The luxury industry is increasingly competitive and globalized. Showing enormous potential, the luxury market reached an estimated € 1.3 trillion in 2019 (Bain & Company, 2020). Luxury abides by its own rules, requiring a unique approach to brand management and marketing, and attracts creatives and executives alike.
Appealing to the needs of those who want to learn the fundamentals of luxury and thrive in this dynamic industry, Munich Business School offers “Luxury Management” as one of seven business concentrations for students of the Master program in International Business.
In the first semester, students of the module “Luxury Markets and Strategies” have the opportunity to learn about the basics of luxury, luxury markets, consumers and conglomerates, its marketing mix and strategic management decision-making. In the second semester, the module “Luxury Marketing and Brand Management” provides insights on luxury branding, distribution, the creative minds of luxury, communication and luxury of the future.
For those that pursue Luxury Marketing and Brand Management in the second semester, one of the most exciting experiences is the opportunity to participate in The Mark Challenge. Powered by the International University of Monaco (IUM) since 2014, The Mark Challenge is a luxury business plan competition targeting primarily students and alumni of universities and business schools.
Every year, The Mark Challenge seeks the best innovative business ideas in the field of premium or luxury goods and services. Demonstrating IUM’s commitment to shape the future of luxury, participating business ideas should showcase positive environmental and social impact as well as have a global reach.
Students of “Luxury Management” at MBS were encouraged by the lecturer and module leader, Julia Riedmeier, to develop a business idea during the semester. The Mark Challenge provides an excellent opportunity to apply knowledge obtained in the classroom, and is a superb way to challenge a business concept and meet excellent professionals and students in the field of luxury from all over the globe.
During the first weeks of the semester, the teams were inspired to ideate and develop a business idea that fulfilled all criteria of The Mark Challenge – innovation, impact and internationality. To prepare the deliverables for the semi-finals (a presentation, executive summary and a 1-minute video), in-class workshops served as an opportunity to work on the business ideas and challenge their validity as a classroom activity.
The 2020 edition of The Mark Challenge had 129 participating teams from 69 universities and business schools. These business ideas were evaluated by a jury team composed of academics and professionals in the field of luxury. By April, 17 teams for category 1 (Bachelor and Master students) and 15 teams for category 2 (MBA, professionals and alumni) were invited to the next stage of the challenge.
For the final stage, all semi-finalist teams had to deliver a 10-page business plan by May. Just as in the previous stage, Munich Business School students counted with the support of the Julia Riedmeier and guest lecturer Petra-Anna Herhoffer to elevate their business idea and create a solid, sustainable business plan that suits the needs and demands of premium and luxury consumers.
As evidence of the success of the luxury concentration lectured at Munich Business School, two teams, BC:CB LUX and ReBorn, qualified for the finale of The Mark Challenge 2020. Also, ReBorn additionally qualified as a finalist of The Special Award in Fashion.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grand finale of The Mark Challenge 2020 was exceptionally held online rather than in Monaco. As finalists of category 1, the Munich Business School teams had the possibility to pitch their business idea to jurors with an outstanding professional path in the field of luxury. The event was viewed by a sizeable audience of luxury students, professionals and enthusiasts as well as family and friends.
For the first time, Munich Business School students were awarded in category 1 of The Mark Challenge. Catarina Capelo Moreira and Bernhard Franz from BC:CB LUX won the Award for Best Business Plan with their product KOSHA. The business idea aims to bring sustainability and purpose to face sheet masks without compromising quality and experience. Currently, the business concept is being further refined with the help of the generous sponsors of The Mark Challenge 2020 – Relevance, Neos Chronos and Networking for Leaders.
Just as art, luxury evolves with the times and is now undergoing major transformations as result of societal, technological and environmental changes. As a steadily growing evolutionary stage of luxury, NEO luxury, a concept emphasized at Munich Business School, is driven by purpose, sustainability and digitalization, among other trends.
COVID-19 has accelerated demand for luxury that goes beyond conspicuous displays of wealth. The Mark Challenge will continue to capture this momentum, for which all Luxury Management students are kindly encouraged to join next year’s competition and contribute to better luxury.