I’ve now mentioned on several occasions this A/B testing project that I have been working on. What I haven’t given much air time to is the MBA group project that we were also tasked with. In addition to our individual projects, the 6 MBA interns (all from different schools) worked collectively to answer the question: How does Sephora really win the love and wallets of women of color and of Millennials and Gen Z girls?
Collectively, we interviewed dozens of people at Sephora, across all functions from operations and logistics to PR, from merchandising to the Beauty Insider program. We learned about what Sephora has done in the past in these areas, what the challenges are, and then we brainstormed with them on opportunities ahead. What ended up being most interesting was that we probably got a more cross-functional perspective on the issues and challenges than any of the individual departments: when a company is growing as quickly as Sephora is, it can be hard to keep the channels of communication open, and open frequently.
I won’t give the secrets away, but safe to say that the presentation was very well received by our cross functional audience and I am hopeful that we will see some exciting changes and innovation for this client in the coming year(s)!
After the group presentation, we had a lunch with David Suliteanu, Sephora Americas CEO and other members of the Sephora education team. I continue to be impressed by the extent to which we are asked to reflect on Sephora, on our internships and to provide honest feedback and suggestions. Sephora, and luxury goods in general are not areas where we will see the demand for MBAs in droves, nor is there necessarily that need. However, other MBAs (especially HBS alum!) have paved a solid road ahead at Sephora and it’s great to be a part of that effort. We won’t see the kind of structured recruiting that you’d expect from finance, consulting and other large CPG player, but certainly don’t count it out.
– Emily Wang, MBA 2014