Listen to this article
Lisa Siemers is a recent graduate from the masters in luxury management and marketing programme at EMLyon Business School in France, a programme taught on three campuses: Lyon, Geneva and Shanghai. She completed her internship in client and business development at Chanel in New York.
Ms Siemers grew up in Germany and has a general management degree from the European Business School International University Schloss Reichartshausen. She is now working as an intern at Cartier in Paris, in the retail performance and planning department.
1. Why did you choose to do a masters degree in luxury management and marketing?
During my undergraduate studies, I wrote a thesis on the significance of the retail environment within the luxury industry. This stoked my passion for the topic so I decided to obtain further academic expertise. The programme at EMLyon also gave me vital international exposure.
2. What academic achievement are you most proud of?
Although it is not an academic achievement per se, I am proud to have finished my masters studies at the age of 22.
3. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
I sometimes wish I could have learned earlier how important networking events are. Looking back, there have been a couple of workshops and seminars, for example that I missed out on. Although you might not immediately know what they are good for, any connection, whether private or business related, might be of use at sometime in the future. In the end, it is the people who keep you going.
4. Who is your ideal professor?
I would love to attend a lecture by Larry King. The fact he has been hosting a nightly interview TV programme on CNN for 25 years shows how rich his experiences and knowledge must be. He has met dozens of politicians, economists, businessmen, celebrities and athletes. I also like his direct, frank approach.
5. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?
I have mostly experienced female-dominated environments within my internships in the luxury industry. And they can be equally challenging. Nevertheless, I believe it is not about gender, but people skills in general. Speak up and make sure you get taken seriously. Let nothing hold you back.
6. What is the last book you read?
Deluxe: How Luxury lost its Lustre by Dana Thomas. It is an interesting and entertaining book, providing insights into the real world behind what appears to be a dazzling and glamorous industry.
7. Where would be your favourite place to study?
In an Asian destination, such as Shanghai, Hong Kong or Singapore. The semester I spent in Shanghai in 2010 was a fascinating experience. Besides the surrounding landscapes and culinary highlights, I was thrilled by the cultural diversity and dynamic lifestyle. It was a unique opportunity to learn about business peculiarities and consumer attitudes in emerging markets, while additionally meeting people from all over the world.
8. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?
Although he was not my teacher, the best advice and most inspiring speech I have ever heard was Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. Facing terminal cancer, he summed up his life’s wisdom and most valuable experiences. It was tremendously evocative and emotionally moving. It is well worth taking into account each and every single one of his statements - especially, his words on living your dreams, persistence and hard work.
9. What advice would you give to women in business education?
Turn any prejudice into your own advantage. It might seem like a cliché that women study luxury management or a contradiction to be passionate about mergers and acquisitions while simultaneously juggling a family. However, if you are self-confident and certain about your personal objectives, there is nothing that can hold you back. On the contrary, the more prejudices there are, the more room there is to prove that black is white.
10. What are your future plans?
In the near future, I will be finishing my internship with Cartier and am currently looking for a permanent position within the luxury industry. It is an exciting time interviewing across Europe and deciding where life will take me next.
Compiled by Charlotte Clarke