MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Company Trek: Visit to Kering

By Pawel Zawisza, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management student 2013-2014, Poland

What a great way to start the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management at ESSEC, if not to visit the offices of one of the major players in the industry? On September 11, all of us were priviledged enough to visit the offices of Kering in Paris, where we got a sample of how the luxury goods business operates.

Kering, formerly PPR, is one of the world's largest luxury goods holdings. It includes such well-established brands as Gucci, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, as well as lifestyle & sport brands like Puma. Over the course of the afternoon we were able to interact with top managers in the company, and to learn more about the challenges and opportunities when it comes to selling luxury products.

After the short introduction, our first session was with the Head of Merchandising at Balenciaga. We learned about each step in the process of how to design a collection for the following year. Yes, the preliminary planning for Fall 2013 started in the summer of 2012! We were told about different steps involved in the planning process – deciding what the collection will include, prototype evaluation, etc.

The second session dealt with the emergence of digital trends in the luxury goods industry. Nowadays more and more companies are noticing and utilizing the digital sphere, including social media, to communicate faster and better with their customers. At the same time it poses a challenge, as the fast-changing digital landscape can make it difficult to properly convey the meaning of 'luxury'.

Our last session for the day concerned the process of mergers and acquisitions in the luxury goods industry, what factors go into putting a price tag on different companies, how the M&A process is structured, etc. For obvious reasons I cannot go into details, since everything was TOP SECRET :-)

Personally, I found each and every session very interesting and, in some areas, illuminating. The visit allowed me to understand the luxury industry much better, and I came out from the meeting with much appreciation to all the people working hard at Kering!