Subject: MBA International Management
Place of Work: Jovial and Tigi
Position: Marketing Manager
Why did you apply for the MBA?
I established my own pet shops businesses before going to work for a Chinese IT company as a technician. My Bachelor degree was in Management of Information Systems, so I began my career in an IT focused role. However, I was much more interested in marketing so I started thinking about how I could break into that industry. This wasn’t easy, though, because my major was in an unrelated discipline. The MBA was really like a stepping stone, because it gave me the opportunity to break into a completely different industry to that in which I had previously been working.
Although I applied for several MBAs in the UK, I found that I liked the course at Royal Holloway the most. The course itself was great, but the location of the campus and its rich history really added to the whole study experience. I opted for the marketing profile on the MBA, choosing to specialise in courses like international marketing and market research; those parts of the course really help me a lot in what I’m doing now.
What was challenging about studying in the UK?
The MBA course is very intensive, and quite different to other Masters programmes. We were in a class of 70, with students from many different nationalities. It was a great learning environment, especially for group assignments, but you are aware of the competition, of the need to represent your country as well as yourself amongst this different company. I was not so hard working in China, but in the UK it was different! The whole experience was a financial and career investment.
What was your favourite aspect of the course?
The most impressive course for me was about strategy. Strategy is very important for any aspect of business; if your boss thinks that you have a good overall understanding of the direction of the business then it makes everything else much more straightforward. In my case, I will discuss the marketing strategy with my boss to understand the strategic moves we want to make in the company, before applying these objectives in a marketing plan.
Tell us about your current role.
I am the marketing manager for two brands: Jovial, a French brand and Tigi, a British American brand. All their research, development and production take place in Europe and America, so we import the product and deal with distribution. Most of our customers are salons, because we focus on promotion and distribution through the professional hair and beauty channels though some of our distribution is through national supermarkets as well. Recently, I have been moving into sales as a national account manager, which helps me to gain a better understanding of what the client wants, and so improves my knowledge of the markets.
What are the best parts of your job?
The most fascinating part for me is organising the national hair fashion shows, with one very high profile show per year and lots of smaller shows. We work with the hair and beauty stylists to decide the overall look for the show. We colour, perm, cut and style in preparation for the models walking the catwalk. I am responsible for every aspect of the show, from lighting to timings, customer care, and selecting the stylists with whom we want to work. It’s very intensive work, because you often have to work overnight to dress the room and get everything done before the show starts, but it’s great fun and all worth it to see the models walk.