The Finer Things: Learning from Luxury Professionals

The elegant Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State was the site of a luxury networking and educational event held recently by NC State’s Global Luxury and Management (GLAM) program, the only full-time luxury master’s program in the Americas and the only dual degree French-American luxury graduate program in the world.

Surrounded by stunning pieces of art reflective of the luxury industry, prospective students mingled with current GLAM students and alumni of the program to learn about the program from director Kristie McGowan, PhD. Attendees had the opportunity to learn and practice luxury networking skills shared by keynote speaker Marie-Claire Ribeill, executive director of the French American Chamber of Commerce for the Carolinas.

“Being here in this luxurious environment gives you a taste of what the GLAM program is about,” said McGowan. “We prepare you for the business of luxury, whether your interests are in luxury fashion, transportation—from cars to yachts and private planes—or the experiential sector, such as hospitality or wealth management.”  

Attendees learned about the incredible opportunities GLAM students experience including: tours to New York City during which they meet with leaders of the luxury industry; a semester studying in Paris, one of the luxury capitals of the world; and the ability to earn two graduate degrees in just one year, including a Master of Management with a concentration in Global Luxury from NC State and a Master of Science in Global Luxury Management from  France’s SKEMA Business School.

“GLAM is proud to host events like the luxury networking night to give prospective students first-hand insight into the luxury industry,” said Kathleen Black, GLAM program assistant director. “Throughout the year, we provide prospective students with insight into the program through information sessions, webinars, panels, and luxury classes. This event, which was a culmination of our recruitment events, provided prospective students a taste of what it is like to network in luxury and to be in this one-of-a-kind program.

Ribeill brought a French perspective to the evening, offering her insights into the world of luxury and tips on how to network in a luxury setting. “With everything in luxury, you have extreme quality and need to go above and beyond,” she said, “The same is true when you’re at an event like this.”

She helped attendees understand how to make themselves stand out in a crowd. “Show elegance and poise in all that you do,” said Ribeill. “At an event like this, enter the room and pause, scanning the crowd, before you make your way in.” Her advice ranged from reading ahead of time about those in attendance, to being sure to greet the host before anyone else, and wearing your nametag on the right side of your clothing so when people shake your hand, they can easily see your name.

“Everyone at a networking event is there to meet people,” she said. “So go for what you want; when there is a lull in the conversation, reach out and introduce yourself – be brave!” She also advised the attendees to listen.  “Be interested in who you’re talking to,” she said. “Soft skills, such as listening and interacting well, are so important in the world of luxury.”

Prospective students appreciated the knowledge they gained from the event. “I have learned that you can leave no detail unattended in preparing for success in the luxury industry,” said one attendee. Another woman commented, “I gained insights into the uniqueness of the luxury industry and how I will need to tailoring my actions and responses to each situation.”

GLAM student Sarah Nesbit is grateful for the opportunities she is getting from the program. “The GLAM program is grooming me to be the best that I can be,” she said. “I am grateful for an education that allows me to be business savvy while using creative flair. The skills I’m learning help me to not be afraid to go into unknown worlds in the luxury sector.”

Nesbit says that GLAM students, who gain hands-on learning experiences in the world of luxury and earn two degrees, are “rare and sought after by different companies.”

Her classmate Alpha Ba, who is originally from Paris, agrees. “This is one of the best programs I have ever seen,” he says. “We get the traditional French views about luxury while also regularly learning from professionals in the luxury industry.”  Ba appreciates the opportunity to be immersed in both the traditional French views about luxury and the modern American take on it. And with regular opportunities to learn first-hand from leaders currently working in the luxury industry, Ba and his classmates gain real-world experience that benefits them in their career search.

That experience benefited Suzanne Phillips ‘17, who started a job in marketing at Cisco soon after graduating. “In the GLAM program, we receive both a unique education about the luxury industry and also a first-class  business education where you learn how to always have the highest quality service with the customer in mind,” she says. “I think that’s really important and can transition to any kind of business you enter.”

Phillips, Ba and Nesbit concur  that another value of the program is the diversity of their classmates, with students from throughout the world. “Nowadays every company has to deal with multicultural workforces,” says Ba. “GLAM helps us understand how to work in a multicultural environment.”

McGowan and Ribeill agreed that NC State is a sleeping giant with unexpected resources and innovation and the GLAM program is a unique gem.

The Global Luxury and Management program is accepting applications for the fall 2019 semester. Learn more today.