MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Meet the Students - Debra Pioquinto from the Philippines

  • What were you doing before you joined the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program?
Before joining the program, I was based in Manila working in fashion retail. 

Straight after graduating from university 7 years ago, I got a job as a Merchandise Manager in a luxury department store that carries brands such as Givenchy, D&G, Missoni, Etro, and Chloe. I was handling all the categories of these brands which includde womenswear, menswear, accessories and shoes. After that, I moved on and explored other opportunities in product development, as well as marketing and brand management but I eventually went back to my first love - merchandising.

My last job before coming to ESSEC was as a Buyer for Zalora, a Rocket Internet e-commerce startup. For the last three and a half years, I rotated across categories and handled womenswear, menswear and men’s accessories.

  • Why did you decide to join the MBA?
I decided to do an MBA because I wanted to explore other roles within the luxury retail industry. My undergraduate degree is in Management, so in the beginning I considered doing either an MA or an MBA as long as the program is luxury-specific. I have also never lived nor studied abroad prior to the program hence I was really setting my sights on coming to a European school. After a lot of research and talking to friends and colleagues who have done post-graduate studies, they told me about ESSEC’s MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program. I read up on it and found that the program was a good fit for what I was looking for. The fact that it is a luxury MBA in France gives me the opportunity to experience and meet with the French brands firsthand. The school has very good relationships with the leaders in the industry and this MBA allows me to have access to these contacts.

  • What do you hope to achieve throughout the year?
In terms of categories within the luxury industry, my exposure has only been concentrated in fashion and accessories. It is interesting to get to learn more about the other categories like beauty and cosmetics, wines and spirits, and watches and jewellery and to have an understanding of all these other segments.

More and more, we are also learning about the different issues that the industry faces today, which us future managers need to be prepared for. We have had the opportunity to discuss in class, work on projects and to listen to resource persons speak about these. Developing foresight and being able to use these tools to effectively manage a luxury brand in the future are what I hope to take away.

  • What are your professional goals after you finish the MBA?
Having already worked in retail, I want to experience working on the other side of the fence, in the luxury fashion maisons. I am specifically thinking about wholesale or merchandising and category management in fashion and accessories. On the other hand, I am also open to going to back to Buying for a multi-brand store or an online retailer. 

  • What advice would you give to someone who is applying to the program?
Ask questions, and if possible, get in touch with alumni or students currently in the program. Once you get in, have an open mind and be ready to listen and share with the class. The program only spans one year and it is going by really fast so treat everything as a learning opportunity. Keep in mind to also have school-life balance. The classes are very enriching and being in France gives you the chance to truly immerse yourself in the luxury industry and culture. This will be a good complement and supplement to what you will learn in the classroom so take full advantage of that.