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How An MBA Can Fast Track Your Career In Retail

Caroline Bour and Lucia Gonzalez Schuett have seen their careers accelerate after an MBA; they’re both now striving in senior leadership roles


Wed Oct 2 2019


Both of Lucia Gonzalez Schuett’s parents have MBAs and have always been willing to invest in education. Lucia not only shares her parents’ mindset, she also understands from their successes the positive impact an MBA can bring to a person’s career. 

Today, she is reaping the benefits after graduating from the HEC Paris MBA.

She entered the classroom after more than four years at the Spanish fashion retailer MANGO. With no formal business education, she had worked her way up from sales and merchandising to retail management.

Lucia (pictured right) says she chose an MBA because she felt she’d climbed as high as she could without business school. A lot of her superiors also had MBAs.

Now, thanks to business school, she is head of retail projects at the French fashion firm Vestiaire Collective. It’s a European-wide role that illustrates how an MBA enabled her to fast-track her career.


How will the MBA accelerate your career?

Lucia says the MBA had a huge impact on her, equipping her with the acumen needed to receive the offer from Vestiaire Collective even before graduating. 

“It’s all about developing an overall view of business,” she says. “You deep-dive into all these different areas: strategy, marketing, finance, to ultimately be able to put all those different pieces together. And just as importantly, you develop personally as well.” 

Jumping back into the industry was always her plan. She explains that having an MBA degree meant she was able to land a higher, more strategic role within a company whose values of circularity and sustainability are closely aligned with her own.

She partially attributes her success to how the MBA changes the way you think. Lucia is conscious of having a new way of interacting with her colleagues, and of having gained the skills to mediate between different departments.

“I always wanted to be one of the decision makers,” she says.

Caroline Bour (pictured below, right) was working in London as the senior retail marketing coordinator for the boutique fashion brand Agent Provocateur before she joined the MBA at HEC Paris. She chose to pursue her degree after five years working in London. She was ready for a fresh challenge and wanted to return home to Paris.

Born and raised in France, Caroline moved around a lot as a child. Every four years they were on the road. That meant Caroline grew accustomed to dealing with and adapting to change. 


Throughout her life, Caroline could fit easily into a diverse, new group of people. She explains that during an MBA, you really hone those skills—there are 60 nationalities in the HEC Paris MBA classroom, with 93% of students international.

“I learned how to deal with loads of people from different backgrounds,” she says. “It’s something the MBA gave me that I still use every day with my colleagues and teams.”

Caroline is now head of international merchandising for Etam. She landed the job after meeting company representatives at an HEC Paris Careers fair.

An MBA allowed Caroline to pivot her career from a small, niche lingerie retailer to a well-known, multi-national lingerie retailer headquartered in Paris with more than 1,000 stores worldwide.

The MBA, she says, speeds up the time it takes to land such a role. “I wouldn’t have been able to be the project manager without the MBA.”

Tips for using an MBA to boost your career

If you’re looking for a similar pivot, Caroline says to do three things.

First, be honest with yourself about why you’re doing an MBA. Do your homework on schools, speak to alumni, check the rankings, go to campus to get a feel of the culture.

Once you’re there, she explains, make the most of it. Make friends, immerse yourself in the “biggest cultural melting pot” you’ll have in your life, and embrace the challenge.

“What an MBA gives you is a 360 vision of a business, social intelligence, and a push to think outside the box,” Caroline concludes. “It’s a culture I will always carry with me.”

Student Reviews

HEC Paris




On Campus

Cultural experience

I have met the most competent and diverse batch in this school. These people not only thrive on their own but also makes sure that you are doing it with them. The professors will take your had and walk you through all milestones and make sure you are not left behind. I have found their extracurriculars extremely engaging. There was always a room to have social life after academic life. The only hindrance is the location of the school, it is slightly outside city and living in city is expensive.




On Campus

Internationality and diversity of opportunities

About my programme I would say it is very international and flexible: we have the opportunity to choose exactly the courses we want. But at the same time, the frame of the campus is crucial in students' life and enable us to create friendships.




On Campus

Great selection of people

While HEC's MBA is highly selective, I really enjoy the type of people HEC's selects to make sure everybody gets the best out of their MBA experience and networking opportunities. Not only it's an incredibly diverse pool of people (~60 nationalities) but most importantly they make sure to let in friendly empathic and curious people.





Best in France for Grande ecole

A prestigious business school. Languages ​​are important. It is better to have a scientific baccalaureate with excellent grades in high school and good assessments. The courses are well designed as per the latest trends and practicality of learning in stressed upon. Overall, a very good experience.




On Campus

Diversity and quality of fellow students

Very international and interesting place to be and opens a lot of opportunities, however the administration is very french and facilities are subpar (gym, classrooms) meaning the academic affairs is pretty much useless and lastly we are graded on a curve which can create a toxic environment because of the competition. With that being said the pros outweighs the cons by far.




On Campus

The quality of the teachers, the campus, the clubs

The school is very international indeed, we have courses with international students and share things with them within the extra academic life (in the social clubs especially). We have great career prospects if we prepare ourselves well - however, the global curriculum is still very finance-oriented, which is a pity for other interesting domains of the company world, which does not rely on finance only. The social clubs are good practice for the management and for now, are quite independent.




On Campus

HEC Paris awaits you

HEC Paris is really a nice place to do a master's in business. Many classes are useful and interesting (corporate finance, financial accounting, contract law…), some are less - but the curriculum is to be reviewed in the year to come. Regarding the student life, it is incredible, with about 130 clubs, lots of great parties with even greater people. The Jouy campus offers a lot of opportunities to do sports, and you can breathe fresh air every day. HEC also helps a great deal to find an internship or a job.





A dream institute

Enrolling in the HEC MBA was by far the best decision I made for myself. The people and faculty are great, with lots of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons. Very nice campus where I have had some good running sessions. The alumni network is superb and very helpful. It also has a good support system for entrepreneurs. Would definitely recommend it!




On Campus

Good choice for a career boost

The classes were extremely practical and relevant to the current challenges that businesses are facing. You have access to a wide range of professionals and good career prospects once you leave the university.

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