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Sustainable Business: How Innovation Skills Prepare You For Success At Top Companies Like L'Oréal

Innovation is necessary to drive sustainable business practices. Find out how these skills could help you lead in top sustainability jobs at global companies such as L'Oréal

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Thu Dec 14 2023

BusinessBecause
In the glamorous realm of beauty, a less appealing truth lurks beneath the surface—the cosmetics industry generates massive amounts of unrecyclable waste.

As we loom closer to an environmental crisis, disruptive innovation is necessary now more than ever. 

As business schools seek to prepare future business leaders to tackle these issues, schools are centering sustainability and innovation at the heart of the curriculum.

There are even MBA degrees out there that offer specializations in sustainability and innovation, with the MBA at HEC Paris being one of these programs. 

Here are the main ways that innovation skills can prepare grads for success in sustainable business jobs at major companies such as L'Oréal.


An understanding of sustainable business can fuel innovation 

Innovation is as much about creativity as it is about understanding a given problem and finding a unique solution to solve it.

A desire to understand environmental issues at a greater level inspired Anna Dragina (pictured), an MBA graduate from HEC Paris and global sustainability manager at L'Oréal, to gain her business school credentials. 3a706b3594a79af9e79bbe26c3a79cc103237219.png

Anna had previously worked in L'Oréal’s corporate communications department in her home country of Russia, which involved a lot of duties connected to sustainability issues and working alongside NGOs.

“It became clear to me that I wanted to pivot from corporate responsibilities to purely sustainable business issues,” she says.

To do this, she says, she would need environmental skills that she didn’t possess at the time, as well as a holistic overview of business operations.

“If I was going to be speaking to the director of a factory about processes and operations, I needed an understanding of how the business worked,” she says. 

To fill in the gaps, Anna began her search for an innovative MBA degree, setting her sights on HEC Paris. Since she wanted to further her career within L'Oréal—a French company—it made sense to join an MBA in Paris. 

Plus, the opportunity to specialize in sustainability and innovation cemented Anna’s decision.

During the 16-month MBA program, Anna broadened her understanding of business beyond the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, learning about sustainable business practices in the energy, oil, and gas sector while learning about different priorities in global markets and how to understand the stakeholder vision. 

While HEC Paris MBA students learn about core business areas in courses such as Financial Markets and Strategic Management, they can then blend their learnings with electives in the Sustainable and Disruptive Innovation specialization, such as Design Thinking for Innovation and Socially Responsible Investing. 


Innovation skills are gained through practice in sustainable business areas

Learning about sustainable business and innovation is important, but practicing your innovation skills is even more crucial.

The HEC Paris MBA offers practical initiatives for students to test out their knowledge in a supportive environment. 

In the capstone project, Anna worked with a real company to solve a sustainability issue that the firm was facing.

“I went far and beyond on how to innovate on sustainability and imagine the future for the business in 2030, defining their business priorities,” she says.

Anna also took part in an MBA summer internship with luxury company Richemont in the Paris office. The experience enabled her to apply knowledge from her MBA classes and improve her understanding of regulation and stakeholder priorities.

This MBA internship involved considering the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)—the new EU reporting standard that outlines how companies report on their sustainability measures. Luckily, Anna had learned about this regulation in her MBA degree at HEC Paris.


Harnessing innovation skills in a sustainability role at L'Oréal 

Following her MBA in France, Anna returned to her company with a new job title: global sustainability manager.

More specifically, she oversees the global sustainability operations of one of L'Oréal’s brands, Vichy, defining the strategy for sustainability, as well as working with the team to define product formulation and reduce packaging intensity.

“It’s a very challenging role that requires a lot of negotiation and going back and forth convincing stakeholders,” she says.

However, the knowledge and network she gained from her HEC Paris MBA is helping her every step of the way.

“Thanks to my MBA, I now have the soft skills to learn fast and to connect with people,” she says. “One of the most valuable learnings for me is that knowledge is found when working alongside people, rather than in books.”

Student Reviews

HEC Paris

Student

Verified

7/07/2022

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.

Sarah

Verified

18/03/2022

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.

Student

Verified

29/10/2021

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.

Veronique

Verified

28/10/2021

Blended

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.

Ghadi

Verified

11/06/2022

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.

Student

Verified

27/03/2022

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.

Lb

Verified

26/03/2022

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.

Rajarshi

Verified

28/10/2021

Blended

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!

Student

Verified

19/10/2021

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.

Student

Verified

7/07/2022

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.

Sarah

Verified

18/03/2022

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.

Student

Verified

29/10/2021

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.

Veronique

Verified

28/10/2021

Blended

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.

Ghadi

Verified

11/06/2022

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.

Student

Verified

27/03/2022

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.

Lb

Verified

26/03/2022

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.

Rajarshi

Verified

28/10/2021

Blended

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!

Student

Verified

19/10/2021

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.

Student

Verified

1/06/2024

On Campus

Diverse

HEC, as an academic institution, serves as a launching pad for students to excel in their pursuits and careers. The diversity among students and professors is truly remarkable. The chance to attend seminars across five major continents is unparalleled. The exposure and relationships it fosters are invaluable.

Student

Verified

31/05/2024

On Campus

Super diverse

It's a super diverse and fascinating environment with tons of chances, but the management is very French, and the facilities like the gym and classrooms are not great. This makes the academic side quite ineffective. Plus, we're graded on a curve, leading to a competitive and sometimes toxic atmosphere. Despite all that, the benefits definitely overshadow the drawbacks.

John

Verified

10/06/2024

On Campus

Surreal academic experience

What stood out to me about HEC was the direction and insight it offered on coding approaches. Prior to joining the program, I attempted self-learning, but I felt disoriented and lacked a starting point.HEC enabled me to grasp the basics of programming and provided support when I encountered obstacles. Without that guidance, I doubt I would have achieved the progress I have made to date.

John

Verified

10/06/2024

On Campus

Good security

HEC boasts a dedicated team of security personnel who undergo rigorous training to ensure the perpetual maintenance of tranquility and orderliness within the institution. Their unwavering efforts are directed towards fostering a sense of security among the student body, thereby enabling them to channel their energies predominantly towards their academic pursuits.