It’s super competitive. L’Oréal Travel Retail Americas office in Miami is responsible for 1,000 points of sales in a unique distribution channel called travel retail across the entire Americas region—exclusively in airports, ferries, cruise ships, airlines, e-commerce, and downtown duty free stores—representing more than 20 different brands under the L’Oréal umbrella.
Job applicants have to go through a series of, usually three-to-four, interviews and screenings.
But the rewards are there—MBA grads at L’Oréal’s Travel Retail Americas office can expect competitive salaries and fast tracked international career opportunities. L’Oréal operates in over 130 countries and hires over 80,000 worldwide.
Standing out from the crowd
So, what can b-school grads do to stand out?
“What sets candidates apart when we go to campus and interview them is a sense of curiosity, adventure, agility, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” says Jane Kim, human resources manager for L’Oréal Travel Retail Americas based in Miami. Jane interviews around 350 job applicants each year.
“The industry that we’re in changes overnight—there’s innovation and new competition every day,” she explains.
“The barrier to entry into the industry is lower than it used to be—you have social media, and people who’ve become famous bloggers now creating their own fashion and beauty lines—we have to stay ahead of the game.
“And so it’s important that our teams are agile to anticipate and adapt quickly and also to drive change fueled by consumer centricity.”
Out of the 40 people L’Oréal Travel Retail Americas office recruit each year, over half are MBA or master’s degree holders. Typically, five are MBA graduates from Hult International Business School. Jane has recruited from Hult across functions like marketing, finance, sales, and supply chain.
With six global campuses—in San Francisco, Boston, London, Dubai, Shanghai, and New York City—Hult is famed for its global approach.
Hult hasn't got a 109-year history like Harvard. Instead, the school looks to the future, focusing on practice-based learning and soft skills like leadership, teamwork and entrepreneurial thinking, to prepare students for a rapidly changing business world.
Hult also offers elective courses in disruptive technologies like blockchain and augmented reality, and last year launched a Master’s in Business Analytics for students looking to connect data with business decisions.
What skills do employers value today more than ever before? “We definitely look for a sensitivity to digital,” says Jane. “Even if you’re not in, say, marketing, you have to know how digital works, how it impacts the consumer journey, how that’s going to impact the supply chain.
“Big data analytics is key,” she continues. “Taking large sets of information and making sense of it, and highlighting business opportunities and risks—that’s what we do here every day. And 99% of people here are extremely adept of using all of the tools that come with it.”
Your resume has passed the test, you’ve got through the screening, and you’ve made it to the interview—the most nerve-wracking stage in any job application.
What should you do, and what shouldn’t you do, in a job interview?
“I’ve had people chew gum through an interview, show up late, do some pretty unexpected things!” Jane laughs. “I would say, when candidates come and present themselves as something that they’re not, it usually shows.
“I always advise candidates that it’s not just about the company interviewing you, it’s about you interviewing the company. Do some thinking about what you want and what you’re interested in, and do your research—understanding the company culture is going to be key.
“So too is having very strong personal branding. Everything, from how you present your resume, if that’s reflected on your LinkedIn profile, the way you answer emails, the way you present yourself in an interview, the way you follow up—all of that is linked back to your personal branding.”
In 2016, graduates from Hult International Business School accepted job offers at 825 companies in over 60 countries worldwide. L’Oréal is one of the school’s biggest graduate employers.
“For us, it’s extremely important to find talent who understand the complexity of working in a global environment,” Jane explains.
“You could be in charge of a brand here with points of sales in Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo, or Hawaii, where the consumer demographic can shift drastically. Depending on the point of sale, your marketing strategy is going to change.
“Even in JFK Airport, depending on the terminal and what kind of flights are coming through, you might have a strong influence of Asian travelers or a strong influence of Brazilian travelers influence—you need to build a business plan to address the needs of these very different consumers.
“Hult has been one of our strongest partners in terms of recruiting on campus,” she continues. “Particularly, because of the way Hult programs are set up and the international mindset and talent that the school attracts.”