Brand Management - Utilizing the First Mover Advantage
\"The luxury market is recession proof. Because, the rich do not stop spending,\" says luxury industry guru, Abhay Gupta, who recently founded Luxury Connect Business School (LCBS) that prepares aspiring students and working professionals to serve the luxury market through unique industry integrated programs. The significance of educational establishments like LCBS is evident from the gigantic growth of Indian Luxury Market. According to market predictions, the luxury market, which has been growing at over 20 percent since the last 10 years, would quadruple by 2025 and India would be the fifth largest consumer market by then. However, the real challenge of this explosive growth remains largely neglected ï¿½ a chronic shortage of trained human resource. A survey from National Skill Development Corporations forecasts a need of 1.76 million people to handle luxury brand and services in India, a little over five percent of the total retail human resource requirement.
With over 25 years of experience in the luxury industry, Gupta says, \"The luxury market in India has been growing at a steady pace with increasing number of international luxury brands entering India since the liberalization of economy in 1991. Though India established few institutes that cater to the fashion industry, we have not awoken to the fact that luxury in India is growing at an unstoppable pace and we need trained workforce to support this industry.\" Gupta has been amongst the first few to identify this surging task and has set upï¿½India\'s firstï¿½and only luxury B-School with the target to secure the luxury segment by offering specialized luxury education and re-skilling programs via executive as well as student education tracks.
Though LCBS is a new addition to the luxury education sector, Gupta has been training working professionals in the luxury space since 2011. Under the venture Luxury Connect that has various arms such as consultancy& advisory services, sourcing & procurement services ; training & skill enhancement, Gupta and his team have already trained over 900 executives in the luxury brand management sector through tailor made short term and weekend programs. \"While helping many international brands get established in India, we found talent shortage as one of the major concern. Despite the prevalence of well established brands in India, top brands are still reluctant to come here due to the unavailability of Industry experienced professionals or consultancies whom they can handhold to launch their products profitably,\" says Gupta. Bearing that in mind, LCBS today provides a wide range of specialized programs from their Gurgoan campus.
With a framework for understanding the essential ingredients of effective marketing of luxury brands and services, programs such as Post Graduate Diploma in\' Luxury Brand Management\', \'Luxury Retail Management\' and \'Fashion and Lifestyle Retail Management\' help students to understand the demands and challenges for those seeking to become marketers in this sector of the economy. \"To say we want to start India\'s first luxury business school is very easy. However, to give the curriculum a shape and take it forward as an implementable project is a tough job,\" says Gupta. The institute\'s curriculum is a blend of global best practices and Indian luxury landscape awareness, which has been developed by collaborating with world renowned schools such as Sda Bocconi, International University of Monaco and Jean Claude Roustant.
Despite possessing a strong faculty team, which is an equal mix of foreign and Indian luxury experts, the institute\'s collaborations with University of Monaco has enabled a platform for student and faculty exchange programs. \"Our flagship program, Post Graduate Diploma in Luxury Brand Management, is a 16 month program in association with University of Monaco where students can study in our campus for 7 months and three months in Monaco. The students will benefit from local experiences coupled with the right amount of international exposure,\" explains Gupta. To further aid industry collaborative academic practices, LCBS offers a unique initiative called \'Industry Connect\' wherein students get the possibility of interacting with various industry professionals in an informal manner. Ranging from CEOs, country heads and downwards, these industry professionals carry a rich and wholesome real time experience in various sectors of the luxury trade.
Beingï¿½India\'s first luxury B-School, which is already equipped with International standards of education, global tie-ups and well-experiencedï¿½professors, Gupta is confident about the career opportunities for his students. He says, \"Our programs are multi directional to grab the wide range of opportunities available for his students in the luxury market. In today\'s industry standards, our students can expect an average salary of more than Rs. 5 lakhs per annum in the entry level, which is more than a fresh MBA graduate gets here in India. In addition to that, they can also expect a quick growth in their career ladder due to the unavailability of talent in this sector today.\" As the old adage goes, \"the early bird gets the worm,\" LCBS is enjoying the first mover advantage today, with no major players in the market to compete with them. However, the institute has a well crafted roadmap for introducing more innovative programs that can fill the skill gap that has been challenging the growth of luxury market in India. India needs many more such educational establishments to move in the path that has been already laid by LCBS.
Abhay Gupta, Founder & CEO
Gupta has been involved in the evolution of the fashion and luxury segment in India right from manufacturing, joint venture factory set-up and franchising in the country. Blackbook, a luxury publication has recognized him as one of the \'Top 100 Indian Luxury\'s Most Influential 2013\' & \'2014\'. He is also a recipient of the prestigious \'Luxury Retail Icon 2012\' title by Asia Retail Congress.