We caught up with Simon Joseph, one of the first to sign up for our Executive Master’s in Luxury Management and Guest Experience, together with new intake Vanessa Kendrick, who gave us their differing perspectives on what the program means for them.
Integral to the Executive Master’s curriculum are the Residential Weeks, the first of which enables students to experience life on Glion campus and meet faculty and colleagues. The recent one for the second batch of Luxury Management and Guest Experience students gave us the ideal opportunity to catch up with new intake Vanessa Kendrick and Simon Joseph, who is nearing the end of the program and came to campus as an ‘alumni guest’.
We spoke to both about why they chose the Executive Master’s program at Glion and what they hope to get out of it.
Though at different stages of their Executive Master’s journey, Simon and Vanessa are united in their enthusiasm for lifelong learning and were both seeking a way of transitioning into the luxury industry.
Why the Executive Master’s?
“Education is essential in changing your mindset and exploring something new,” says Vanessa, who is looking for a change of course after a successful 19-year career in FMCG and innovation. “And I think investing in yourself is really important. For me, it’s about pivoting my experience and moving into the luxury industry. I’m treating Glion a little bit like a Swiss finishing school, where I’ll gain more credibility and a deeper understanding of how the luxury industry works.”
“Education is essential in changing your mindset and exploring something new, and I think investing in yourself is really important. For me, it’s about pivoting my experience and moving into the luxury industry. I’m treating Glion a little bit like a Swiss finishing school, where I’ll gain more credibility and a deeper understanding of how the luxury industry works.”
Having always imagined himself leading an aspirational brand, Strategic Consultant and Brand Developer Simon believed this luxury-focused Executive Masters would enable him to pursue his dreams.
“For me, it’s been an unbelievable journey,” he says. “I wanted to make the transition out of consumer goods into the luxury industry and for that I needed to build my skill set and gain a better understanding of it, focusing wholeheartedly on luxury and guest experience. I’ve always been a firm believer that people should never stop learning, whether through formal education, on the job or by being receptive to life experiences.
“With this Master’s I feel I have totally accomplished what I set out to do. In particular, I’ve found it of immense value being exposed to the wisdom and experience of lecturers who have been in the industry for many years as business leaders, consultants and academics. It’s been an incredibly enriching experience.”
Watch the video interview with Simon and Vanessa here:
A doubly impressive program
Although she has only just started her learning journey, Vanessa is already impressed with the Executive Master’s program and is relishing the opportunity to learn from peers and professors alike.
“I had been a little anxious about returning to learning and being in this kind of environment,” she says. “But everybody’s been really friendly, we all want to learn from each other and have been avidly sharing our personal and work experiences. The teachers have been incredible too. They have so much energy, are more than happy to give you the benefit of their experience and illustrate what they teach with genuine real-life examples.”
For Simon, that combination of academic and real-world learning has been a particular highlight.
“During our Residential Week in London, we managed to meet the CEO of Harrods, which was a fantastic experience because we got the opportunity to ask a lot of questions,” he says.
“Exposure to such genuine leaders – we also met the CEO of Clinique La Prairie and the Director of Brown’s Hotel in London – alongside the expertise of our faculty has been instrumental in showing us how to take what we have learned in academia and apply it in the real world. Effectively, we’ve immersed ourselves in the curriculum theoretically and practically, which has been wonderful.”
An invaluable network
It’s not just the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry luminaries that has enthused Simon about the program – he’s equally excited at the prospect of tapping in to the thriving, far-reaching alumni network he is soon to join officially.
“There are 10 of us on the program this year and we’re all super close,” he says. “We’ve set up a WhatsApp group and are already planning a reunion skiing trip next year. The thing about studying with other people is you never know where they are going to end up, so sticking together is super important.
“The entire point of it is to create a network and see how it can help. That’s the power of alumni: putting Glion people, who we know are extremely well educated and will be able to deliver fantastic work, in good positions around the world.”
Although she still has some way to go before becoming a graduate alumna, Vanessa already has an appreciation of the potential the Glion Alumni network offers.
“Just from walking around the site and seeing the people here, I think the alumni network is going to be a really varied community,” she says. “And with that, I think there will be great opportunities, not only for learning but also from a career point of view as well.”
Unleash your luxury leadership potential
Featuring four leadership-focused, 12-week distance learning modules and a real-world Business Research Project, the Executive Master’s in Luxury Management and Guest Experience is a flexible, part-time degree specifically designed for people looking to level-up or change careers.