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.

Come Monday it was down to business. Presentations from Estée Lauder, Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Guerlain, DFS, Chalhoub, and L’Oréal Luxe were scheduled for the week, allowing a wide cross-section of functions and companies. It was particularly fascinating to speak with companies that originated in France and that we had already spoken with in Paris, to get a different perspective on their business and learn about how they approach different markets. We also had the opportunity to meet with various alumni of the program who are now working in the area and could share their experiences in the program and how they had navigated the world after graduation. 

Main focuses for the trip included the unique business strategies needed to navigate a complex market including supply chain particularities. The fragrance market in the Middle East was also an important subject for this field trip and we had the privilege of learning about the history of scent and fragrance and its cultural importance, and how this affects how luxury beauty brands approach this market. Finally, we also had the opportunity to learn about luxury hospitality when we were welcomed to the Armani Hotel Dubai and were able to tour their rooms and 5-star facilities.

While the conferences are our main focus, these trips are so much more than that. In today’s global economy, where people from around the globe are more connected than ever, the field trips are a chance to open our eyes to new cultures and trends from around the world. We are able to engage with the different regional branches of luxury companies and truly understand their challenges and opportunities in different markets, as well as how these different markets interact.

Get in touch with Erin on ESSEC Talk to learn more about the Luxury Brand Management Major of the Global MBA.

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