The HEC Paris MBA Retail and Luxury Club’s recent career trek to Paris had it all: glamorous settings, incredible insights and unbeatable insights into the future of the industry. With 14 carefully selected events and 40 distinguished speakers, the week-long gathering offered a 360-degree look at the business of Parisian luxury.
Thanks to the efforts of student organizers Bernice Lee, Club President, and Theo Laborey, Club Vice President and Treasurer, bespoke visits corresponding to the theme “New Luxury” took place throughout the City of Light. Participants spent time with the Chalhoub Group and met their Global Vice President of Human Resources, who flew in from Dubai specifically for the breakfast presentation. At Fendi’s flagship store, the tour included a chat with Leslie Serrero, Director General of Fendi France/Monaco, who talked about her own shift from consulting to luxury, and offered strategies for career transformation.
Also on the agenda was a stopover at Chloé’s atelier, which is rarely open to the public, as well as a visit to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. The museum opened exceptionally on a Monday to allow the MBAs a private viewing of Cartier’s new exhibit on Islamic Art. That stop was preceded by an appointment at the Richemont Groupe, where participants partook in a roundtable discussion, lunch, and the opportunity to meet with 12 recruiters from Cartier, Richemont and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Of course, the week included presentations by HEC alumni working in luxury (a big thanks to Sophie Striffling, H ’01, EMEIA Managing & Global Retail Director at Chloé; Luis Raúl Martínez, MBA ’20, Business Project Manager at Chloé; François Magnet, Director of Printemps Hommes Haussman, EMBA ’22, and Emilie Metge Viargues, EMBA ’19, International Brand General Manager at Christofle) and lots of networking with recruiters. There was even a night at the Alumni House, with Ruinart offering a private champagne tasting for the trek’s 25 participants.
For more insights about the Retail and Luxury Club’s 2021 Trek, we spoke to several of our MBA participants. Here are their thoughts:
On the overall experience
“The trek was seriously one of my favorite events of the entire MBA program. It made me realize the strong ties that exist between HEC Paris’ and the luxury maisons. I was so proud to see HEC alumni enjoying their career choices—their passion was evident during their presentations, and I loved to hear their personal opinions and experiences.”
– Yurie Ishimi, J21
“The MBA Retail & Luxury Club Paris Trek Week was amazing in more ways than one! It provided us with opportunities to connect with the very luxury brands we aspire to work for one day, expanded our knowledge of the luxury business, and helped us form deeper connections with classmates, many of whom will be future colleagues in the industry. The week embodied the HEC experience and reaffirmed why the HEC Paris MBA is a perfect match as I continue my career trajectory.”
-Jacklyn Burgo, S21
“Sharing some of my favorite moments from the luxury trek: First, there was Chanel x HEC, in which the Chanel representatives gave us an amazing presentation about the essence of Chanel. There was also experiencing what it was like to be a Very Important Customer for a day at the La Samaritaine watches and jewelry floor. And of course, the Chalhoub and Christofle presentation. HEC alumna Emilie Metge Viargues offered some heartfelt advice to the women in the room that was incredibly raw and inspiring. She also mentioned to always be proud of our school and cherish our MBA network because it was her executive MBA from HEC that really transformed her career.”
-Lalaine Inumerables, S20
“The attention to detail that the club’s leadership put into planning this week shone through in the professionalism of all the participating companies: it was clear to me that many of these companies sent us their best and brightest. I was impressed with their passion and willingness to answer our questions. In short, this was an unparalleled experience.”
-Jacqueline Lane, S21
On the Hotel Eminente
“The coolest part—and the grand finale of Trek Week—was Hotel Eminente. It was a grandiose experience that transported us from the heart of Paris to Cuba. It was very inspiring to hear Hotel Eminente’s co-founder Briac and his team talk about their journey from concept to execution of LVMH’s newest Wines & Spirits portfolio addition: Eminente. You can tell that the LVMH spirit of celebrating creativity, innovation, excellence, entrepreneurship and impact really shined through in every aspect of this project.”
-Nigel (Fourier) Feng, S21
On the Chloé atelier
“Step by step, we were showed how productions are created for the Chloé fashion shows, from the initial direction by the creative director all the way to the seamstress. It was heaven for me to be in a workshop like that surrounded by all those fabrics, sketches, threads, colors and mannequins. There were even some samples from the recent SS22 show Chloé fashion show in Paris. I especially loved it because it helped students to understand the amount of work that goes in the creation of a luxury piece.”
-Bernice Lee, Club President, J21
On By Kilian Paris
“By Kilian was my absolute favorite part of trek week. I was new to fragrance and the team at the rue Cambon boutique prepared a very interactive and educational presentation for us. They walked us through the brand’s entire assortment of perfumes, the brand DNA and shared a lot about their client experience. It really opened my eyes to the luxury-retail experience.”
-Lauren Reilly, J21
Please note: Masks have been exceptionally removed for the needs of these photos.