Tête-à-Tête with Luxury Guru – Abhay Gupta

While our quest for exploring the challenges and opportunities in the luxury industry was just beginning. We met with Mr. Abhay Gupta founder and CEO of Luxury Connect Business School (LCBS) who has recently tied up with International University of Monaco to formulate a unique course for aspiring students who wish to dive into the Luxury segment. Find out more as FMW zooms in all the essential aspects in a candid conversation with Abhay to understand the benefits of this collaboration.

Mr. Abhay Gupta founder and CEO LCBS

FMW: While in India the number of institutes offering courses in Luxury retail is marginal, how did the inception of LCBS happen?
Abhay: My whole idea of ‘LUXURY CONNECT’ as an entrepreneurial venture revolved & focused around the key challenges faced by the luxury industry in India. With over 20+ years in the luxury trade, I not only understand the constraints, challenges and the mindset of the people involved, but also know what could set them right. Lack of trained talent is perhaps one of the biggest challenges being faced by this fast growing industry. With the myriad of several new brands entering the Indian Market the demand for the right manpower has only ever risen. With other fashion schools trying to offer luxury management programs, it only made sense for me to try create India’s first and only ‘Luxury B school’: Luxury Connect Business School (LCBS)

FMW: Why is LCBS affiliated to the International University of Monaco? What are the advantages?
Abhay: The International University of Monaco, is located in Monte Carlo, amongst the French Riviera, which is often known as the epitome of Luxury. Studying at a place, which breathes luxury, can be an astounding experience for any student/delegate! Securing an educational qualification from one of the birth places of the Luxury not only will prove beneficial but also will promise the best available quality. IUM and LCBS share a common vision of ensuring that one develops both their visionary and strategic thinking skills for the luxury market.

FMW: What does the Executive Diploma in Luxury Management target to teach? How can it improvise a working professional’s knowledge and skills further?
Abhay: The Executive Diploma in Luxury Management targets to provide the perfect luxury knowledge to an individual who wishes to graduate into luxury from his or her current industry. Additionally it looks to provide a well-rounded view of the luxury industry to executives who are already in the industry so that they can prepare themselves for their next career growth. EDLM’s case studies and a unique delivery module from industry experts coupled with the 2-week duration at IUM accentuates the learning of an executive greatly.

FMW: Does LCBS offer options to specialize in a particular area?
Abhay: Yes, in our PGDLM, a student can specialize in either of the three:
Goods and Services: introduces students to the operational, financial, marketing and product issues, while providing an insight into the wider traits of the Industry.
Retail Management: Specifically for students to learn the complexity of the inter-relationship between all business functions with a retail environment.
Hospitality and Events Management: It is designed to answer specific needs, which are the ultimate expression of personalized service and intimate elegance.

FMW: How is a Post Graduate course in Luxury Management different from a regular MBA in retail management?
Abhay: The difference is the same as a difference between Levis and an Armani!
Luxury is a Niche area, and while it can be somewhat related to a retail industry, it exactly does not fit in to the retail industry. The MBA in retail management will be much focused on the management of a retail store. The graduate may possess knowledge set to run a store but would he be able to run a Luxury retail store? Would he be capable of organizing a luxury conference?
On the other hand someone who pursues our PGDLM course will come out capable of doing everything that a regular MBA in retail management would be able to do. Managing a luxury brand requires a lot more than just managing a ‘retail store’. Hence the need to understand ‘how do you manage a brand’ rather than just a ‘store’ is the key differential focus at LCBS.
FMW: Today, learners are looking for more than just classroom knowledge. How does LCBS provide its students the necessary practical exposure?
Abhay: Exactly! LCBS realizes that fact very well. Our foundation USP is that we are industry people going into education! At LCBS, our faculty is industry experts! Our whole USP revolves around ‘Conceived, designed, & delivered’ by the industry. We also have international faculty such as Jean Claude Roustant, the ex-retail training director at LVMH and other global faculty also travelling to India as guest lecturers. Hence exposing students to both an Indian as well as a Global approach to Luxury! Whatever learning is imparted inside a classroom are coming from years of experience in the trade! Apart from that we have rigorous case studies and assignments that encourage students to venture various things apart from books. 30% of student’s time is spent on IUM campus, which acts as Cherry on Cake in terms of exposure to the outside world.

FMW: What will be the ideal strength of a batch? Will students get personal attention?
Abhay: The ideal strength of the batch is not more than 15 students. The small batches at LCBS will ensure specialized personal attention to each and every student who enrolls with us. Even further our placement cell will work with students from day 1 to understand their needs and provide all career related guidance on a one-to-one basis.

FMW: Why is it that so many people are trying to break into the luxury industry? Will a specialized course from LCBS give them an upper hand over others?
Abhay: India now boasts of a youth that is smart, educated and is well informed! With the world reeling the effects of an economic slowdown, the well aware Indians understand the growth opportunities in this niche industry. Famous Luxury Brands are all looking to enter India directly once GOI’s FDI norms allow them to. Post that, there is going to be massive opportunities for people in India. Giving due importance to the future of this industry, a lot of people are now trying to break in this specialized industry to be considered superior in the trade!

Yes definitely a course from LCBS will give an upper hand to all the students. Firstly, there is no other institute in India offering such a specialized course, and secondly a joint certification in collaboration with International University of Monaco will give the students exposure to both Asian and European Markets giving them an upper hand as compared to any of their peers.

Also Read:

Challenge in Working for a Luxury Brand in India

Growth and Opportunities in Indian Luxury Segment

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