Emlyon MBA To Help China’s Luxury Fashion Startups Compete With The Big Brands Of Europe

Yan Dong aims to leverage her newfound knowledge of European Luxury markets in China.

The world of luxury is dominated by the big brands of Europe. Yet it’s consumers in China who are driving the industry, accounting for 31% of global luxury sales according to a Bain & Company report.

While the vast majority is spent overseas, Chinese luxury fashion brands are looking to capitalize on this trend, to change spending patterns and drive investment within China.

International MBA at Emlyon Business School

emlyon business school
Yan Dong, International MBA (2015-2016), Emlyon Business School

Yan Dong is an MBA graduate at France’s emlyon business school looking to help Chinese luxury fashion brands compete with the big boys of Europe. She wants to work in retail environment design to help improve consumer experience and increase awareness of Chinese brands worldwide.

Yan Dong has spent almost a decade working in all aspects of fashion and retail in China; marketing, project management, supply chain and operations. As a Chinese student in Europe, her MBA experience has opened up a whole new world of opportunities.

What are your career plans?

I want to work for large retailers and international corporations with operations in China. In the long term, I hope to use my expertise to work with up-and-coming Chinese brands to enhance their retail environment.

Increasing numbers of Chinese brands are aiming to establish themselves as premium or luxury brands and raise their brand awareness worldwide. And to achieve this objective, an attractive and comfortable retail environment is just as important as product innovation and quality.

This can mean an eye-catching window display, or a relaxing in-store environment with space, natural lighting and a pleasant aroma.

Can Chinese luxury fashion brands compete with the big brands of Europe?

As more and more foreign brands establish operations in China and bring new fashion trends, this, in turn, cultivates the domestic fashion industry in China. And with ever-improving creative designs and the right business management, Chinese brands have great potential.

Plus, many Chinese fashion designers – Uma Wang, Christine Lau, Masha Ma – have made their way to top fashion world. Showcased in fashion shows in Paris, London and Milan, their works integrate unique Chinese elements, helping the world to understand and accept Chinese fashion.

How is luxury marketing changing in the digital era?

Dramatically! Digital marketing creates greater competition, and requires companies, big or small, to be equally innovative to survive and prosper in the business world.

And big data gives businesses quick access to information about consumer behaviors and enables them to do a better job in managing customer experience. Soon, personalized marketing driven by big data will become the norm.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at emlyon business school?

To work or study in Europe is a dream I’ve had for a long time.

I also wanted to learn the skills required to become an international leader in fashion and retail. And when I was looking at MBA programs, I couldn’t decide between a general MBA and an MBA in luxury management.

emlyon business school offers both: it has general MBA courses and offers elective courses specialized in the luxury industry.

How have you adapted to life as a Chinese MBA student in Europe?

The majority of Chinese tend to avoid confrontation and are indirect when giving feedback. We don’t often express our ideas or stand up for the ideas we hold. In European culture it’s quite the opposite.

So, at the beginning, I found it challenging to adapt to a foreign education system and teaching methodology. But when I look back now, it’s been an incredible experience, opening up multiple possibilities for future career development.

What advice do you have for Chinese students looking to do the same?

Be yourself, don’t forget your roots and share your ideas and your culture. But, at the same time, be open-minded, learn the language and accept and adapt to the cultural differences.

How have you profited from your MBA experience so far?

Taking a MBA program in Europe is definitely a life experience worth having. It means not only career improvement, but also self-evolution.

And the international experience at emlyon business school is amazing; we have 24 different nationalities in a class of 43. It’s opened up a brand new world.

About Emlyon Business School 

Created in 1872 and based in Lyon, France, with multiple international campuses (including in Shanghai), emlyon business school is a European Business School devoted to lifelong learning for entrepreneurial and international management. The business school is ranked in the top 100 in the world for Global Employability (#2 business school in France, #64 in the world) by The Times Higher Education.

Emlyon business school’s mission is to develop ‘makers,’ agents of transformation with a flair for teamwork, who anticipate, link worlds, handle and cultivate ideas, and see things and take action before others. It holds triple accreditation (AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA) and offers a wide range of programs including an MSc in Management, Specialized Master’s degrees, MBA, PhD, as well as open and tailor-made executive programs.

Read more about emlyon business school or you can search for programs at emlyon.

Content crafter at China Admissions with nine years of professional writing experience. Fil-Chinese who honors my heritage every day. On a fascinating journey exploring China and tracing my ancestry. See China through my lens.
Christine Chiu

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