MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Friday, September 25, 2015

Final thoughts before graduation - Congratulations to the Class of 2015

By Stephanie Walker, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2014-2015, USA/UK

It is hard to imagine that an entire year has passed already, and now it is time for the MBA of International Luxury Brand Management Class of 2014-2015 to graduate! This past year has been an enriching experience for all of us in so many ways. We have travelled the globe to learn luxury business first-hand from established and emerging markets alike. Our class has been personally invited to visit the “maisons” of the top luxury companies and we have been so fortunate as to receive advice and insights from alumni as well as major industry players. 

In addition to all of these incredible experiences, the most amazing was the ability of our class to bond, learn and grow together. Our class this past year consisted of 38 highly talented students representing over 20 different nationalities and a wide variety of professional backgrounds (from fashion textile design to hospitality to wealth management). Our differences quickly became our strengths as we worked together on a multitude of projects over the course of the year. The students in our class were quick to bring their individual talents to the table and every class, project and group discussion brought our project topics into new light. It was incredibly inspiring to work with all of these unique individuals and we have formed lasting friendships for years to come!

As our class graduates and we prepare to bid “adieu” to our year together in Paris, it is hard to believe that it is time to start the next chapter in our professional lives. We have all grown and learned so much this year, but it is comforting to know that this is not “au revoir” but only “à bientôt!” Only time will tell where our careers will lead us, but we now have friends that we can visit all over the world! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

The first of the many weeks to follow

By Megha Gupta, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, India

I would relate moving countries to something slightly more stressful than having a bad hair day, or at least that’s the impression my family gave me. I was extremely petrified and super excited about the school, courses and being in a new and unfamiliar place. Yes, I have stayed away from home but nothing has been longer than a 2 hour flight. My evening at the airport came too soon and it was all tears and waving to my entourage a bajillion times and being told ‘you are overweight ma’am’ and nearly replying with ‘I know, ok?! I have slow metabolism. Not everyone is a size 0. God!’ before realising it was a comment on my luggage and then running to the immigration counter in the most unattractive way and making it to the flight half expecting them to slam the door on my face.  

We decided to venture to Paris and see the most obvious monument, the Eiffel Tower in all its glowing glory. Though the magnificent structure has to make no effort to take your breath away, the sparkling lights are the coup de grace. This cultural icon is steeped in history so rich and that it is hard not to wonder and eventually fall in love.

Orientation Day arrived and you could feel the nervous anticipation in the air as everyone gathered to walk to school together. One of the things I learnt that day was that it is very easy to get lost in the school if one is not aware of all the short cuts. Thanks to the Friday session, it was far easier to not feel self-conscious on campus. A lot of us made our way to Cergy Port, a quaint marina next to River Oise which has friendly bars and a beautiful church, and made use of the world’s best ice breaker, wine.  

We had slowly started to warm up to each other and it felt good to know that I was not the only one who was wondering how is she going to get through a class on a Monday, after nearly a decade since being at university. But the first class was fun and a pleasant surprise. 

We started class with the Academic Director and Professor Simon Nyeck. We learnt about the close relationship between different cultures, architecture, aesthetics and a deep yearning for luxury; the appreciation one requires for craftsmanship, savoir faire if you will, to understand the meaning behind exclusive industry. We then met Prof. Denis Morisset, former CEO, CFO, MD for brands such as Georgio Armani and CWF. With him we were introduced to the history and financial data of the brands; the thinking which goes on behind the glass doors which make the products what they are. In the first week itself we had two different study groups and we got talking to people with whom we initially had not gotten a chance to. 

Our residence was lit up with all the smiles of every Luxury student in the evening and it was not uncommon to hear laughter and exciting conversations here and there.  

The amalgamation of experiences of everyone made for an exciting week which helped us take a peek as to what goes on behind those elusive glass doors and the decisions which are taken that build the legacy of the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program and which make the headlines.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Révélations: Le Salon des Métiers d'art et de la Création

By Tiffanie Boggs, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, United States

After completing our first week of classes, I, along with many of my fellow classmates in the 2015-2016 class of ESSEC’s MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program, decided to visit the Grand Palais in Paris for the Révélations Fine Craft and Creation Fair. During our first week at ESSEC, we began our dive into the cultural foundations of luxury and the pillars of luxury brand management. The timing of Révélations could not have been better, as we were excited to continue our journey into luxury by seeing firsthand the artistic craftsmanship of les Ateliers d’Art de France. 

The Grand Palais was the perfect setting for Révélations, as it is a cultural establishment that houses some of the greatest artistic events in Paris, including the fashion shows of Chanel. The steel, iron, and glass ceiling is breathtaking and creates a natural light, which illuminated the beautiful creations throughout the exposition.

One of the highlights of the fair was Le Banquet, which was an exhibit that spanned the length of the exposition floor and featured some of the most spectacular pieces of the show, representing 15 countries: Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Senegal, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan and Tunisia. The art was created using various types of materials including ceramic, glass, wood, and steel. During our first week of class, culture was at the center of our conversations about luxury, and you could clearly see how each country’s unique culture was reflected in every piece of art in this exhibit. 

It was also incredible to see the jewelry featured throughout the show by the many jewelry ateliers represented at Révélations. From simple and timeless designs to intricate and flashy designs, it was impossible not to be in awe of the combination of craftsmanship, design, and love that went into the creation of each piece. 

Le Conseil National du Cuir had an impressive booth, featuring many types of leather products such as handbags, shoes, saddles, and gloves. A Hermès Birkin Bag was displayed in the booth, which I believe is the perfect example of timeless style created out of beautiful materials and immaculate finishing touches. The booth featured artisans who were making shoes out of leather and wood. It was amazing to watch the artisans at work and to see the amount of precision necessary to create a beautiful shoe.

I left Révélations inspired for the upcoming school year, excited for all of the opportunities and adventures that ESSEC will bring to our class.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Where are they now? Interview with Sushanta Das L11

Sushanta Das graduated the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program in 2011. Since then, he has achieved a successful global career working in Paris, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi. He is currently the Director of Operations and Control at the DFS Group Limited in the Middle East. We had the chance to catch up with Sushanta and find out how the MBA program equipped him with the skills and competencies that he needed to achieve his current competitive position. 

Why did you decide to join the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program at ESSEC? 
Having had an adequate background in retail in India, I was passionate to explore a global career within the luxury industry. I wanted to position myself as a credible professional with the right skill sets and understanding of luxury brands, consumers and markets. Thereafter, the answer was relatively simple – it had be the ESSEC Luxury MBA program. No other program could even remotely match up to what the ESSEC Luxury MBA offered.  
How did the skills you learned during your time at ESSEC prepare you for your career? Did any skills/experiences prove to be specifically valuable? 
Some of the key skills that I have learnt would be my innate understanding of the paradoxical nature of luxury brands, the importance of heritage and craftsmanship that defines the ethos of a luxury brand, etc. As the program had around 40 participants from 22 nationalities, it did expose me to working in varied multi-cultural groups and being able to effectively navigate and align people on different perspectives and opinions. I learnt from my colleagues’ varied experiences as much as I did from the professors.  
How did the career services at ESSEC contribute to your success in your career? 
The Career services at ESSEC is one of the key pillars of the program. The strong links that the program enjoys within the luxury industry become crystal clear when one gets exposed not only, to distinguished people within the top luxury brands / conglomerates but also, to ever helpful alumni who are steadily making a mark in the respective luxury companies that they work in. I have been able to nurture many a relationship across the industry and the genesis of everything, I must say, lies with the opportunities that the Career service cell initially provided within the MBA program. 
Pursuing the Luxury MBA at ESSEC has indeed been a life-changing decision for me. It has certainly acted as a positive catalyst and has equipped me to position myself appropriately on a global platform within the luxury industry. Just like any luxury brand, the Luxury MBA program at ESSEC has a rich history of imparting the right skills and aiding students to create a niche for themselves within the luxury domain. And more than anything else, the return-on-investment has been great. Joining the Luxury MBA program at ESSEC was probably amongst the top three decisions of my life!