MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Where are they now...? Interview with Clara Goicoechea L12

Clara Goicoechea graduated from the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management in 2012. Coming from a finance background, she now works as Project Manager for Alexander McQueen in London. We had the opportunity to catch up with Clara to ask her some questions about her time at ESSEC and how it has helped her achieve her professional goals.

What were you doing before the MBA and why did you decide to come to the ESSEC MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program?

Before the MBA I worked for 4 years in Spain in Finance. Although I had always been attracted by the fashion luxury industry I thought working for a bank for a few years would be a good experience. After a couple of years I started looking at the possibilities of changing careers and started my research on the different Business Schools. ESSEC MBA seemed like the perfect fit: it was opened to any kind of background and it was the only one with a specific focus on the luxury industry where I wanted to redirect my career. 

I was impressed by the quality of the partnerships the school had with the fashion houses and luxury conglomerates which was a very important point to develop a good network. Finally, it was in Paris, and I thought that if I needed to learn about luxury it could only be in that city. 

Please describe your career path since graduation. What is your current position and responsibilities?

Just before graduation I was hired by Alexander McQueen as Project Manager. I moved to London in November 2012 and have been working with them since then in business development and strategy. 

What in particular in the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management helped you prepare for your career path or qualify you for your current position?

The MBA gave me a great and unique understanding of every dimension of the luxury industry. The teachers, as well as the many executives who collaborate with the program, are true experts of the business. Learning from them sets an essential basis to start a successful professional career on this industry.

The alumni network is also an extremely valuable asset of the program. I received great guidance from many of them in terms of how to look for jobs, how to approach the companies and what are the different positions that I could be interested in. They also put me in contact with many other people so they help you develop very important professional relationships.

What is your best memory from your time in the ESSEC MBA program?

It is hard just to pick just one… But I have a very good memory of the field project at the end of the program.

I worked for almost two months with three other students and it gave us the opportunity to put in practice everything that we had learned during the year. We realized that we knew much more than we thought!

Most importantly, before the MBA I had only work with finance people and in the project it was four of us from very different countries and very different backgrounds: design, finance & communications. It helped me a lot to understand how more creative people work and it was a bit of a taste of what was going to come later at work. 

What advice would you give to current students in the program?

I would tell them to enjoy as much as possible the exceptional opportunity they have. They are now with many potential future leaders of the industry and they are living in the best city to learn about luxury. I would tell them to be curious about everything, to visit all the expositions they can and to meet as many people as they can. Every day is going to teach them something new and it is going to go really fast.

I would also tell them to not stress about what we all stress by the end of the program which is finding a job… if they work hard and are passionate about what they want to do they are going to find the perfect job.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Learning from the Experts: Managing a Wine and Spirit Brand

By Adolé Kabwasa, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2014-2015, Germany

They say that you’ll never forget your first time with Krug. And this might in fact be true. After meeting Krug’s current president and CEO Margareth Henriquez in T1, with whom most of the class experienced their first glass of Krug champagne, we had the privilege to participate in a two-day lecture with Rémi Krug, former president and CEO of the Maison and a descendant of Johann-Joseph Krug, who founded the iconic champagne brand in 1843. For sure this lecture will never be forgotten, since it was a unique experience and great fun.

Rémi Krug, the personification of  ‘French charm', is the perfect ambassador, whose passion for the craft and pride for this remarkable product remain undiminished after more than 40 years in the business.

In his first lecture, he gave us great insights into the wine business, its growing area, harvesting methods and bottling in general as well as the champagne business and the house of Krug. Rémi told us about the history of Krug and his family, the dream of the founder, as well as how the brand has evolved over time and overcome challenges faced during the various decades.

We learned that it’s not only enough to have an excellent product that sells, but one that also needs to be aware and ready for the future. The future might hold changes in markets, population and consumer behavior to which one has to react without hesitation or fear. As long as the brand knows its DNA and keeps true to its personality the future holds a lot of opportunities, if one is willing to take the risk.

Rémi showed us the development of Krug from the 60’s up until today and explained to us the marketing concepts that were fundamental for its positive growth. On the last day of his lecture he invited a guest speaker, who discussed the development and marketing stategies of a spirits brand. No one less than the president and CEO of Hennessy cognac, Bernard Peillon, spoke to us about the challenges and opportunities spirit brands have to face and how a brand like Hennessy has been able to stay on top of the market for the last 250 years.

One of the most exciting topics was the challenge of having totally different consumer groups and tasting moments for a single brand and how to handle such a paradox without overstretching the brand.

After two exciting days of lecture and inspiring personalities, the wines & spirits business gained some more fans in our class and many people are looking forward to an exciting field project within the industry. There are some rumors it could be a Krug project. Well, we’ll see, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed!