MBA in Luxury Brand Management participant's visit to L’Oréal Luxe

Building on the long-standing partnership between ESSEC Business School’s GMBA in Luxury Brand Management and L’Oréal Luxe that has been in effect since the very founding of the MBA in 1995, the participants of this year’s cohort were invited to the L’Oréal headquarters in Clichy for a morning of discovery and discussion animated by Isabelle Minneci, Global VP HR, Manuela Pardini, Global Talent Acquisition Director and Marta Bianco, Global Talent Acquisition Manager.

The morning started with a guided tour of the L’Oréal Headquarters, during which participants were encouraged to envision a typical workday at L’Oréal as they walked through lush gardens with iconic art pieces, peeked inside labs and explored fitness rooms.

It goes without saying that the cohort was left feeling impressed by the historic yet modern headquarters and inspired by L’Oréal Group’s commitment to creating a dynamic and desirable place to work.

Then, the participants attended the screening of a special message left for them by former ESSEC alumni Nicolas Hieronimus, Chief Executive Officer of L’Oréal. Inspired by his words and success story, the cohort were keen to learn more about their possible futures at the L’Oréal Group. The floor was then opened to welcome interpretations of L’Oréal’s manifesto motivation ‘Beauty that Moves the World’ as the audience was then guided through the mission, values, profile, portfolio and plans of L’Oréal and L’Oréal Luxe.

With L’Oréal being a pioneer in both beauty and digital, participants from both the Luxury Brand Management and Strategy & Digital Leadership tracks were grateful for the comprehensive presentations given by undoubtedly influential figures within the company and the opportunity to ask them questions about business strategies, digital innovation, sustainability and more. It was a morning to remember, marked by a shared commitment to excellence and knowledge.


ESSEC GMBA Luxury Brand Management – Visit of La Samaritaine

Visit of La Samaritaine, 01. December 2021

On the first day of December, with the joy of Christmas already in the air all around Paris, ESSEC's Luxury Brand Management GMBA cohort had the great opportunity to visit DFS’s latest addition to its luxury department stores in the heart of Paris: La Samaritaine. The retail store, a heritage building originally opened in 1905, focused especially on attracting international tourists while still transporting the spirit of “French living”, just recently reopened in June 2021, after being closed for more than 15 years. The 3-hour visit was split into two sessions: first, a 1.5 hour company presentation and the second half being filled with a store visit.

During the company presentation, Xavière Canali,  HRD, demonstrated how DFS fits into the brand portfolio of LVMH and introduced us to the global operations of DFS. Next, Cécile Favre,, Marketing Project Manager for DFS, provided interesting insights into how her team created the campaigns for the store’s reopening, its 150+1 year anniversary, as well as its current Christmas campaign – always trying to create a perfect symbiosis of modern values, technology and La Samaritaine’s traditions.

During the second part of the visit, the cohort had the opportunity to visit La Samaritaine’s beauty floor, which with 3,200 square meters is the largest beauty floor in Europe. The team of La Samaritaine shared interesting insights on the floor’s architecture and design, but also on how and why specific brands displayed on the floor were selected. 

Additionally, the group got the chance to visit the VIP-rooms of the jewelry & watches floor, with the Sales Manager sharing his experiences of working at La Samaritaine. The afternoon came to an end on the top floor where the participants were able to admire the huge art nouveau fresques of beautiful peacocks dating back to 1905, that have been painstakingly renovated over a period of 4 years. 

And so ended another unique moment of insight into the world of luxury retail and we thank DFS for their continuing partnership with the ESSEC GMBA Luxury Brand Management program and offering us this privileged visit.


Savoir-Faire visit to Jaeger LeCoultre | Luxury Brand Management


Blog post by Donald KIM, ESSEC Global MBA Student Ambassador

Continuing the many savoir-faire visits of the ESSEC GMBA-Luxury Brand Management program, the first visit of December was to the Jaeger-LeCoultre pop-up exhibit at 15 Rue du Fauborg St Honore, celebrating the heritage and history of their most famous timepiece, the Reverso.

The visit consisted of a guided tour of the exhibit led by representatives from both the Richemont Group and Jaeger-LeCoultre, including Stéphane Belmont, the Heritage Director from Jaeger-LeCoultre.  The exhibit was an introspective and retrospective look into one of the most classic timepieces in all haute horlogerie, the Reverso, with real heritage pieces on display from the very first Reverso from 1931, to the new pieces of 2021.  The representatives also educated the participants on the craftsmanship and engineering that goes into creating a functioning Reverso watch, a process which is proprietary and patented.  As a result, the participants were able to receive the first-hand knowledge of the savoir-faire of this timekeeping marvel directly in-house.   

As with all visits organized by the GMBA Luxury Brand Management Major, it was an invaluable moment to have the opportunity to learn the know-how about various unique entities in luxury.  

The ESSEC GMBA-Luxury Brand Management major continues to provide us with exclusive and unique experiences that will best prepare us to adapt to the different skillsets and requirements of the luxury sector, while also best setting us up for success to handle future demands and challenges that the industry will require of us.

Why is it important to have a perfect Personal Brand Pitch ? Workshop Series with Joseph Liu


Blog post by Preyash Shah, ESSEC Global MBA Student Ambassador

November was one of the exciting months for ESSEC MBA Students in terms of personal branding and positioning. Going into the new year, the cohort was busy sharpening their pitching skills and making sure that they convey the best and right message more efficiently…

One such series of events that helped the Global MBA class was the session on Personal Brand Pitch by Joseph Liu. The focus of the session was to prepare and perfect three questions crucial to every personal pitch:

  1. What is your background? – Focused on networking
  2. What are you looking for? – Focused on recruiters and career events
  3. Tell me about yourself – Focused on interviews

While these questions may seem basic, the class certainly realized the amount of preparation that goes into polishing their responses and perfecting their pitch. I asked a couple of my classmates about their takeaways from the session –

“Joseph’s session on the personal brand pitch was quite interesting. What stood out for me was the background exercise. From the very first minute, we were asked to concise our professional background in 3-4 sentences and align it to our career plan. It was tough at the beginning, but I can certainly see the benefit now after refining it multiple times. The key is to keep it simple and practice, practice, practice!”

- Roomly Mohapatra, India, MBA in Strategy & Digital Leadership

“For someone who is planning to switch industry and geography, I was excited about Joseph’s session. He provided clear insights on how the recruiting world works and what exactly they are looking for. Joseph’s point on being specific in your career plan and roles is more important than being a generalist and open to different opportunities, thus leaving a lasting impression on the recruiters was quite insightful. This will certainly help me position myself better in the future!”

- Afshin Rezaee, MBA in Strategy & Digital Leadership

Overall, the session was thought-provoking and left us with a lot of great strategies on how to create and improve personal brand pitches! With a series of networking events lined up in the new year, there could not have been a better time to have this session!

Savoir-Faire visit to Lesage: Luxury Brand Management


We recently had the pleasure of visiting one of the oldest embroidery houses, Lesage. Founded in 1924, Lesage has been creating lavish embroidery for Haute Couture, Ready-to-Wear and accessories for all the big names in luxury fashion such as Chanel, Dior, Valentino, and Elsa Schiaparelli. Lesage, along with twelve other maisons, belongs to Chanel’s Métiers d’art. This Paraffection, which translates as “for the love of,” was established by Chanel in 1997, to preserve the heritage and craft of fashion ateliers that were facing extinction. Dubbed the “savior of savoir-faire,” Chanel acquired ateliers with specializations in costume jewelry (Goossens), feather working (Lemarié), bootmaking (Massaro), fabric pleating (Gérard Lognon) and glovemaking (Gants Causse). These specialist workshops, alongside Lesage, are the last to stand in France and existed long before fashion started being developed as a business. These ateliers are nicknamed the “eyes and hands” of Haute Couture, with which designer’s dreams for couture come true. Chanel’s establishment of the Paraffection showcases the importance of honoring the craftsmanship that these partners bring to the house and ensuring the richness of French heritage remains. 

Attempting to master the craft

Our visit took place at Lesage’s new headquarters, 19M. This building, designed by Rudy Riciotti, groups together ten of the specialized houses belonging to Chanel’s Métiers d’art along with an embroidery school run by Lesage for those passionate about the craft. For the first half of the morning, we would be immersed in the history of luxury fashion. Our setting? Paris, of course. It all started with the creation of Haute Couture in 1858 where Charles Frederick Worth, ironically not a Parisian, but a British man, opened the first couture house. We discussed important eras that revolutionized the attitudes towards women, and in turn, revolutionized their clothing. While the fashion revolution might have led to a boom in ready-to-wear, Haute Couture still exists today with sixteen houses as official members.

While still creating embroidery for Haute Couture as it has always done, Lesage now also creates embroidery for luxury ready-to-wear, evolving with every generation. Lesage, under Hubert Barrère, continues to perpetuate its long-standing heritage. To date, Lesage has 50,000 samples (some of which we got to see!) that represent the history of embroidery since the creation of Haute Couture. It’s seventy employees, fifty-five of which are creative by nature, can transcend the visions that designers have in mind. To make an embroidery it all begins with a theme, given by the designer of the fashion house Lesage is creating for. Lesage then makes a sample in accordance with the designer’s vision. If approved, Lesage can begin the process of drawing, needling, and sanding the embroidery. After hundreds of hours of hand-embroidered work, an exquisite creation is completed.

Elsa Schiaparelli embroidered archives from the 1950s
Elsa Schiaparelli embroidered
archives from the 1950s 

After our lesson, we were lucky enough to tour the workshop and see the hand-embroidery being done on designer pieces for upcoming collections. While we couldn’t take any photos here, you can only imagine how stunning the pieces the embroiderers were working on were. One embroiderer was working on a mesh pearl embellished sleeve, expertly weaving in and out of the fabric with such precision and speed. To make matters more difficult, the fabric is flipped upside down so the embroiderer cannot clearly see how the piece is coming together right-side up. We were amazed at how she made an intricate and complex process look easy – a true master of her craft. To better understand the creative process of how embroiderers rework a designer’s vision, we were taken to the room of archives, where we saw embroidered works dating back to the 1920s, as timeless and relevant as if they had been crafted today. When an embroiderer is working on a new creation, they can access the archives and be inspired to create something unique and innovative. Below are a few favorite archival embroideries from the houses of Elsa
Schiaparelli and Chanel.

Our Lesage visit concluded with an embroidery workshop. We were given gold embellishments, black tulle and a needle – our final lesson into the French know-how would be to try our own hand at embroidery. We broke out into groups of four and for the next three hours, would be working hard to replicate the techniques of the masters.

Our group had the most memorable experience at Lesage, with a keepsake to remind us of the level of craftsmanship, detail and time that goes into every piece of hand-embroidery. I’m sure all of us will never look at embroidery the same way when we see it grace the runway on creations from our favorite designers. While designers have a vision, the vision would not come to life without the leaders of hand-embroidery, Lesage. An incredible day of learning and immersion into the French know-how, we thank Lesage for its continued partnership with the ESSEC GMBA program!