Luxury industry is engaging increasingly with the universities to tap the talent. Columbia University has been proactive in the matter and has provided the platform in the form of Luxury Education Foundation with a focus on student in Design and Business related to the creation and marketing of luxury goods. The foundation facilitates the interaction of students with senior executives in leading luxury firms to get the real feel of the industry and understand and appreciate its unique properties. Luxury Education Foundation is a public not-for-profit organization and was established in December 2004. It is a unique concept and brings together Columbia’s MBA students and the undergraduate students from Parsons New School for Design. This combination of business and creative skills is a heady mix that ensures the success of this program.
Students Work Directly With Executive Staff of Luxury Brands
Apart from the integration of students from completely different academic streams, the program connects the students directly with the luxury business. Almost 30 luxury brands who have a global presence participate in this program. Under their main program, Master Class, a group of eight students, four from each school, are given a real problem from one of the brands. The students work directly with the executive staff of the brand during the semester and make a presentation detailing the solution to the problem. The last presentation was held in December 2012 and the students presented solutions to problems posed by Hermès, Van Cleef & Arpels, Pomellato, Loro Piana and Chanel.
Maisonrouge is the Driving Force Behind the Innovative Program
The driving force behind LEF and its programs is Maisonrouge. The French woman has not only designed the courses but is in regular touch with the students and the luxury brands. He encourages the CEOs to work seriously on this program as they can gain a lot from it. Her counterpart at Parsons, Jessica Corr is a product design consultant and is new to the program but very supportive as she believes that it is a win-win situation for both students as well as the brands. The students get to work on real problems and the luxury brands get the benefit of ideas generated by young minds. It gives them a better understanding of what young consumer expect from a luxury brand.