MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Discovering the Luxury Industry in Hong Kong

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

Time passes very quickly in the MBA program and before we knew it was March, meaning our trip to Hong Kong and Dubai would take place shortly. The trips have been prepared as a way for us to familiarize ourselves with two important markets for luxury. We were supposed to interact with numerous industry participants and if lucky – hear they would consider people like us for job opportunities!

Our first stop was Hong Kong, which, before 1997, was a British colony. Even today the British influence is very well-known, and the city has a distinct character, much different than that of Mainland China or other former colonies, such as Portuguese Macau. Politically the city operates as a Special Administrative Region, the SAR, and functions under ‘one country, two systems’ principle.

Our group stayed in Hong Kong for 8 days, during which we met over 40 individuals from all different sectors of the industry. Richemont group presented us with an overview of the luxury watch market, since Hong Kong is the world’s largest market for watches, a fact which became evident the moment we started noticing dozens of watch stores on each corner of the city. We also had a pleasure to tour Chanel’s boutique located in Prince’s building – the second Chanel boutique in the world, opened in 1979!

During the second day we learned more about the ESSEC community in the city – all together (MBA & Grand École students) the alumni number more than 200! This creates a great environment in which people can network and support each other.

Some meetings had a very technical aspect – The LVMH Vice President for Fashion gave a presentation about the way to structure business partnerships in the region, with some operations done under a joint venture, franchising, etc. The next day we were given a very detailed overview of L’Oréal Travel Retail division with numbers, numbers, and more numbers (which I personally enjoyed greatly!).

The most memorable conference in Hong Kong took part on the last day, in the Asia Pacific offices of Kering. With more than 13 speakers, this was by far the longest, but also the most informative of all the conferences. Each speaker represented a different brand and they talked about different aspects of managing a luxury brand using their brand as an example i.e. we learned about digital advertising and customer engagement online at Boucheron; the importance of superior customer retail service in Alexander McQueen; how visual merchandising was done at Bottega Veneta, etc.

One cannot talk about Hong Kong without mentioning the food! Over the 8 days we had a chance to sample local delicacies, some of us multiple times! Dim sum, egg tart, mango pudding – they never taste as good as in Hong Kong! With full stomachs we boarded the plane and headed to Dubai!