ESSEC MBA Makes Luxury Industry Shine At Diamond Jewellers Boodles

Amanda Motta says luxury must embrace digital tech

Amanda Motta believes that luxury firms need to adapt to the demands of an increasingly digitized world to survive. She is well placed to know. The MBA graduate works as brand manager for historic fine diamond jewellers Boodles in London.

She also specialized in international luxury brand management at ESSEC Business School in France.

Amanda thinks that with turmoil in emerging markets, the future of luxury lies in e-commerce. But for an industry that prides itself on its exclusivity, this is an unsettling prospect.

She previously studied in Milan at the creative academy of luxury goods giant Richemont, before relocating to Paris to work as a product designer for German luxury manufacturer Montblanc.

Keen to break out of the workshop and bolster her knowledge of the industry, the skilled jewellery designer saw an MBA in the lavish French capital as a perfect fit.

What is the future for the luxury industry?

How luxury and the internet combine will play a major role. The industry is struggling to incorporate the faced-paced changes that the internet is imposing on it, while still upholding an air of rarity.

The brands that manage to get this combination right will become the new industry leaders. Being audacious is always dangerous territory for luxury brands — but it is only through daring that we will move forward.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at ESSEC Business School?

I had explored the universe of design, I’d worked with amazing brands and agencies, with different product categories, and I felt that I had accomplished something significant in that domain.

The creative vein was still pulsing, but I wanted to be involved not only in the product’s conception and creation, but in the journey in its entirety: from drawing board to delivery.

Working in the luxury industry and living in Paris, I knew that ESSEC was the perfect match for me.

The curriculum was what really made it stand out. The fact that every single subject in the program was directed at the luxury industry and its specificities ticked a huge box.

How do you explain your passion for luxury?

For someone who loves design, there is something so fascinating about luxury objects.

There is a real beauty in putting raw materials and craftsmanship together to create a functional but aesthetically-stunning object of desire.

What challenges does the industry face?

The decline in spending from emerging markets — which were for a long time financed the industry’s growth — is an obvious challenge.

Consumers are also savvy now. Although they are still willing to spend, they want to invest in meaningful products and experiences. It is the genuinely timeless brands such as Hermes, Cartier and Chanel that have maintained solid growth. That says a lot.

What advice do you have for MBAs looking to work in luxury?

Think outside the box and be creative. Have tools in your arsenal that others don’t have. If you are good at storytelling for example, use that to your advantage.

An MBA provides you with so much, but it’s how you implement what you’ve learnt to different situations that will make an employer choose you over someone else.

How have you profited from your MBA experience?

The MBA was exactly what I needed. It gave me tools I didn’t have before and strengthened the ones I did.

Coming from a design background, it can be intimidating to step into a business-orientated environment. But the course gave me so much confidence and I was supported all the way through.

Why do you think we are seeing increasing numbers of female MBA students?

From a young age, women are now being encouraged to go out there and find their place in the world.

Women are instinctively “system-thinkers” and I believe that there’s a level of sensitivity inherent to female behavior which allows for a more holistic view of things.

Although the business world is still very much male-dominated, there’s an obvious growth in the number of women occupying positions previously reserved only for men.

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