to understand the heart of a brand and its heritage, which you need to leverage as much as possible, while still keeping it pertinent and up to date. But that’s what luxury is; heritage, authenticity, and craftsmanship. Those are the things that are really honed and emphasized by the MBA.

What advice would you give to our new students just entering the program? What advice would you give to our new graduates who are beginning their job search?

The first thing is that the program is what you make of it. As a student in the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management, you have unparalleled access to industry leaders, so you need to take advantage of all the programs, attend all the speakers, and really leverage your mentor. Come prepared with questions and ask for opportunities to meet other people in the industry. Ask for their advice and listen; these people give their time and energy to the MBA because they believe in the program, of which many of them are graduates. Students should enter the program wanting to take advantage of the opportunities it gives them as much as possible.

My second piece of advice for students entering the program is that their job search starts now. Every opportunity to mingle, to attend a presentation, or to be introduced to someone in the industry is a mini-job interview. The luxury industry is very small, so networking is very important and knowing somebody who knows somebody will help you find a job.