Milan’s milestone in the journey towards a new dimension of luxury

An EMILUX module on SDA Bocconi’s campus


In the past, those who wanted to learn set out on a journey, travelling by land and sea, or in a library, among the books, in search of the new, the spark that lights wonder and the passion for knowledge. Today, we have boundless virtual access to everything and live with plurality. But the experience of meeting face to face, of personal relationships is still a value in terms of learning and personal growth. It teaches you to host plurality within yourself, to incorporate it and make it food for thought. SDA Bocconi’s EMILUX - Executive Master in Luxury Management students are experiencing this and are putting the knowledge and managerial tools acquired during the program to the test in the field. The program itself is designed and built to be experiential and plural.

EMILUX participants set out for a Grand Tour of luxury in Paris (where they were guests of Cartier, a partner of the Program), landed in Milan after Dubai, and will move on to London, Rome and Switzerland. The Milan module was “on the road”, travelling between SDA Bocconi’s campus, Milan’s Palazzo della Triennale, the wine producing region of Franciacorta and a stop in between in Emilia Romagna, to visit Ferrari and Lamborghini’s production lines, exploring their historical collection and test track, hosted by Head of Employer Branding Dennis de Munck, and Umberto Tossini, the Chief Human Resources Officer, respectively. The module closed with a trip on Lake Iseo aboard vintage Riva motorboats (at the invitation of a participant and her family, who specialize in their restoration). This plurality of locations matches the plurality of sectors, approaches and projects that EMILUX candidates are dealing with. Along with the plurality of people, of course.

An Executive Master’s program like EMILUX can leverage the multiple experiences gained by candidates who have an average of 12 years work experience, as well as the strengths of a faculty where participants are able to meet the authors of their university text books – one being the ever charismatic Robert Grant. For broadening the perspective, sessions with leading industry representatives as well as Bain & C. and BCG experts, points of reference to study the performance and trends of the luxury industry, were also planned on campus or during company visits.

On one hand, the partnership with Illycaffè allowed the students to delve into customer journey design through their Design Thinking projects, presented here in Milan. On the other, an abundance of speeches from leaders of the luxury industry, starting with the CEO of Bottega Veneta, Bartolomeo Rongone, who emphasized artistic creation to reinvent traditional craftsmanship and adapt it to our contemporary fluid style, which opens up room for new creative contributions capable of speaking to customers. Twinset’s CEO Alessandro Varisco explained the strategic design though which he revived the Moschino maison after the 2008 crisis, during his previous tenure. He then spoke of his current situation, sharing insights into the relationship between luxury brands and private equity.

The EMILUX module also hosted the CEOs of two other top luxury firms, Panerai and Cartier. They respectively focused on issues of total sustainability and business ethics. The latter confirmed to be a delicate and complex dimension, as by the recent issue of Russian-mined diamonds, recalled by Cartier’s President and CEO Cyrille Vigneron. Panerai, for its part, was mindful of its roots as a supplier to the Royal Navy and presented its new Ocean Literacy project, i.e., the training of students from a hundred universities around the world in the knowledge and active protection of the oceans. The project was explained to the EMILUX audience by Panerai’s CEO Jean-Marc Pontroue, along with the actions the company has undertaken to reduce its carbon footprint at various levels of the production and commercial supply chain. A new vision of luxury that not only creates value for workers, supply chain stakeholders and customers, but also for its direct commitment to the world we live in.

Italian luxury is not only fashion but also high-end watches, food & wine, yachts, and supercars, unique pieces customized down to the smallest detail, such as those presented at Lamborghini by CFO and Managing Director Paolo Poma. And cosmetics, such as those produced for professional use (luxury is not just retail) by B-corp Davines, which welcomed the EMILUX students to the broad spaces of its village on the outskirts of Parma –an immersion in nature, which provides most of the ingredients used in Davines’ production.

“At the end of this third leg of an intense journey, I can say,” EMILUX Director Gabriella Lojacono told us with some pride, “it has been extremely stimulating to see ‘our’ growing managers interact with the leaders of companies that sit in the Pantheon of luxury; and they did so in an absolutely open and dialoguing manner. It was great to share during course time but also on more informal occasions, at cocktails for example. And to see them together in the field, in companies. This is where insights emerge to take on new perspectives and do things differently, but also to confirm that you are going in the right direction.”

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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