MSc in Luxury Management program: invaluable networking opportunities !
As part of the Alumni career follow up program, IUM ensures it stays up to date with the careers of our alumni. To this end, IUM recently met with Jessica Campbell, an IUM MSc in Luxury Management alumna.
What’s your current position, in which company, and where?
I am a Marketing Executive at Chalhoub Group, in the Ralph Lauren & Denim Division for the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region, based in Dubai.
Describe your job position (goals, opportunities, etc.)
I am part of the marketing and communication team for the Ralph Lauren and the Denim Division across Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
My main goal is to increase the brand awareness (and maintain relevance) among the right target markets. We plan and implement activities such as media (digital, print- indoor and outdoor), social media, events, PR etc. across the GCC. The opportunities are that the markets we handle are classified as emerging, so we are a part of its growth. The typical customers in the GCC, while they change from one country to another, are incredibly digital oriented so the opportunity to use new mediums and ways to attract and interact with them is phenomenal. We’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with some very inspiring local men and women for events.
What is your professional background before your current job position?
My past professional background has been mostly in fashion retail and entry-level marketing with Hugo Boss and other boutique Australian companies. I have also worked in high-end property management.
How did you find your internship? Was it useful to start a career in the luxury industry?
I was extremely lucky that one of the IUM external career counselor, Ken Pope helped me with my internship. I had a number of sessions with him throughout the semester and he put me in touch with my now manager (who happened to be one of his past students). Aside from this, I was also applying to other companies and trying to network with as many people as possible.
My internship was very intense (but in a good way) as I joined at a time where the marketing and communication activities were growing in the region for my brands. Due to this, I was able to be quite hands on and really be a part of the team and learn quickly. At the end of my internship I was offered a permanent position. Even if they hadn’t offered me a permanent position, I still believe this would have been an extremely valuable experience as I learnt so much within a short time span.
Which skills or experience did you acquire during your MSc in Luxury Management that are useful in your current job and in the industry you are working in?
The MSc in luxury Management program at IUM has enhanced my time management and planning, critical thinking, presentation skills and leadership experience.
For marketing in particular, the subject content included matching academic models with real life case studies and encouraged me to look at innovative strategies to overcome the opportunities and difficulties mentioned. Rigorous practice of these activities is very helpful, as in a marketing role you are constantly going through similar activities and faced with similar questions, so it’s good to have a clear structure to follow to add value to the method and outcome.
IUM also has a class on social media which is really ahead of its time, particularly as luxury brands are only now just starting to accept the social media landscape and partnering with bloggers. We looked deeper at the consumers behind the bloggers, analyzed their impact (negative or positive) and longevity.
Finally, as student representative of my class I was able to develop my leadership skills in the areas of negotiating, how to handle different personality types along with leading and acting on projects.
Why did you choose IUM to complete your MSc in Luxury Management?
I chose IUM for my MSc in Luxury Management as I first wanted to broaden my experience overseas as I had always just been based in Australia. Compared to the other MSc’s in Luxury available at the time, I felt that IUM had the most opportunities in terms of access to luxury conferences/speaker events, potential employers, small size classes and had a strong range of relevant subjects that interested me. Monaco was also a key factor in my decision as it such a beautiful country, easy to get around and very safe.
How do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
So much can change, particularly in Dubai day-to-day life. However in 5 years I hope to grow further within the company and develop into a more senior role. If I haven’t already started, I would be looking at starting an MBA.
In 10 years, I hope to hold a higher management leadership role (or be on a clear career path to this) in a luxury fashion company. I’d also like to think that I have helped incorporate some philanthropic activities in the company that I’m working for, as I feel that it’s becoming more important for companies to integrate this into their company culture and it is something I feel strongly about.
What type of advice would you give to students who would like to enter in the industry you are working in or would like to apply to the MSc in Luxury Management?
The advice that I can offer students wanting to enter the luxury fashion industry is to talk to as many people as possible, research and read widely so you can learn as much as possible. The more you talk to people and the more you research, the clearer you will be about the industry and the type of job you would like to have. If you don’t have access to people face-to-face, try connecting on LinkedIn. However, make sure your questions are very clear and concise as you will have better luck getting an answer!
Don’t be afraid to go out of your way to prove you’re keen and passionate about the industry. Offer samples of your work and research you have done about the brand you are applying for. I thought I had a terrible interview for my internship (which I later found out they thought was very good), however, I really wanted the job, so when I sent my thank you note I followed up with a presentation showing them I had researched all the things they had recommended to me at the end of the interview. It also pays to be persistent, following up on emails is always a good reminder of who you are!
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