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Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy?

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Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 09 May 2013, 07:55
Hey guys, seeing all the fantastic advice you all give to people on this forum, I thought I would write a post myself. Would really appreciate your thoughts on the following situation:

- Planning to apply to full time MBA programs this summer/fall to start in Fall 2014, will be 26 when applying
- Assume GPA/GMAT/Essays/Extracurrics are all competitive, this is a question of career prospects, international recognition, and school culture
- Have a BS+MS in Engineering, and about 4 years of industry experience. 3 of those are in project management at a defense contractor, and for the past year have been working in management consulting for a Big 4 firm, specifically strategy and operations, recently mostly in the entertainment and media sectors.
- After school I would like to do one of two things: 1. Brand Management/Strategy/Marketing in the luxury goods/fashion/entertainment sector or 2. Go into the brand management practice or innovation practice of Bain/BCG.
- Stanford is top choice for me, HBS is 2nd (based on visiting both schools). Also visited Wharton - that's out. Not a fan at all of Philly, and the focus of the people I talked to at there seemed to be largely on getting into finance instead of enjoying their time at the school and pursuing their passions. I could be wrong, but that was my impression
- Would like to work back and forth between Europe and the US after MBA, so international reputation is a factor for me

Here are my questions on which additional school(s) to apply to, and I sincerely would like your opinion:
- Should I apply to Chicago/Kellogg? Based on my research it would appear that the Mid-West (i.e. Chicago and Kellogg) is not the best for careers in luxury goods/fashion just because Chicago is not a fashion hub. That being said, Kellogg places the most people into MBB on this side of the Atlantic Ocean and has a strong marketing reputation. Kellogg also seems to have a well established Luxury Goods club. How well of a fit career wise would you say Chicago and/or Kellogg would be for me? From what I understand Chicago is more finance oriented than Kellogg, and has a more "nerdy" than "collaborative" reputation (and I understand that these are generalities). My goal is to enjoy my time there while getting to know people with whom I can form great connections with and that would set me up the best for my career goals.

- Should I apply to MIT? Frankly, I am worried that because of my BS and MS in Engineering, going to MIT will cement in people's minds that I am a tech-oriented person, which I am far from. One of the main reasons for me for getting an MBA is to avoid that perception and re-brand myself more towards marketing/strategy than engineering/tech/operations. The fact that 43% of MIT's class is folks with UGrad engineering degrees concerns me a little. I worry that the class may not be diverse enough to where 2 out of 5 people have an interest in tech/operations/manufacturing leadership roles after their MBA (and I understand this is discounting the fact that some of those engineers also don't want to be engineers after their MBA). However, I feel that Boston has a strong luxury goods presence and both HBS and MIT would be good choices from that perspective. Would MIT's tech reputation, especially abroad, work against me?

- Should I apply to Columbia? I know NY has a great luxury goods presence, but my concern lies with the culture. How collaborative is the culture as opposed to cutthroat?

General Questions:
1. I don't think they do, but would any of these schools be better for getting into Bain/BCG? How about Luxury Goods/Entertainment strategy/marketing?
2. Which of the schools (or others) would have better international reputation? MIT/Columbia/Booth/Kellogg. London Business School is another option, but how good of a reputation would that have for Bain/BCG in the US?

Thank you all in advance for all your inputs.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 09 May 2013, 09:23
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You have multiple paths here, so I'll chime in on entertainment/luxury strategy and marketing ... And leave the consulting part to the hard core consultants out there.

Marketing in general, Kellogg is king. But their sweet spot is consumer goods and Chicago, though you could go anywhere obviously.

Luxury goods: New York City. Columbia or NYU. Imo, NYU is stronger in recent years for luxury marketing; Columbia is more known for luxury finance (or at least that's the direction the people I know have gone in). Duke, Sloan, and Yale have pretty good recruiting in this area as well but it depends if you want to do general marketing, analytics, or something else.

Entertainment: NYU (again, NYC) though entertainment is broad -- do you want tv, movies, theater, hotels, cruise lines...? Those can all lead different directions. I still say NYU, UCLA, USC depending on the area.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 09 May 2013, 09:46
aerien wrote:
You have multiple paths here, so I'll chime in on entertainment/luxury strategy and marketing ... And leave the consulting part to the hard core consultants out there.

Marketing in general, Kellogg is king. But their sweet spot is consumer goods and Chicago, though you could go anywhere obviously.

Luxury goods: New York City. Columbia or NYU. Imo, NYU is stronger in recent years for luxury marketing; Columbia is more known for luxury finance (or at least that's the direction the people I know have gone in). Duke, Sloan, and Yale have pretty good recruiting in this area as well but it depends if you want to do general marketing, analytics, or something else.

Entertainment: NYU (again, NYC) though entertainment is broad -- do you want tv, movies, theater, hotels, cruise lines...? Those can all lead different directions. I still say NYU, UCLA, USC depending on the area.


Thank you for the thoughts, you're on the money about NY being a big hub for entertainment/luxury goods. One note, however, is that just for myself, I kind of want to stay within the top 5-7 MBA programs to manage my own brand since my undergrad/grad degrees were from State schools. I listed the schools I did just because I think they may have the best brand name recognition in Europe, but I could be wrong...

I think that the luxury goods strategy/marketing path will be for me if I can get a job with an industry player (think Versace, Ferrari, Chanel, etc.), while the entertainment sector (including all those industries that you mentioned) will be a fallback plan to consult in with Bain/BCG. I think I would like my position to focus on more of the high level company direction than doing analytics necessarily.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 09 May 2013, 10:00
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lkaboss wrote:
aerien wrote:
You have multiple paths here, so I'll chime in on entertainment/luxury strategy and marketing ... And leave the consulting part to the hard core consultants out there.

Marketing in general, Kellogg is king. But their sweet spot is consumer goods and Chicago, though you could go anywhere obviously.

Luxury goods: New York City. Columbia or NYU. Imo, NYU is stronger in recent years for luxury marketing; Columbia is more known for luxury finance (or at least that's the direction the people I know have gone in). Duke, Sloan, and Yale have pretty good recruiting in this area as well but it depends if you want to do general marketing, analytics, or something else.

Entertainment: NYU (again, NYC) though entertainment is broad -- do you want tv, movies, theater, hotels, cruise lines...? Those can all lead different directions. I still say NYU, UCLA, USC depending on the area.


Thank you for the thoughts, you're on the money about NY being a big hub for entertainment/luxury goods. One note, however, is that just for myself, I kind of want to stay within the top 5-7 MBA programs to manage my own brand since my undergrad/grad degrees were from State schools. I listed the schools I did just because I think they may have the best brand name recognition in Europe, but I could be wrong...

I think that the luxury goods strategy/marketing path will be for me if I can get a job with an industry player (think Versace, Ferrari, Chanel, etc.), while the entertainment sector (including all those industries that you mentioned) will be a fallback plan to consult in with Bain/BCG. I think I would like my position to focus on more of the high level company direction than doing analytics necessarily.


And I say this with the nicest of intentions, but a 5-7 school based on someone's ranking may not be the best school for you and your career aspirations.

Most every school has a marketing club/recruiting, but luxury recruiting is a niche area -- especially if you leave luxury retail and go into luxury auto. Luxury retail is so strong in NYC for obvious reasons and to go by US News rankings since that seems to be your benchmark, HBS, MIT, and Booth are strong there too. I'd say HBS is more strategy inclined and MIT/Booth are more analytics inclined, but you can do either at any school.

Luxury auto (you mentioned Ferrari) is more difficult to break into IMO. And from an American applicant perspective, it's almost easier to gain auto experience at a Ford/GM first and then move to a Ferrari, Maserati, etc. And I don't think anyone can beat the Ross network for the US auto industry. Sure, Detroit isn't what it used to be but those ties are still there and are quite strong. To go directly to an Italian/German/British auto maker, it might be easier to go to INSEAD, EDHEC, even Cambridge/Oxford. I say that because there aren't that many US applicants nowadays looking in auto (outside of supply chain/engineering) and if they are, they're in solar/energy/sustainability. In Europe things might be different.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 10 May 2013, 06:52
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I'm not super familiar with luxury retail or consulting for that matter. Though I will say, it seems like most of the top schools will offer you opportunities at MBB for consulting. If you're looking to do do consulting in the US, I probably wouldn't consider LBS though it certainly has a great reputation. For entertainment, I'd say West Coast. Though NYU does have a pretty good entertainment program and I've met a ton of people going to Columbia who want to do entertainment so they must send a lot of people as well.

I agree with Aerien, for luxury retail I would definitely say NYC. Seems like you're not interested in NYU, but I will reiterate that they do send a lot of people into luxury retail. I've met quite a few people at Columbia who are looking to get into luxury retail, and from the marketing side, I actually haven't met anyone interested in the finance side. I know a few people who interned with fashion houses part time during the semester which definitely helped give them some experience on their resumes which in turn helped in finding summer internships and full time jobs. That's a huge plus of being in NYC, having the ability to get a part time internship, especially if you're a career switcher. A large amount of luxury retail companies have offices in NYC, so I think it's pretty safe to say you'll have access to ones that hire MBAs if you go to either Columbia or NYU.

However, you said that Wharton turned you off because most people seemed interested in finance. I've only met a small subset of my future Columbia classmates, and I actually would say it's a very mixed bunch in terms of career goals, but given Columbia's historical placement records I still expect a larger portion of my class to be interested in getting into finance. In such large programs as Columbia and Wharton I really don't think that matters since there will still be tons of people with similar interests to you who you can network with. Also, with regards to Wharton, did you spend time in Center City? If you just saw the area around Wharton I can see getting a bad impression of Philly, but center city (in my opinion) is awesome. Tons of great restaurants that you can actually go to without having to get a reservation 2 weeks in advance (I'm looking at you NYC!). And running along the Schuykill is awesome as well.

On another note, you questioned Columbia's culture. While I haven't started yet, in general I think school stereotypes tend to get perpetuated and overblown by people who actually don't attend the school. Is Tuck more collaborative than Columbia? Probably yes given it's a tiny program in a small town. But does that mean that Columbia is not collaborative just because people took a subway to get to school and there are more people in your class? No. I suggest you reach out to actual students when doing your research to get a good idea of each school's culture. They all have different cultures, but my guess is that most students at every school are going to be collaborative, outgoing, and excited to be in the program. Back to Columbia, I've heard from every student I've talked to that Columbia is very collaborative and people are really open and friendly. This has been reiterated in my experience thus far with the school. A large group of us meet every single week for happy hour and I have yet to meet anyone who seems like they have jerk-like tendencies.

Obviously in your research you will do this, but the employment reports for each of the schools should be really helpful in helping you to get a sense of which schools will give you a better chance of getting opportunities for your career interests.

Good luck!
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 13 May 2013, 06:52
Thank you all for the comments, this definitely adds perspective and gives me some food for thought. I did realize this weekend that Kellogg and Harvard don't have grade non disclosure in place, which is not ideal, but just another data point. I also had the opportunity to speak with a friend at Wharton who gave me much insight into the marketing side of the school and I think I will consider applying there.

Based on all your replies and my chats with existing students, I'm thinking it's best to hedge my bets and apply to more than the 2-3 schools I had initially planned. It's going to be a fun time preparing for all R1 applications, but I think in the end I will be applying to (in order of preference) Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia. Kellogg does not have as great of a reputation in Europe, so that's something I'm going to have to think about but perhaps I will apply there as well.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 13 May 2013, 07:54
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Keep in mind that even with a competitive 730 GMAT and 3.74 GPA, you are not a shoe in for Stanford, Harvard, or Wharton. GPA/GMAT are less important than they would be for say law school. A lot will depend on work experience and how well you execute your essays. Also, though nobody from admissions will mention this, work/school pedigree is heavily weighted at top schools. Coming from a state school education makes it harder to get in than if you had done your undergrad at an Ivy league. Take a look at the quote below from a Poets and Quants article regarding the top feeder schools to Wharton and I think you'll see my point. You can also look up the top feeder companies and schools for H/S/W at poets and quants. Really interesting.

Quote:
The largest single group of students in Wharton’s Class of 2013 had their undergraduate diplomas stamped at the business school’s parent university. UPenn undergrads make up an estimated 7.6% of the class with roughly 64 of the 845 students enrolled.
Harvard (6.8% of the class), Princeton (5.6%, and Yale (3.9%) follow U Penn, making the top four schools all Ivy League. In fact, one of every three members (33.1%) of Wharton’s incoming class this fall hail from one of the original eight Ivy League schools. Subtract out the international schools in the sample and those eight institutions account for roughly 44% of the entire class.
Students who earned their undergraduate degrees from state schools are decidedly underrepresented. The only public schools in the top 25 are all prestige institutions: Berkeley, the University of Virginia, Michigan, UCLA, and the University of Texas at Austin. Those five universities account for an estimated 7.7% of the class. All the other students from state schools in the U.S. make up less than 9% of the class.


Just something to think about. For sure apply to H/S/W, you've got a shot, but I'd definitely recommend applying to a backup school or two outside of the top 7.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 13 May 2013, 08:03
You make a great point, and I'm aware I'm facing an uphill battle. Those statistics really put it into perspective :)

I realize that H/S/W are more of reach schools for me, and I think I will be doing Columbia and possibly Kellogg as my backups. I realize that sounds a little silly given that none of those schools are easy to get into, but at the same time I'm going into this MBA to get a certain level of pedigree and I'm ok reapplying next year if I don't get into these schools. I've actually engaged an admission consulting company to help me navigate the applications and to maximize my chances of getting in.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 13 May 2013, 09:27
Yeah that's a good plan. I'm sure Kellogg and Columbia don't put as much weight on pedigree as h/s/w. You'll be competitive for top schools, it's just that the top 3 are hard to crack no matter what your stats simply because they receive so many applications. But your GPA and gmat are right on par with their accepted averages so you've got as good a shot as anyone. Best of luck with the process.
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 13 May 2013, 15:10
I understand you won't settle for anything less than top 5-7, but given your interest in luxury, you may want to consider adding stern to your list.

http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-time-mba/academics/specializations/luxury-marketing/index.htm
http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-time-mba/career/career-paths/luxury-retail/
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Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy? [#permalink] New post 14 May 2013, 06:21
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On the topic of luxury auto, think long and hard about the type of control you want to have in your position in the company and if you want to be based in the US or Germany, UK, or Japan.

I am currently at a luxury automotive company in the US and the experience is a lot different with our parent company in Europe then it is for those automakers with Asian parent companies or working for Cadillac in Michigan. Talk to some good sources currently working at automotive companies. I have been told that Audi of America marches to the beat of their own drum, however, they still report to Germany. Its the same with BMW, Porsche, and M-B.

Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions on the differences in working for the D3, German 4, or Japanese 3.

- George
Re: Which school for entertainment or luxury goods strategy?   [#permalink] 14 May 2013, 06:21
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