Thursday, June 28, 2018

Field Trip to Hong Kong: A Positive Outlook for the Luxury Market

by Erin Thibodeau, Global MBA Ambassador 2017-2018, Luxury Brand Management major

A year ago the story was different. Economic challenges exasperated by a slowdown in tourism affected the travel retail market and purchase willingness of consumers, creating a perfect storm of depression for the luxury market in Hong Kong. 

But a positive outlook on travel and strong economic prospects have injected the market with an appetite for luxury once more, a fact that was repeated by the companies with whom we met during our field trip to Hong Kong. Repeated themes included educating clients on brand DNA and storytelling, knowing and catering to your local market, as well as being innovative in the retail and tech sphere for this market.

Our conferences kicked off with Tiffany & Co who discussed their strong efforts in brand building and education in Asia. This was a sentiment seconded by members of Chanel’s Asia-Pacific team who spoke about the importance of brand DNA and being uncompromising in supporting this DNA through a strong and consistent global image. 

The day concluded with an inspiring and informative afternoon session with Audemars Piguet. During the visit, we learned about Audemars Piguet’s commitment to excellence and how they are exploring new ideas around retail such as their “AP House” apartment concept in Hong Kong. This session was a perfect primer for our trip to Switzerland where we would visit the AP Maison, museum, and factory (post to come!).

Wednesday began with a conference with the L'Oréal Luxe Travel Retail Division who stressed the importance of design to the client experience and the challenges of developing fragrances and cosmetics in a highly sophisticated market. The day concluded with our first introduction to the wines and spirits industry with a presentation from Moët Hennessy.

As it was the first time in Hong Kong for many in our class, some of us took Wednesday night to take in the horse races, a common outing in Hong Kong, while others went to dinner or explored the city, enjoying the tropical climate and bustling city. 

Thursday morning found us fresh and back in the conference centre for a talk by a representative from LVMH, during which we learnt more about what a career in LVMH and in Asia is like, as well as the importance of truly understanding your client and of immersing yourself in the culture in which you’re working.

Next was a focus on digital and building brand desirability with Estée Lauder and finally a meeting with Salvatore Ferragamo where we were graciously invited to join them at their boutique for a sneak peek at a spring event.

Of course, one of the highlights of Hong Kong is their amazing retail landscape, providing endless opportunities for research, exploration, and discovery for our class. This was augmented by a visit to the DFS headquarters in Kowloon where we were able to spend the morning getting to know the DFS organization and ethos, and tour their T Galleria Tsim Sha Tsui. Our week finished with an alumni event, allowing the class to connect with alumni now working in Hong Kong and get an insight into their journey after the program as well as make new connections.

The luxury industry is currently highly focused on the Chinese client, who have a high purchase power and who are travelling more intensely than ever. But, as in Dubai, we heard often about the importance of not neglecting your home market and the importance of developing a local strategy within a global DNA.

You can bet that attracting the Chinese client will continue to be top of mind for luxury brands; however, having fun with new digital tools and speaking to people on a micro-level to increase levels of personalization between brand and client will grow to become even more important as the race for relevance continues.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Field Trip - An Insight on the Finance Industry in New York

By Gianluca Errico, Global MBA Ambassador 2017-2018, Finance Major

From Monday, 9th April till Friday, 13th April 2018, participants from the Finance Major of the Global MBA and students from the Master in Finance went on a field trip to New York where we had the opportunity to meet up with industry leaders from the financial sector. We met a variety of brokers, hedge fund managers, portfolio managers, financial analysts and chief strategists from various companies. We even had the chance to attend an alumni event to meet former students and hear about their experiences after graduation. The aim of the trip was to exchange industry knowledge within the sector and enlarge the network of the students. Even though we had a packed schedule, we still had time to explore Manhattan. To give you a deeper understanding of this enriching adventure, I want to share some of the highlights of this experience with you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Discovering Regional Challenges and Opportunities in Dubai

By Erin Thibodeau, Global MBA Ambassador 2017-2018, Luxury Brand Management Major

One of the selling features of the ESSEC Global MBA Major in Luxury Brand Management for me when I was applying, was their proposed field trips throughout the course of the program. These trips explore both mature and emerging luxury markets and give the class the opportunity to learn first-hand about challenges and opportunities in different regions, and to interface directly with companies in these markets.

Our class’ first trip this year was to Dubai: a warm relief from the French winter and also the first time in the Middle East for many of us. With the weekend of our arrival off, we spent time exploring Dubai, visiting the newly opened Louvre in Abu Dhabi, or conducting retail research for an assignment that accompanied our field trips.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Preparing for your MBA journey

By Hang Nguyen, Global MBA Ambassador 2017-2018, Digital Business Major

Deciding whether or not to pursue an MBA is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your career. The journey can be an intensive process from preparing for the GMAT, networking with alumni, reflecting on your career goals to choosing an appropriate program and getting yourself ready for school. In order to help you navigate the application and preparation process for an MBA more easily, I would like to share some personal tips based on my experiences:

1. Self-reflection
Start looking back on your career and also think about the future. Where do you want to go and what field do you want to get into post-MBA? Why do you think it is a good time to go for an MBA at this moment? This is an important step to take, because introspection is the only way you will be able to identify where your interests truly lie and find your own path. This is also to ensure that you do not feel lost after completing your MBA. 

2. Personal research
Do your own research to get an idea of what a typical program will look like. Start reading business publications frequently. This will help you keep track of what is happening in the real world, to understand the courses better and to decide whether it is within your interest to study about these topics in the near future.

3. Networking
Talk to people who have the same career interest or have undergone a similar path as you. At this stage, take the time to listen to their stories about the journey instead of asking for too much advice. Everybody will have a different reason for joining an MBA, so this is simply to help you get a hang of what your life could possibly be like if you decide to go for the MBA.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Field Trip - A Perspective on the African Economy: Business in Morocco

By Araceli McAdam, Global MBA Student Ambassador 2017-2018, Strategy & Management Major

The Kingdom of Morocco greeted the Global MBA’s Strategy & Management, Digital Business, and Enterprise Innovation majors from both the France and Singapore campuses for a one-week intensive field trip, exploring eight companies in various industries. The aim of the trip was to expose students to working possibilities in Africa and to understand Morocco’s strategic importance and influence for local and international companies alike. The industries ranged from automotive manufacturing to food and dairy packaging- a diverse collection but all shared the warmth of Moroccan hospitality. This trip also provided an opportunity to visit ESSEC’s newest campus at Rabat with light exploration of scenic landmarks, including Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque.