As a product manager for a high-end luxury aesthetics company, a typical month for Allison Calder finds her making stops in Miami, New York City or Las Vegas, popping on calls with her public relations agency, contacting doctors for marketing materials support, and more. A self-described achiever, she finds her drive matches the fast-paced nature of her industry.
That drive is also what brought Calder to NC State’s Poole College of Management (PCOM). After graduating from the College of Charleston and a brief stint in luxury property management, she met Brian Newton, director of PCOM’s Career Center, who mentioned the college’s Global Luxury and Management (GLAM) graduate degree program.
“I always knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but I didn’t think an MBA was my next step. When I learned about the GLAM program, I knew I wanted to apply,” Calder says. “It fit exactly what I wanted to do, which at the time was luxury real estate or property management. So the idea of two master’s degrees and getting to study in France? It was a no-brainer for me.”
As part of the GLAM program, students study three sectors of the luxury market – personal luxury, experiential luxury and luxury transportation. To Calder, the aesthetic industry stuck out to her as one that overlaid all three areas. After graduation, she spent a few years working on over-the-counter and injectable products targeting a key market she refers to as “the reclaimers.” In 2019, she carried that knowledge to support the sales and marketing efforts of Solta Medical’s brand portfolio, which offers a range of aesthetic solutions tailored to improving skin health, skin resurfacing and rejuvenation, body contouring and tightening.
“I love being able to help people regain their confidence,” Calder says. “My target demographic is mothers age 35 and into their 50s with a high net worth. They have spent years focusing on their children and now want to do something to feel better about themselves.”
And Calder, who decided to also add that third graduate degree by enrolling in the Jenkins MBA program, points to her time at PCOM in helping her succeed in this industry.
“I truly could not communicate with my consumers and doctors without the information I learned during my time at Poole,” she says. “I work with high net worth individuals on a regular basis. The GLAM and MBA programs helped me know how to find my target market, connect with them through inspiration messaging and then, ultimately, convert them into customers.”
Bill Humphries says GLAM graduates like Calder stand out in the industry. He is president of Ortho Dermatologics and company group chairman; Solta is the medical aesthetic business in this group. Humphries, chair of the GLAM Industry Advisory Board, has seen the program grow and develop – having served on the board since 2014.
“GLAM graduates leave with presentation, leadership and critical thinking skills, along with the ability to work and achieve in teams, a global perspective and drive to contribute,” Humphries explains.
From the Links to Luxury
Jackie Wallace had an interesting path that led her to the world of luxury and management. A competitive golfer growing up, she originally thought about getting an undergraduate degree in professional golf management (PGM). Instead, as part of an informational summer camp for NC State’s PGM program, she went on a site visit to luxury apparel brand Peter Millar.
“After that visit, I was excited about the idea of working in product development,” says Wallace, who graduated from the GLAM program in December 2019. She applied and was accepted to the undergraduate program at NC State’s College of Textiles, where her interest in product development – especially with luxury brands – grew. Wallace gained valuable real-world experience through internships at NYC-based luxury PR firm BPCM, luxury candle company Diptyque, beauty subscription company Birchbox and Raleigh-based cosmetic company Beauty Ethics.
In 2018, Wallace enrolled in the GLAM program excited about the opportunity to combine her interests in luxury products, particularly cosmetics, with her interest in consumer purchasing decisions and research.
“GLAM is a great program that focuses on an important industry,” Wallace says. “The luxury market affects the entire consumer goods industry, and I did my thesis on creating a new-age Myers-Briggs-like personality test for millennial shoppers. I used what I learned in the classroom to see how to create marketing materials that appeal toward their shopping behaviors.”
After graduating, Wallace joined fellow GLAM graduate Calder at Solta Medical, where she currently works as a marketing coordinator, with a goal to move into product development and research and development to apply even more of the knowledge she gleaned through the GLAM program.
“I’ve had the opportunity to hire many GLAM graduates – including Allison and Jackie – at two different organizations. As an employer, I have found the dual degree, communication skills, global perspective and limitless drive to be key common attributes in all the students we’ve hired,” Humphries says. “The individuals who have joined from the NC State GLAM program have been extremely mature and integrated quickly into the organization, immediately adding value on day one.”
The NC State Global Luxury and Management graduate program is in partnership with SKEMA Business School in Paris, France. The dual master’s degree program is uniquely positioned to prepare students for successful global careers in the premium and luxury industries. Students earn a Master of Management with a concentration in Global Luxury from NC State University in Raleigh, N.C., and a Master of Science in Global Luxury Management from SKEMA Business School in Paris, France.