wishful thinking?

i’d like to think my last blog post was helpful to this reporter as she wrote this article for the financial times that was published this morning.  afterall, it came out about a week later and is about the exact same topic with some of the same underlying points.

it’s great there’s more information though; i struggled with this as i was researching for business school applications.

i personally find the joint master class between columbia and parsons extremely exciting and it’s an obvious choice for my goals which is why i applied there.  i would like to point out that this is just a class and not a targeted track/specialization/major though.

and i think the article should be more clear that lvmh house is only for lvmh employees; it is not open to applications or anything like that.

and if you need further proof of why hbs is a worthy school for luxury goods, consider the fact that tyra banks not only completed the executive education program there, but now she’ll be doing a speaking engagement there on february 14th for 100 students drawn from a ticket lottery.

the business of luxury

so as many of you know, i’m applying for business school right now.  post-mba, i’d like to do brand management/marketing or strategy for a luxury goods company like lvmh, ppr, or coach.  of course this can all change once i start taking classes and recruiting.  i’m pretty sure that’s what i’d like to do functionally, but i’m also interested in hospitality, entertainment/media, and management consulting.

there isn’t much information out there for this career path since it’s pretty new to mba recruitment so i hope my post will be helpful for others.

ok, first of all…what programs should you consider?  european or american?  this issue’s pretty debatable and i’m not even sure if i made the right choice myself.  most luxury goods companies are headquartered in europe so it makes sense to think of european programs.  and unlike most american programs, there are plenty of schools that offer some sort of luxury specialization.  while american schools tend to be more prestigious and more highly ranked, you have to think of what will be best for your career…especially when you’re not going into traditional mba industries.  i personally chose to apply to american programs but if i hadn’t missed the january intake deadline, i would’ve also applied to insead.  i also thought about london business school.

top european schools with luxury programs (in no particular order):

  • sda bocconi – luxury business management track (partnered with bulgari)
  • hec paris – luxury strategies certificate (sponsored by ppr)
  • essec – international luxury brand management (lvmh chair)

these programs are pretty tempting since they have sponsorships/partnerships with some big names.  and while lbs and insead don’t have luxury specializations, you should also consider them because they are among the top mba programs in the world and especially in europe.  there are also programs with similar specializations from less prestigious schools.

if you’re looking at programs in the us (in no particular order):

  • harvard business school
  • stanford graduate school of business
  • upenn wharton
  • columbia gsb
  • nyu stern – luxury marketing

as you can see, stern’s the only top us school with a dedicated luxury specialization.  most of these other programs are on the list because companies looking for top talent will look at these prestigious schools and columbia/stern have the nyc accessibility and they have strong clubs in the area.  even the ny post has acknowledged hbs’ role in the fashion world.

i didn’t apply to any european programs because i didn’t want to pigeonhole myself; right now i’m pursuing luxury goods but what if i change my mind at school?  i didn’t want to be stuck.  this isn’t really a problem with lbs and insead because they’re some of the world’s best, but the other schools–even though they’re among europe’s top–they’re not the same level as the american programs.  i also want to work in the us so it makes sense for me to apply to an american program.  i really liked insead’s program but it’s a one-year program, which i feel is too short but i would’ve applied anyways if i hadn’t missed the deadline.

now, why am i choosing luxury goods amid an economic recession?  i think it’s something i’d really enjoy while supporting a comfortable lifestyle.  i’ve always liked fashion and i kind of work in the luxury industry already.  and to echo the same reasoning from this businessweek article: “the ultra-wealthy will always buy luxury goods, regardless of the fluctuations in the economy.”  actually, a lot of the major players have been doing extremely well during these tough times…mostly spurred on by growth in asia/china.  and to quote an ie professor who teaches on the subject, “in addition, new business opportunities are arising as a result of 3 important changes–the grown of chinese consumption, the development of technology, and changes in sonsumers’ values.  people are always attracted to industries that are growing.”

i realize it’ll be tough since these companies don’t really recruit on campus; i’ll have to do a lot of my own networking and job hunting outside of what the career resources my school can offer.  it may be especially difficult to start post-mba, so alternative tracks can be to do management consulting or working at a more mba-friendly company (l’oreal, p&g, nike, amazon, target) and transitioning later at a more senior level.

another harsh reality check is that the glamorous life doesn’t equal money.  retail is among the lowest paid careers for an mba (with banking/pe and management consulting at the top).  and because these are such sexy, popular companies, they don’t have to pay a lot…people will work there anyways–and they know this.  listen to essec’s academic director’s advice: “he’s also encouraging them to broaden their searches beyond luxury brands such as hermes and chanel and use their skills to land jobs at more mainstream companies with strong brand identities.  ‘you will have more power in a normal brand and maybe these people are willing to pay you a little more.  there are a million mbas lining up to work at vuitton lvmhor chanel, but if you think about going to the pumas or nikes of the world, then the sky’s the limit.'”

also be aware that luxury companies are asking for special profiles that they can’t even find in top business schools: “luxury goods require special managerial competences because they aren’t chosen for their functionality, but for their symbolic value.  […]  it’s important to understand the different competitive rules of the various luxury business […] and to decide whether you need to use general or specialist managerial tools.  plus you need to be international, open-minded, flexible, and a team-worker.  […]  this sector…needs people that are able to manage teams that integrate these two very difference profiles, the analytical and the creative one.”  if you take a look at the candidates lvmh is looking for in their futura initative, you can see this is true.  this sentiment is further cemented by the university of monaco’s associate dean, “there’s something a little magic about a luxury brand.  you have to be initiated and understand how it works.  it’s a lot more specialized and complex than it looks.

this discussion thread on find mba may also prove helpful.

mischief is in the details

and now i love prada even more

because they had my #1 heartthrob (after boyfriend, of course) walk their fall/winter 2012 menswear show!  and also with other cutie, garrett hedlund!  other notable celebrities that walked include gary oldman (woo hoo!), willem dafoe, emile hirsch, jamie bell, and timothy roth.  i don’t think brody looks that great in the show…reminds me of his manolete character or a beatle, but i support him, nonetheless.  better he walk in a major fashion show than make another crappy movie i force boyfriend to watch with me, amiright?

gary oldman leading the pack, followed by adrien brody

adrien brody and timothy roth

i think garrett hedlund stole the show for me though.  not exactly professional but he’s so cute; he looks like he’s having so much fun.

emile hirsch followed by a happy garrett hedlund

if you care about the clothes (because i only care about the eye candy), check out the new york timescoverage.  and for more photos of the actors, check out the pursuitist.

i’ve been waiting over 7 months for this moment

…for this moment that i’m finally done with business school applications; for this moment that i know i will definitely be going to business school next year; for this moment when i’ll finally have spare time to enjoy life again.  over 7 months ago, i started making a list of what i want to do when i’m done.  i’ll publish it eventually and at the top is traveling but also, i’ve been waiting…for this…


one of my favorite bands ever

and one of the most fun shows i’ve ever been too…miss them.

my picks from jason wu for target

well done, target…another designer collection i can get excited about.  in other related news, target is getting rid of their go international collection. i’m really loving the ads so far.  jason wu’s inspiration for the collection is this black cat named “milu”…isn’t she so mischievous?

ok, i could’ve sworn i saw a better scan of this yesterday but this is all i can find now…sorry.

here are the pieces i like so far:

navy poplin dress, $39.99

white sheer blouse with ribbon, $34.99; black circle skirt, $29.99

cream flared dress with belt, $59.99

black lace clutch, $29.99

cream front-flap straw bag, $39.99

milu black cat scarf, $19.99

navy wheel scarf, $19.99

to see the rest of the first look of the collection, with pricing, check out new york magazine’s the cut.  and keep your eyes peeled for when the collection hits stores february 5th.

jason wu shot to fame at the young age of 29 when first lady michelle obama wore one of his gowns for her husband’s inauguration ball.



i’m so happy and relieved.  it’s my first acceptance after 2 dings so it’s a huge relief and i’m so appreciative that i got the decision this morning instead of waiting until friday.

so, my friends, dance wiv me!!

just. wow.

kelly wearstler’s accomplished quite a bit–playboy “playmate of the month”  turned big time interior designer and now, fashion designer as of spring 2011.  of course, being married to brad korzen of viceroy hotel group doesn’t hurt either.  my company has worked with her studio on a few viceroy properties and i’m especially a fan of the the 7th floor of department store bergdorf goodman.  i forgot to visit the last time i was in nyc, but i will make sure to go this february when i’m there.

she’s really translated her hallmark whimsical style into fashion apparel successfully.  but her marketing team especially is doing a fantastic job.  the  upcoming look book shot by jamie beck of from me to you fame featuring kelly framel of the glamourai notoriety in malibu is just stunning.

i apologize for the many photos, but there are a lot.  and there are so many good ones.  and what would a nod to jamie beck be without a cinemagraph?

shot on pacific coast highway

and speaking of jamie, how cute is this post on her other half?