How an Executive MBA can Accelerate Career Growth


Q&A With Elena Hyeseon Jeong, Store Design & Visual Merchandising Director, About Her EMBA Journey

Elena Hyeseon Jeong, ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA participant from the class of 2022, shares her views on how an EMBA can benefit women and the lessons she has learned over the last year. 

Elegant and poised, Elena Hyeseon Jeong looks exactly the part of a successful professional in the beauty industry.

She joined the world of beauty back in 2009 and freshly graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design from Seoul National University. Since then, her keen aesthetic sense and impeccable sense of style have paved the way for her growth, first through Amorepacific and now in The Estée Lauder Companies Inc, where today, she is the Store Design & Visual Merchandising Director for the Asia-Pacific region.

With passions that lie in art, architecture, and traveling, the role is in many ways a perfect alignment of her personal and professional interests—yet in 2021, Elena took the leap and joined the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA (EMBA) program.

We speak to her to find out why:

What is the value of having an EMBA?

There is a level of degree inflation in Korea, and without a master’s degree or MBA, getting a good long-term promotion is hard, especially in a large company.

I felt that although my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design had been sufficient for me to excel in my role, I wanted to learn more about business so I could improve at my work.

I chose ESSEC because I could complete the program at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus and still attend residency programs in places like Germany and Japan.

Some might say that women face glass ceilings in their career growth. Is that true? How can an EMBA help them past these obstacles?

Frankly, since the Estée Lauder Companies is a major player in the beauty industry, it is a relatively good workplace for women. However, based on a 2021 report, even though over 84 percent of the total employees are women, over 65 percent of the corporate executives are male.

The good news is that the percentage of women in leadership is constantly rising! I feel having an EMBA is definitely useful on this front as it will give women qualifications to catch up—especially if their career slowed down because of marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare. 

How has the EMBA helped you in your career so far?

Taking basic business administration courses such as finance, corporate strategy, brand management, and marketing have been helpful for my work at the director level, and I’ve found case studies on LVMH and L’Oreal very interesting.

Key topics covered, like digital transformation, have also been extremely relevant to my field of work. For example, in a group project I’m working on, my team is studying the future of retail design in the post-COVID era and looking at what this means for innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability, all of which are directly connected to my job.

What advice do you have for potential EMBA candidates?

During the EMBA program, we actually learn as much from participants as from the professors because everyone in the cohort will come with an established career and a wealth of experience to share.

Because of this emphasis on peer learning, “diversity” becomes a very important consideration when you choose which program to apply for. I highly recommend the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA program because it accommodates so much diversity in terms of nationalities, races, and careers.

Interested in the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA Asia-Pacific program? 

Find out more HERE or email us at 

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