By Caroline Barnhill
When Tia Taylor was searching for graduate programs, she wanted to find one that would build upon her bachelor’s degree in finance – but set her apart, as well. She found that the Global Luxury and Management (GLAM) program, a dual master’s degree program through the Poole College of Management and the Skema Business School, ticked all her boxes.
“I initially looked to do an MBA program, but my mentors noted that because MBA programs are so popular, it might be beneficial to look for opportunities that would make me stand out a bit more,” Taylor says. “They also encouraged me to pursue a program where I could gain unique experiences. When I looked into GLAM, it was exactly what I was looking for – a program offering unique experiences, an opportunity to stand out and three MBA classes as well.”
Taylor also recognized that entering the luxury industry would provide her with rare opportunities in the field of finance.
“I knew I wanted to work with money in some way – and realized that being in the luxury industry would change the scope of that. I also figured it would provide an opportunity to interact more with the product and the clients behind the numbers.”
But the GLAM program not only expanded her opportunities – it also opened her eyes to more of them.
“GLAM introduced me to areas of work that I didn’t know existed. On the luxury tour in NYC, we were able to visit different types of luxury companies,” she says. “Additionally, the ability to live in Antibes, France is what allowed me to discover the incredible yachting industry – because you don’t really get to see yachts in Raleigh.”
Now, Taylor works in yacht management and accounting for Y.CO in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. As part of the accounting team, Taylor works with owners, captains and crew on superyacht budgets, funding and payroll.
Looking back on her time at GLAM, Taylor notes that it provided her with the foundation she needed to excel in her career at Y.CO.
“The diversity in the program was a really beautiful experience – and it prepared me well for my current role, as I frequently work with different countries and cultures,” she says. “GLAM also shaped the way I think about how companies work and interact with clients.”
But the most formative part of the GLAM program, Taylor says, is the Luxury Industry Advisory Board.
“Board members Glenn Gonzales and Gaurav ‘G’ Patel both talked to our class and had a huge impact on me. They introduced new fields of luxury to consider working in – and also showed me it was possible to start your own luxury company.”
Since graduating from the GLAM program, Taylor has done just that. Through interactions with yacht crew, she recognized a need for financial education in the yachting industry – so she decided to meet it.
She started her own company, Luxury Learning, to educate yacht crew members about personal finance through dynamic workshops, team training and one-on-one assistance.
And it’s just the first step.
In the future, she hopes to not only educate yacht crew members, but youth as well. “It would be my dream to help a kid learn about finance and then see them become a yacht owner one day,” she says.
Looking back on her time at her time at GLAM, she recognizes how it not only set her up for a successful career – but also paved the path to where she is now.
“GLAM was such a beautiful part of my journey that changed the direction of my career and my life,” she says. “I’ve always had a passion for helping others with their finances, but never imagined I would start my own company. Getting to combine my passion for finance with yachting brings me so much joy.”