Last week, the Luxury Education Foundation hosted the final presentations of the “Luxury Design and Strategy” master class through Columbia Business School and Parsons School of Design. Through the program, students work collaboratively with some of the world’s leading companies.

Since its inauguration in 2004, LEF has used its global program to grow the careers of more than 600 students.

“As chairman of the board of LEF, it has been inspiring to see the impact of the LEF programs over the past 15 years,” said Robert Chavez, chairman of the Luxury Education Foundation and president and chief executive officer at Hermès of Paris Inc. “The LEF network has grown tremendously and now includes involved alumni internationally. This vast and impressive network of motivated individuals is one of the most valuable aspects of becoming involved with LEF.”

This year, the program featured projects with Cartier, Chanel, Dior and Shiseido. Each company asked the students to partake in an “intriguing and challenging project” to work on throughout the semester. Participants were assigned teams of eight, made up of both Columbia and Parsons students. These teams then worked closely with top executives from the participating companies.

Project assignments by the companies were practical and dealt directly with the company’s current business. In its assignment, Cartier asked students to “understand clients’ interest in craftmanship and explore how Cartier can connect with clients through craftmanship.” Chanel asked students to explore the continued expansion of the company’s stand-alone fragrance and beauty boutiques to “understand what makes these most successful in gaining and retaining a loyal client.”

“My team was fascinated by the insights drawn by the students and the program spurred conversations that led to actionable solutions,” said Joyce Green, general manager of fashion at Chanel. “We are thrilled to continue our involvement with LEF by working with the master class students.”

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