MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Monday, November 16, 2015

Aligning People, Organization, and Strategy at L'Oréal Luxe

By Joshua Tierney, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, United States

Paris, France – L'Oréal Luxe hosted the M.B.A. in International Luxury Brand Management students from ESSEC Business School at their corporate office on Monday evening.  Julia Frobert, International Talent Acquisition Director for L’Oréal Luxe, and Loïc Berjoan, International Talent Acquisition Manager for Retail, welcomed the students in the company’s well-appointed amphitheater.  The information session introduced the future managers to the world of L'Oréal Luxe, including its history, organizational structure, and vision for the future.  The diverse portfolio of L’Oréal Luxe includes historic beauty brands, “new luxury” alternative brands, and fashion brands.  Rémi Lugagne, Global Human Resources Director for the L’Oréal Luxe division, led an interactive presentation, encouraging the students to engage in discussion.  Mr. Lugagne described the division’s “Glocal” approach to international business – combining global thinking with sensitivity to local markets.  He went on to emphasize the importance of innovation and deviation from the norm, as illustrated through the culture de l’ecart, or “twist culture” of the division.  After all, stated Mr. Lugagne, “Luxury is always a twist.”

In continuation, Mr. Lugagne proceeded to outline the competitive landscape of the global luxury beauty industry.  L'Oréal Luxe is currently the world’s number two beauty conglomerate, having generated 6.198 billion euros in revenue in 2014.  Only Estée Lauder, the lead competitor of L'Oréal, surpassed the company – reporting a 9.646 billion euros turnover in the same time period.  In addition, another formidable competitor is the beauty division of LVMH Moët Hennessy -
 Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, which followed close behind with a 3.916 billion euros turnover in 2014.  Mr. Lugagne went on to define the growth strategy of L'Oréal Luxe: to become the number one luxury beauty group in terms of size, profitability, and quality.  In his role at the company, Mr. Lugagne’s primary function is to align people, the organization, and strategy.  Finally, Mr. Lugagne went on to highlight the key capacities necessary for a thriving career at L'Oréal Luxe.  Core competencies include understanding brands and customers, mastering luxury skills, building management capability, and of course – being successful. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Culture Of Wine

Jahnavi Tampi, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, India

Not everyone in grad school has a chance to spend their evening class tasting the most sought after wines from around the world and learning from the best of the best in the industry, but we did! We had the privilege of having a week-long wine class where we were taught by one of the best wine critics in the business - Eric Riewer. His animated style of speaking and a class full of wine enthusiast got the air buzzing with excitement. We were expecting to learn oenology, which is the science of wine, but in fact we were taught something even better, the cultural dimension to wine. Eric made us realize we were living in a time when wine has never been better, the best of times! But there is a paradox to this, it is also the worst of time where vineyards around the word are becoming broke and having to close down. 

The finest wines are considered luxury and fit in just right with our long-standing passion for this industry. Wine is like fashion, it makes your daily life special and of course who can forget the health benefits that we keep reminding ourselves of every time we drink that glass of wine before bed. 

We had a chance to learn about the craftsmanship of great wine and the importance of disruptive innovations in the industry like the invention of champagne. Just the origin of wine is not enough to make good wine, you need the human touch and good decisions, that’s what makes a great wine. The keeping of vineyards, the creation, the fermentation, blending and maturation these are the real secret to good wine.

It was fascinating to realize that different types of wine were created at points in time in

history where there was a cultural, sociological or economic turn of events. Eric taught us the art of wine tasting which was new to a lot of us who never really appreciated the essence of each glass we had consumed in the past, the art of using all senses, sight, smell and taste and how each sip can brings out a new ingredient in the wine. He took us through the wines from all the different appellations including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and eventually ending with discovering wines from other countries like Italy, Spain USA and Australia. 

We had the privilege of having two very respected guest speakers, who were here to teach us the business side of wine.  Maggie Henriquez of Krug, one of the most charming and charismatic women, has changed the face of the brand during her time at the company. She linked timeless luxury with the rich heritage of Krug. She emphasize on the important of knowing your brand DNA and that nothing was more important while managing a brand than going back to the roots of how and why the house was created, in essence, the founders vision. This vision had to be carried on to the next generation for a brand to be successful. The uniqueness of each vintage wine is created by the blending of the cellar masters and the tastings of the family and the company heads. Maggie left us all wanting more after we had the privilege of tasting one of the most luxurious champagnes in the world.

Eric helped us appreciate a more modern view of the wine business by inviting guest speaker Sebastian Burel, the Director of, a new distribution channel for luxury wines that has an omni channel strategy. He talks about contemporary wine - “The wine business is changing for many reasons, firstly environmental awareness is a growing priority in the industry, the business is getting more competitive and global, everything leading to better quality.”

After a week of tastings, wine dining will never be the same for any of us. The carefully selected wines we tasting over many evening left us light headed and chatty helping us get through the brisk walk home. We will all be forever changed in the way we appreciate wine, this was an unforgettable experience that left us yearning for yet another glass!