India is an alluring country that shimmers with vibrant colors. For centuries it has offered magnificent buildings, temples and landscapes. The past opulence of the maharajas and the splendor they created now flows seamlessly into today’s booming luxury industry.
The Indian luxury market
India’s luxury market is expected to reach $50 billion in 2020. With global brands opening retail and production premises in India, the need for trained and culturally aware employees and future leaders is pressing.
Abhay Gupta, Founder & CEO of India’s Luxury Connect Business School, believes India is the “best of BRICS” as Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa are all facing financial, political and / or social challenges that affect their economies and growth rates. India is expected by many to emerge as the world’s fastest growing major economy and “the fastest growing luxury market after China.” At this year’s Mint Luxury Conference held in Mumbai, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), stated that the Indian luxury market is likely to grow nearly tenfold over the next 10 years
Gupta makes the point that, while India is not new to luxury brands, “the new maharaja, the new customer… has dreams and expectations. He or she wants luxury to provide a personalized, customized and ‘Indianized’ experience. India’s new breed of consumer indulging in luxury goods and services is expecting a more cherished luxurious experience.”
In order to thrive in today’s luxury market, Gupta believes luxury brands need to “connect with the consumer through media, PR, special events and so on. Provide closeness, uniqueness, product and brand acquaintance with appropriate messages. Educate this new Indian customer with your value proposition – reach out – engage – inform – indulge – entertain and then retain. This customer is loyal and will remain with the brand if assured of prompt service, efficient sales staff, continuous engagement and mutual respect.”
In light of this and the fact that India is becoming source of inspiration for designers and developers, particularly in the luxury product domain, it is imperative that international students, entrepreneurs and young executives learn about the Indian luxury market. That is why Gupta established the Luxury Connect Business School (LCBS) in Gurgaon, India in 2012. He recognized that a business school focused on aspects such as customer relationship management, retail services skills and brand management would fill this need.
India’s Luxury Connect Business School
This unique business school is an initiative launched by Luxury Connect—India’s premier luxury segment consulting organization. Luxury Connect recognized that education focusing on the acquisition of skills—or reskilling to support the luxury industry—was vital to meet demand in a growing luxury market.
Gupta cites several reasons for creating a luxury Master’s in Management program. The world is moving towards complex specialization in every field and the luxury sector must comply with this trend. While the LCBS CEO believes that “the world of luxury brands is a zero tolerance zone with no scope of mistakes or errors of judgement. Dealing with a cash rich but time poor customer is the key to success of any luxury brand and is the essence of this program.” Industry Connect is an initiative created by LCBS for regular students undertaking the Luxury management Program. It is an immersive learning program that provides students and affiliates with the opportunity to interact with industry leaders and professionals. Sessions allow attendees to meet, talk and share ideas in a friendly, informal setting.
In addition to the Master’s in Management program, the school launched Experiential Luxury, two weeks of Immersive learning in the heartland of incredible India.
Gupta states that the LCBS workshop “is designed to satisfy and answer the Westerner’s curiosity, fascination and desire to know more about all things connected to India’s luxurious heritage, culture and tradition.” Furthermore, the “program not only takes the delegates through a classroom orientation… but allows them to travel into history by visiting the palaces, enjoying a meal experience with a royal family, experiencing the heritage and architecture of the forts and dwelling homes of the maharajas.” There are visits to artisans and designers of jewelry and fashion products where delegates can try their hands at the various artistic techniques.
LCBS is India’s first and only luxury focused business school. But Gupta isn’t stopping there. Given that similar skills will be needed by BRIC countries, LCBS plans to offer similar structured educational programs to students in other emerging markets.
This post was written by guest contributor Gretchen Shaw. Gretchen is an author, blogger and entrepreneur. You can follow her on Twitter: @shawgret