MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

20th Anniversary Round Table Conferences

By Teresa Chen, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, Australia/Taiwan

It's been merely two weeks since we've joined our new family at ESSEC, time feels like it's passing so quickly but the days are definitely stretched longer! We have so far survived the initial shock of transitioning back to school, being loaded with assignments and group works, figuring out how to eat around school, and getting to know our class of 44 better and retaining everyone's names. We haven’t been at ESSEC long but we were fortunate enough to receive an email invitation to the round table event of MBA in International Luxury Brand Management. The theme for the afternoon was "The challenges: from the past to the future in the luxury industry". This was an exciting opportunity to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of our program, and also to hear the latest views from the invited guest speakers, plus for current students, alumnus, guest speakers to mix and mingle.

I arrived on the day to find the halls buzzing with excitement, especially from the students of the class last year, as this was the first time they were all gathered since they set out to do their field projects in June! Dressed impeccably as always in a royal purple veste, our Director of Corporate Relations and Career development Anthea Davis opened the event with a quick introduction and then we were off. Professor Simon Nyeck, the Academic Director of our program hosted the first round table on the topic of managing creativity and savoir faire. The invited guests to this panel were: 

  • Floriane de Saint Pierre the CEO of FSP & Associates, 
  • Eric de Rocquigny the Int'l Operations and Métiers Director from Van Cleef & Arpels
  • Caroline Le Borgne the G.M. from Lesage Paris SAS
  • Nadine Dufat the G.M. of Lemarié Guillet
For any luxury fashion fiend, this was a fascinating line-up and the talk did not disappoint; the panel exchanged their thoughts on the future of managing creativity and savoir faire, and the importance of sustainability in this area. It is now that we need to build the legacy of tomorrow, and for luxury it is no different. There was also an interesting and heated debate regarding the news of the Hermès x Apple watch and how this redefined the meaning of luxury and craft (or not).

This session was followed by a short coffee break, where in between nibbles of rum cannelés I managed to spot a few students from the year before whom I knew, and catch up on their job offers and coming plans. It was wonderful to know that many of them have already found positions and I congratulated them on their hard work and success. 

Panel round two soon followed, the Dean of Academic Programs Professor Peter O’Connor hosted it on the future of luxury, including retail and digital challenges. This round the panel was made up of:

  • Christopher Zanardi-Landi the Executive VP of Louis Vuitton
  • Federico Barbieri the former SVP Digital & ebusiness at Kering Luxury
  • Hugues Pietrini the Executive VP Int'l Distribution LVMH Wines & Spirits 
They had a discussion on the relationship and challenges of digital and e-commerce in the luxury industry, and the importance of the human touch presence in this industry. The greatest potentials of digital may not actually lie in e-commerce, but perhaps more in how digital can be harnessed to give additional services and enhance customer experiences.

As the afternoon wrapped up, the students had some time to exchange Q&A with guest speakers. I looked around the room and found myself surrounded by people from all different sectors, each one as talented if not more than the next, and the knowledge that I have so much to learn from each individual gave me the inspiration and momentum I've been looking for. It's going to be a sleepless and exciting year.