EDHEC Business Lunch Conference

Master of Science in Marketing Management

EDHEC Business Lunches

April 4, 2005

EDHEC Business School’s

EDHEC Business School’s Marketing department regularly organizes business lunches for its MSc students that allow them to meet well-established entrepreneurs and marketing professionals in person. Professor Laurent Georges, the coordinator of the MSc in Marketing Management programme, came up with this idea because he wanted to provide an opportunity for his students to get a real-life insight into the Marketing discipline in business. By inviting successful business people for lunch, students have the opportunity to ask questions and get a realistic picture of the marketing business field in an informal environment at the lunch table.

For the business lunch that took place in January, EDHEC students had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Rifat, a Californian business woman who has been nominated as the woman of the year by the Los Angeles Times. Rachel Rifat’s success story started immediately after finishing her degree in International Relations. Dissatisfied with the job offers after graduation, she decided to act upon her entrepreneurial spirit and to start her own business. Her business concept was born thanks to the sensitive stomach of her dog. One day, when she was eating a fortune cookie, her dog Miles gave her one of those pleading puppy looks in order to get a bite, but she knew that his sensitive stomach would not be able to handle such a treat. So, she set up Hollywood Dog Co which produces fortune cookies for dogs that tell dog-friendly fortunes such as good fortune comes to those who sit. Two years ago, she successfully sold her business, bringing her the fortune as had been predicted in that one particular fortune cookie that started off her business adventure.

Over lunch, Ms Rifat explained to the marketing students how she established her company, how she determined the pricing strategy and how she introduced such an original product to the consumers. Moreover, she emphasized the importance of being innovative and of not being afraid to try out new things. Ms Rifat’s success story was very inspirational, especially for the large number of female students in the MSc in Marketing Management.

February’s business lunch provided the MSc students with an insight into a typical French company, Molinard, one of the most famous perfume producers in France. Since many people see France as the perfume capital of the world, learning about this industry gives international students a better understanding of general French culture. The setting of the lunch was adapted to the company, as it took place in a room saturated with different scents and with a mesmerizing atmosphere of history and tradition of creating perfumes for over 150 years.

The presentation of Molinard provided the students with an insight into managing a family-run company as Stephen Liney, Molinard’s Sales and Marketing Director, openly shared the advantages and constraints resulting from the decision of the family to preserve the values of a small, family-run business. We are carrying over 150 years of history and presence in the market that big mass manufacturers cannot share, and we strive to maintain this invisible link with the past. During the business lunch, the students had the opportunity to learn about the marketing tools applied in this luxury industry. After listening to a short presentation of the company, students inundated Stephen Liney with questions about his experience of reaching out to niche clients in well-established markets as well as gaining market share in the new distant markets such as Russia and China.

Laurent Georges, the initiator of the EDHEC Business Lunches, comments that the discussions with marketing professionals are very educational and motivating for the students. A story such as Molinard’s allows them to take advantage of their study period in France by getting to know some of the cultural features of the country. Meeting influential business people personally also gives them the opportunity to position themselves better for their future career placements, which they can hopefully profit from after completing their studies.