After graduating with an MBA from EMLYON Business School earlier this year, Nyachia Knight is set to launch her own luxury events company, NKT Events.
Nyachia started out her career in New York’s luxury and fashion industries, working as a freelance fashion events coordinator alongside sales jobs at Louis Vuitton and Swiss watchmakers Chopard.
After following her heart to Geneva in Switzerland, she joined the accessions division of the World Trade Organization and was part of the team that concluded the decade-long negotiations over Russia’s membership.
Frustrated by politics, Nyachia took an MBA to help her move back into the world of fashion and luxury, this time as an entrepreneur. She has benefited from EMLYON’s “heavy focus” on entrepreneurship — and luxury brand management.
What are your career plans?
I’m currently in the process of starting up a luxury events company that will design, plan and produce events in France and Switzerland.
This has been a passion project of mine for almost five years now, and to see it come to life is amazing! I will be launching soon, so definitely keep an eye out.
How did the idea come about and what plans do you have for your business?
It was during the planning of my own wedding that I realized how much I missed organizing events.
Event design for weddings and socials events is big in the US and there is never a shortage of designers to choose from. I found that it was a challenge to find such a designer in Geneva, and I said to myself, I can do that!
I definitely would like to develop my business into a full event production company with my own in-house team of graphic artists, floral designers and production personnel.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to start their own business?
Don’t be afraid of failure; don’t be intimidated; just do it!
You always learn from your mistakes and if your first idea doesn’t work out, you will know how to execute the next one better.
What excites you about working in the luxury industry?
You have to admire the creativity and beauty of it all.
The luxury industry is about heritage, storytelling and emotion. Luxury brands are always thinking of new ways to reinvent themselves to remain relevant while staying true to their core values.
I am a truly visual person and when there’s a new advertising clip from Cartier or Chanel, I always feel a wave of emotion.
What was your experience like working for the WTO, and what advice do you have for MBA graduates looking to work there?
Working at the WTO was the most challenging job I’ve ever had.
You have to be mentally prepared for the “politics” that come with working for such an organization. There is a very high sense of elitism amongst individuals and it’s hard to feel that you are appreciated for the work that you do.
In all honesty, to get into these international organizations at MBA level, it’s really beneficial to know someone on the inside. If you don’t know someone, start networking!
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
I was at a place in my career where I could either continue in the administrative field or finally make the move to return to the luxury industry.
Having been out of the luxury industry for so long, it was hard for me to get back into it at an executive position. I made the decision to invest in myself and return to graduate school so that I could differentiate myself from the competition.
Why did you choose to study at EMLYON in particular?
I was looking at schools which offered a specialization in luxury brand management as well as study abroad opportunities. EMLYON offered both, and the program was completely in English.
I also wanted to explore entrepreneurship and EMLYON is heavily focused in that area.
How have you profited from your experience of studying for an MBA?
An MBA teaches you how to think differently. It completely changed my mind-set on how to approach and solve problems.
In the entrepreneurship elective my team competed in the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, where we presented our plan for a project designed to control the amount of energy consumption by buildings
I benefited from the experience immensely and it really gave me insight into the process of starting up your own business.