David Langreo is an alumnus of the Master in Management (2013-2014) with previous experience in investment banking and bachelor in Business Administration.
What drew your attention to Richemont and the luxury sector?
I always had an affinity for the world of luxury, fashion and beauty. Why Richemont? It was thanks to the IE. There was a week of on-campus company presentations for the students and the Richemont group was among them. I attended their presentation and I loved everything they said about the industry and the company, I thought that it was really what I wanted, the career change that I needed, and the sector that I wanted to focus on and where to develop my professional life. From that moment it was my goal to start working in Richemont.
Although you are working in the luxury sector, we see that you have purely finance functions. Does it move you away from the creative side of business? We see that there is a continuing demand for such positions in the companies from the luxury and fashion sectors; however we wonder how anyone without previous experience in this industry can become a good candidate for this kind of company?
My functions are obviously financial and within the different departments in the company, the finance department is related much less to “fashion” or “glamour” than other departments… We are the serious guys of the group. But my position as retail controller within the finance department has some connection to the product, so I was very lucky!!
Any person with the proper training is a good candidate. It is true that it is difficult to enter this sector, but with good training and passion, everything is achievable. Obviously, if you do not show a certain affinity for the sector, it is impossible to access it.
How was the recruitment process in Richemont? Please tell us how about your first contact and how it led to getting the offer?
Richemont came to IE to give a presentation. They were looking for candidates for the financial department in one of their divisions. I went to this presentation and when it was finished, I stayed to talk to the speaker. I mentioned how much I liked the area, gave him my CV and my business card and that evening I wrote him an email (he had given us his business card) thanking him for the presentation while attaching my CV. Those 10-15 minutes after the presentation were very important. This is the moment when you show your interest and you establish a closer contact. The person has a chance to get to know you personally and know who you are. You should have an idea of what have to say, and you should have your CV on hand so they can look over it while you are talking.
This part is the most important together with meeting the recruitment representative. This contact is crucial to distinguish yourself from the rest of the candidates, and I used this chance. Those 10-15 may be considered the first interview, and IE provides you with this opportunity, for me this determined my course of action.
The recruiter told me that we would stay in touch and that he would let me know when they had any vacancies to apply online.
From time to time (every two weeks actually) when I had not received any news, I sent them an email. I thought it might end up being annoying, but if you do not show your interest, nobody knows what are you up to! At the end it means competing for a job opportunity where other highly skilled people are looking to fit in as well. If you don’t stand out, you are out of the game, and the interest and previous contact with that person gives you a big advantage.
Finally they posted several job offers on their website and I sent an e-mail to the person who organized the conference, and while taking into account my skills, he recommended the position that would offer me the most possibilities. From that moment on, I started the interview process.
What was the most important change you have noticed after your IE experience?
At university you always learn theory that is rarely applicable to the real job. IE on the other hand has given me a much more strategic, global and competitive vision. On the one hand, and I guess because of the specifics of my position, the behavioral skills taught at IE and the method of teamwork have been extremely useful for me during these months, and I see that in the future it will be even more useful than it has been until now.
Before IE I always preferred to work individually, but now I try to avoid individual work. Group work always goes slower but much further.
Having several people within a team and seeing different views from each person greatly enriches the professional experience.
What do you think was the key to your successful job hunting?
I guess when you are looking for a job everything counts: education, languages, career, work experience, affinity with the sector, your expectations…
However, the fact that IE, through the presentation on campus, provided me with direct contact to Richemont was crucial for introducing me to the company, and this was crucial to get through the selection process and achieve my objective, meaning a position in the financial department within the luxury sector.
Without that first personal contact, I don’t think the result would have been the same and I probably wouldn’t have known that they had any vacancies in Richemont. Obviously everything counted: my CV, affinity with the sector, languages, advice and meetings with Lucia Andrés Pérez (Director of Career Advising) preparing every detail of the interviews, which was incredibly helpful. But those 10-15 minutes of first contact were crucial from my point of view, since it was like a speed interview.
Can you share some advice with the students who would like to learn about the career opportunities in Richemont and the luxury sector?
Take an advantage of the opportunities given by IE! Seize the incredible networking possibilities within the sector. Attend the on-campus presentations provided by IE, which are the best opportunity to network and open doors where you want to go next.
In case you do not have this option, LinkedIn is an amazing tool. I used it myself to look for alumni who were working in Richemont to ask for tips for different interviews. Don´t feel intimidated to write via LinkedIn, especially to the IE alumni. In the end, IE students are like a big family.