After an experience in the banking sector, fashion lover and elegant spirit Amal Sultan decided to pursue an MBA in Luxury Brand Management. After starting her degree at IFA Istanbul, she received a proposal from Dunhill (Richemont) in London, interned at IMG Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Turkey and at the luxury brand Quintessentially in Dubai. Here is our interview with her.

Michel Temman: Could you introduce yourself and tell us more about your previous banking career and why did you decide to pursue a MBA in Luxury Brand Management?

Amal Sultan: I did my Bachelors in Economics from University of London International Programmes and graduated in 2012. I started working at Barclays as a Customer Services officer but I have to say that it didn’t pique my interest. It wasn’t something I could give my 100% in and I thought for a year regarding what I really wanted to do. Then, a MBA in Luxury Brand Management struck me as the perfect degree. I come from a culture, in Pakistan, where people generally don’t think high of Art/fashion degrees. I started looking for degrees in Paris considering that it’s the fashion capital of the world. Coming home with a degree from Paris would open several doors for me! 

Michel Temman: Why did you feel IFA was the best choice for you? 

Amal Sultan: I found few MBA Luxury Brand Management degrees at a couple of universities and IFA had something much more appealing, with the opportunity to study in two different countries, in an emerging market, Istanbul, and in a developed market, Paris. Not only would the MBA from IFA put two different country names on my CV but also broaden my knowledge and life experiences. It was just the p erfect blend. I could satisfy myself and say to the world that I have an MBA in « luxury brand management », something I’ve been always passionate about. I therefore chose IFA and knew this would be the tipping point of my life where I could come home and work for the local luxury brands, giving consideration to the growing power and appetite for Pakistani brands. 

Michel Temman: You completed an internship at Quintessentially, a name reflecting the quintessence of luxury. How did you make it possible and how was it valuable?

Amal Sultan: I started applying for internships a few months after starting the degree. In Istanbul, I had the opportunity to intern at IMG Mercedes Benz Istanbul Fashion Week. I also got an offer from Dunhill (Richemont) in London as a Corporate Social Responsibility coordinator. I didn’t have a working visa for UK and the visa regulations for Pakistani citizens made the entire procedure too complicated as an intern. I then accepted the offer from Quintessentially Dubai which was much more appealing and free of visa hassles. I instantly accepted the offer and started working during the summer break, mid-July. 

Michel Temman: What did you learn from this experience?

Amal Sultan: It was an invaluable learning experience and I consider myself very fortunate. Not only did I make various luxury brand reports to get them on the supplier list in addition of organising an event, I also joined the customer experience, invited by the palace Burj al Arab and Cavalli Caffeè to name a few. I was handed over one of their biggest projects to make the intangible service that we provide into something tangible. I came up with the concept “Q Digital”, a sustainable smart bracelet and virtual lifestyle manager, giving consideration to the fact that customer experiences are now going digital. I worked on the branding, marketing, and functionality and added the element of sustainability which Q is novel to at the moment. The project Q Digital will be presented at the annual global meeting which is attended by all 64 offices of Quintessentially globally. Q Dubai is excited to present this new concept of a virtual lifestyle manager which is the core essence of providing a concierge service. Actually, I’ve been awarded an “Outstanding performance certificate” by Q Dubai for my internship and received the highest possible recommendation letter.

Michel Temman: What is, in fact, your dream? How do you see your future? Getting back to Quintessentially? To another luxury name? 

Amal Sultan: As happy as I am to be back in Paris, I can’t help but be a little sad to be not able to work amongst such efficient co-workers. Going back to Quintessentially and working with David Johnson is something I would really look forward to. It has been a great learning experience and I look forward to implementing all his valuable suggestions. However, it is also another dream to introduce all the luxury brands in Pakistan. Working for example with a major distributor group is something on my mind. 

Michel Temman: Can you let us know more about your studies at IFA Istanbul and IFA Paris?

Amal Sultan: Studying at IFA was one hell of a ride. We’ve had some of the best teachers with great portfolios imparting knowledge like none other. I still remember when Stephanie taught us our first subject in Istanbul, we were all complaining how strict she was and how we all had bad grades for the first assignment. But her professionalism, fair attitude and critical analysis helped me improve at a 90 degree angle by the end of the term. Getting good comments from her on the last assignment at the end of the term, you know you’ve done well. You’re lucky if you have teachers like her whose critical analysis helps you to improve. From the day I started at IFA Istanbul to the last semester in Paris, I see a new confident woman in me! I don’t know how I can show enough appreciation to IFA for opening new doors. I’m truly indebted!

To see the details about Amal's course, please visit: MBA in Luxury Brand Management.