MBA Connect Story: Kent Chan
Kent Chan (Part-time Class of 2011)
Customer Care Manager, GUCCI
“To be successful in the industry, it is important to be very sensitive to the market, which is evolving very fast, and understand customers, who are expecting more service, better quality and being respected. Every position in the industry must be hands-on, hospitable and professional,” says Kent, while being asked to describe the Glamorous Industry and to give advice to those who are thinking about entering someday. In this issue, the gentleman will talk about himself before and after an MBA, to introduce the greatest influence that MBA has brought to him, and also to analyze the luxury market from his insider perspective.
Could you briefly talk about yourself before joining CUHK? What motivated you to pursue an MBA degree?
My career started from an auction house followed by entering luxury brand. It is a niche and expanding market yet I had the opportunity to meet a lot of sophisticated clients who have very high expectations in terms of customer service and hospitality. My science graduated background allows me to be a person with logical thinking but I realized that it is important to be familiar with business management and financial figures in order to pursue further to lead and excel the development of my professional area.
What is the greatest influence that MBA has brought to you, both in terms of career progress and personal life?
Ownership and entrepreneurship sprits which I learnt from MBA program increased my awareness of sense of belongings to think for the good of the company on top of personal agenda.
The greatest influence that MBA has brought to me is the friends and networks I gained from inside and outside the classrooms. It gave me a great opportunity to meet people from different background, expertise and levels in the business world – inspiring me to think broadly, openly and from different angles. It is the most invaluable asset to my good self and allow me to be a more mature and wise person.
Among all the MBA courses, which one was especially useful to you according to your own job?
Business Negotiation. This is an interesting topic and it is indeed useful whatever job nature you are in. Whenever you need to work with stakeholders within the company or external parties, or even with your client, it is essential to be professional and proficient in negotiation process and decision making. Among the class with classmates from different backgrounds and experience, it is full of fun and delights to learn from each other.
How would you measure the value of network especially inside the MBA community?
The network is invaluable and yet it is an important asset for one’s long term success. The MBA community in CUHK is so huge and diverse which allows me to gain a lot of friendship and network. You never know when your network would be helpful for your work or career but it is vital to have it before you need it.
What is the job nature of “Customer Care Manager” especially in Luxury industry? What are the most exciting and challenging elements of your role?
Working in this customer care is a complex mixture conforming internally and externally. On one hand, we are the central contact point for handling customers’ enquiries and feedbacks in fulfilling their needs. On the other hand, we are the agent to ensure our product quality standard meets the expectations of the brand as well as consumers.
It is very exciting role as this function act as the entrusted ambassador of the brand to gain utmost satisfaction of customers. For sure it is also challenging everyday working in a very fast pace luxury fashion environment to provide professional advice and quality services. It is, especially in luxury industry, very valuable and important to listen from every customer of their thinks and desires to ensure that business strategies and directions being applied would be highly committed and personalized, both product-wise and service-wise, in this intensively competed market.
What is your general forecast of the luxury industry in Greater China in the next 5-10 years?
The luxury market is still a lot to be expanded in Greater China as it is just a start compared to developed countries. The challenge in the next few years is the re-definition of “luxury” as the changing of consumer behaviors and expectations. Luxury is no longer talking about luxury brand, but also hospitality, travel, yachting and holistic customer experience. The proportion of Chinese people purchasing in luxury market is increasing steadily around the globe as their fast acceleration of purchasing power and wealth effect. The market is evolving day by day due to the effects of government policies, currencies, consumption patterns, trends and cultures. Anyhow, this is an expanding industry and which would naturally attracting more new competitions which foster the industry to mature in the long run.
To those with 4-5 years of working experience and seeking for a career acceleration in the next 1-2 years, what is your advice to them?
Everyone’s career has different challenges but we all desire walking up the stairs. To get an opportunity is like a photographer to take a picture of lightning flash which might appear and disappear in such a sudden. The forever truth is that you are well prepared before it comes and you catch it. I suggest to gain an experience or education qualification or network the earlier the better as everything takes time to equip for yourself.