For the full article in Japanese on nestbowl.com, please click here: https://nestbowl.com/journal/3220
LVMH is the world’s largest luxury group, comprising of more than 70 exceptional brands. A Student Ambassador and Community programme is being devised and implemented by a team of five elite students selected from a pool of 200 at a talent development event for students organised by LVMH Japan. We spoke to the five students to learn more about the programme, their objectives, and goals.
Profiles of the five winning team members:
Ryo (Ryo Senga)
A fourth-year student in Global Communications at Doshisha University. Fascinated by the creativity of luxury brands, he has studied luxury management at HEC Paris business school in France outside of his regular university studies. His hobbies include travel and photography.
Melody (Melody Law Qiu Yi)
Born in Malaysia. A third-year student at Meiji University School of Business Administration. She also works part-time in overseas customer support for a luxury goods shop and as an English tutor. She enjoys martial arts in her free time. She is a member of the aikido and kickboxing clubs at Meiji University and also trains in jiu-jitsu at the gym.
Airi (Airi Sotoku)
Currently studying Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. Based in the US, she has worked part-time in a school library and as an online English teacher for children in Japan. Her hobbies include surfing, tennis, strength training, and running.
Marii (Marii Komiya)
A fourth-year student at International Christian University. With a background in Biology and Information and Computer Science, she is currently working with Juntendo University to study sex differences in gene expression profiles in the brain. She also volunteers for The Salvation Army and works part-time as an English translator for various companies. Her hobbies include studying foreign languages (mainly Spanish and French), photography, and cooking.
Samantha (Samantha Averine Wutuh)
Born in Indonesia. After coming to Japan to learn a new language and study design, she is now a fourth-year student at Keio University’s Faculty of Environment and Information Studies. She is currently studying haptics as well as 3D printing and design, but is also interested in marketing and advertising. She likes to cook and make things in her free time.
—Can you give us an overview of the DARE LVMH event?
DARE LVMH is a talent development event that LVMH holds for employees of LVMH Group. DARE stands for ‘Disrupt, Act, Risk to be an Entrepreneur’. This embodies one of LVMH Group’s three core values: to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit. Event participants experiment with new ways of thinking and collaborating and explore entrepreneurial possibilities over the course of a few days. The theme changes each time, but it addresses all the priorities of LVMH Group from around the world— from gender equity to sustainable development—and DARE has been held in many different countries.
—So the event was originally aimed at working professionals in LVMH, but this time students were also invited to participate?
The event we participated in was organised by LVMH Japan based on the concept of ‘DARE LVMH’, and was primarily geared towards students. 200 students applied for the programme and 30 were selected to take part after a review of their CVs and video presentations. These 30 students were divided into random teams of 5 to create a marketing pitch, and the winning team was selected to implement their marketing strategy in a project as part of an internship.
—How many days was the event?
Just one day. Yuki Endo, Head of Digital at LVMH Japan, opened the morning with a special seminar on “How to attract young talent through marketing”, which was followed by the participants working in teams to create their marketing pitches. The competition was judged by a jury of LVMH Group executives, including Norbert Leuret (President of LVMH Japan) and Stephane Voyer (Senior Vice President of Human Resources at LVMH Japan).
—Could you tell us in more detail how the day proceeded?
Even though it was an all-day event, we only had about three hours to work as a team on our ideas and develop the proposal and presentation. Although we had never met each other before, my team members and I were able to work efficiently because each of us came with a sense of initiative and cooperation. At the same time, we got to know each other very well, and by the end of the event it was hard to say goodbye. However, as we were chosen as winners, I’m very happy I was able to move on to the next step with my great team. Our team won the competition with a plan for a Student Ambassador Programme, and event coordination of events and parties for students taking part in ‘INSIDE LVMH’. We are now working on the project.
—Tell us more about INSIDE LVMH.
INSIDE LVMH is an online platform offered by LVMH. With INSIDE LVMH, you can enter the world of LVMH and explore how the Maison are taking on challenges in the industry to build a better future, and you can start developing your own skills through learning from experts, reading career stories, and other tips to help set yourself up for success.
—How did the current project come about?
We wanted to find a way to increase awareness about INSIDE LVMH. Rather than a one-off event or a temporary method such as influencer marketing, we decided that we needed a plan that would contribute to the platform’s visibility on an ongoing basis. That’s when the idea of ‘word of mouth’ came to mind. We realised that word of mouth plays an important role in promotion, as it is a reliable and direct source of individual experience and information.
The actual communication takes place through a website aimed at students, but we felt that in the end it is the students’ word of mouth that plays a key role, which is why we decided to set up this ambassador programme. Not only that, but we have also made use of the business social media platform LinkedIn and created a LinkedIn group for students interested in working in the luxury industry. The group is open to all students, and those who join are the first to receive information about LVMH events and internship opportunities. This will result in a process where the first group of student ambassadors will propagate valuable information and promote INSIDE LVMH.
Melody Law Qiu Yi
—Are there any particular benefits to becoming an ambassador?
Yes. That’s also an important point. In the hope that it will encourage students to give it a try, we are offering a range of benefits to students who take part in the inaugural ambassador programme, including the possibility of being prioritised for an internship in LVMH Japn and invitations to exclusive ambassador events. The project was set up for the benefit of students, so we want to make sure that above all else we are making a positive difference to them.
—Could you tell us in detail about the project you’re working on?
Also, what kind of things can one learn by registering for INSIDE LVMH?
The cornerstone of the INSIDE LVMH platform is the Certificate Programme. The programme consists of four modules on the luxury industry and LVMH’s corporate structure, lasting eight weeks in total. Specifically, it includes discussions, opportunities to interact with LVMH Group experts, live events, as well as practical case studies and quizzes as practice for a final test. Students and young people from not only Japan, but all over the world, can access lectures given by world-renowned professors and people working at LVMH, all for free. They are all delivered in English, but we believe this also presents an opportunity for students and young people in Japan to gain interest in foreign cultures and languages, since they can participate in a high-quality overseas programme while being in Japan. I myself will be joining the programme this October, and I am particularly looking forward to learning about environmentalism and diversity in the fashion industry. Students may not be familiar with LVMH as a corporate entity, but they actively support students in their education so we hope to make their educational programmes known to more and more people.
—So the ambassador programme is an endeavour to make that more widely known to students?
Yes. We have recruited student ambassadors because there are limits to what the five of us could do on our own. Specifically, each university will have its own team of ambassadors working on a project to promote the appeal of LVMH and the benefits of INSIDE LVMH to a wider audience. We currently have numerous ambassadors across major universities in Japan.
—What steps have you taken since the project was launched?
The free certificate programme on the INSIDE LVMH platform is an English-only programme and very few students at Japanese universities have completed it. This is what led us to set up this project, with the objective of increasing participants.
First, we established the INSIDE LVMH Japan Student Ambassadors, which is limited to students attending Japanese universities who are active in the ambassador programme. Afterwards*, we formed a group called ‘INSIDE LVMH Japan Student Community’ to allow students from Japanese and overseas universities who were not able to participate in the ambassador programme to do so.
Through LinkedIn, the INSIDE LVMH Japan Student Community provides information about LVMH and the INSIDE LVMH platform, as well as information about internship opportunities at LVMH Japan. We believe that having a space to interact and collaborate with students from various countries is incredibly valuable amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and difficulty to study abroad.
The desire to manage this project on a global scale is also what led to the creation of the INSIDE LVMH Japan Student Community. We continue our work with the hope of leaving a legacy that will last long after our mission is over.
—Could you tell us about the next stage of this project?
What are you working on right now?
Now that the student ambassador programme is all planned out, we are at the stage where the ambassadors work in teams to produce their own marketing plans. The main promotion will be conducted through social media, but we are also planning a collaboration between LVMH and universities. We’ll be able to hear from LVMH managers how they are tackling issues in sustainability, luxury marketing, and diversity and inclusion. I’m really looking forward to that. There will also be a webinar with advice on job hunting, which should be very useful for students.
Samantha A. Wutuh
There is also a graduation ceremony planned for the certificate programme. We are all very much looking forward to this graduation ceremony as a chance to meet face to face after such a long period of working online only. Because of Covid-19, the number of attendees and other details are still being finalised, but we believe it will be a great opportunity to not only experience first-hand the world of luxury that LVMH represents, but also to network with ambassador teams, LVMH employees and executives, as well as our special guests. We also hope that this event will provide an opportunity for students who are just starting their careers to get more involved in the industry.
—Finally, we would like everyone to share what they liked about being part of this project and any final words for our readers.
Ryo: My personal interest in the luxury industry was the initial reason I participated, but the actual activities have broadened my horizons further. Also, it was a great privilege to be able to work on this project with this particular team.
Melody: I was surprised by how much we had to do, but exploring the professional world that is normally out of reach to students was a great experience. It’s an experience that I hope many others get to have for themselves.
Airi: Because of the pandemic, most of the communication with my teammates was done remotely, but we were still all on the same wavelength. It’s a great pleasure to have met such dependable teammates—also great friends—all thanks to a single event. This is an event where you can make some great connections!
Marii: Seeing our ideas take form has been an invaluable experience. It’s been a challenge to fit more into my busy university life, but I think that has helped me make better use of my time. You won’t find such a comprehensive programme for free anywhere else. Whether you’re interested in luxury or not, I hope others give it a try.
Samantha: The luxury industry has always been daunting to me, but being exposed to it first-hand through the INSIDE LVMH platform has transformed my thinking and opened the doors for my future career. I want to share the benefits of the INSIDE LVMH platform with many more people.
*About the INSIDE LVMH Japan Student Community
A community that uses LinkedIn to help even overseas university students learn more about the luxury industry, starting with INSIDE LVMH and the LVMH Group. The community provides information about LVMH and internship opportunities available at LVMH Japan.
Register for INSIDE LVMH here
Access the INSIDE LVMH Japan Student Community group here
INSIDE LVMH offers its own online course, the INSIDE LVMH Certificate Program, which is free for all registered students. The next registration session begins September 28th 2021 – 15th October 2021. The LVMH Certificate Program brings the knowledge and expertise of passionate experts and leaders from the LVMH Group and experienced professors from world-renowned schools (HEC Paris, Bocconi, LSE, CentraleSupélec, Institut Français de la Mode, Central Saint Martins, etc.) to students, providing the invaluable opportunity to be immersed in the world of LVMH and learn about the fundamentals of luxury.