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EMLYON MBA To Help China’s Luxury Fashion Startups Compete With The Big Brands Of Europe

Yan Dong aims to leverage her newfound knowledge of European luxury markets in China

Wed Jun 8 2016

The world of luxury is dominated by the big brands of Europe. Yet it’s consumers in China who are driving the industry, accounting for 31% of global luxury sales according to a Bain & Company report.

While the vast majority is spent overseas, Chinese luxury fashion brands are looking to capitalize on this trend, to change spending patterns and drive investment within China.

Yan Dong is an MBA student at France’s EMLYON Business School looking to help Chinese luxury fashion brands compete with the big boys of Europe. After graduation, she wants to work in retail environment design to help improve consumer experience and increase awareness of Chinese brands worldwide.

Yan Dong has spent almost a decade working in all aspects of fashion and retail in China; marketing, project management, supply chain and operations. As a Chinese student in Europe, her MBA experience has opened up a whole new world of opportunities.

What are your career plans?

I want to work for large retailers and international corporations with operations in China. In the long term, I hope to use my expertise to work with up-and-coming Chinese brands to enhance their retail environment.

Increasing numbers of Chinese brands are aiming to establish themselves as premium or luxury brands and raise their brand awareness worldwide. And to achieve this objective, an attractive and comfortable retail environment is just as important as product innovation and quality.

This can mean an eye-catching window display, or a relaxing in-store environment with space, natural lighting and a pleasant aroma.

Can Chinese luxury fashion brands compete with the big brands of Europe?

As more and more foreign brands establish operations in China and bring new fashion trends, this, in turn, cultivates the domestic fashion industry in China. And with ever-improving creative designs and the right business management, Chinese brands have great potential.

Plus, many Chinese fashion designers - Uma Wang, Christine Lau, Masha Ma - have made their way to top fashion world. Showcased in fashion shows in Paris, London and Milan, their works integrate unique Chinese elements, helping the world to understand and accept Chinese fashion.

How is luxury marketing changing in the digital era?

Dramatically! Digital marketing creates greater competition, and requires companies, big or small, to be equally innovative to survive and prosper in the business world.

And big data gives businesses quick access to information about consumer behaviors and enables them to do a better job in managing customer experience. Soon, personalized marketing driven by big data will become the norm.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at EMLYON?

To work or study in Europe is a dream I’ve had for a long time.

I also wanted to learn the skills required to become an international leader in fashion and retail. And when I was looking at MBA programs, I couldn’t decide between a general MBA and an MBA in luxury management.

EMLYON offers both: it has general MBA courses and offers elective courses specialized in the luxury industry.

How have you adapted to life as a Chinese MBA student in Europe?

The majority of Chinese tend to avoid confrontation and are indirect when giving feedback. We don’t often express our ideas or stand up for the ideas we hold. In European culture it’s quite the opposite.

So, at the beginning, I found it challenging to adapt to a foreign education system and teaching methodology. But when I look back now, it’s been an incredible experience, opening up multiple possibilities for future career development.

What advice do you have for Chinese students looking to do the same?

Be yourself, don't forget your roots and share your ideas and your culture. But, at the same time, be open-minded, learn the language and accept and adapt to the cultural differences.

How have you profited from your MBA experience so far?

Taking a MBA program in Europe is definitely a life experience worth having. It means not only career improvement, but also self-evolution.

And the international experience at EMLYON is amazing; we have 24 different nationalities in a class of 43. It’s openend up a brand new world.

Student Reviews

emlyon business school




On Campus

Intense courses, helpful professors

I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.




On Campus

Leadership in an amazing city

I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends




On Campus

A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.

You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.




MSc in Digital Marketing

Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.




Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs

EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.




Emlyon campus in Paris

It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.




On Campus


Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.




Good Reputation and International Business School

The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.