Crossing continents, building a family
Jesús Abia Arias (EIBM 09)
Jesús Abia Arias, originally from Spain, has travelled all over the world for his work with L'Oréal, including to France, the United States, Canada, South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Hong Kong – where he lives now.
Jesús has been with the company since 2009. “My relationship with L'Oréal began at a company event held by Audencia Business School, where I applied to a marketing position with them,” he says. “I finished my studies in June and had a job with L'Oréal in July.”
Jesús realises his timing was fortunate. “It was a good moment to go abroad – especially considering the economic situation in Spain. Going to Audencia was a very good decision.”
Jesús earned a Bachelor in Technical Engineering in Management Informatics at Universidad de Valladolid in Spain, and says he certainly hadn’t always planned to work in marketing. “Technical engineering was very trendy at the time, but by the end of my studies, I realised I didn’t want to be writing code my whole life.” He added a Bachelor in Market Research and Marketing with an additional two years of study.
“After my undergraduate studies, I was missing a bit of background in business, so I decided to enter Audencia’s EIBM programme,” Jesús says. The EIBM (European and International Business Management – formerly EMP) is a trilingual programme in French, Spanish and English; Jesús was already proficient in English (and fluent in Spanish, of course), but says his French was at roughly an intermediate level. “But it is not that hard for a Spanish-speaker to learn French,” he laughs. “Especially while living in the country and having French friends – and girlfriends!”
Jesús is now the marketing director for Giorgio Armani and designer brands in the Asia Pacific region for L'Oréal. “Every day is different,” he says. He has a vast set of responsibilities, ranging from marketing strategy and developing the brand to working with the retail design team to make sure all point-of-sale interactions fit the high standards of each brand. Jesús also coordinates with the supply chain, develops strategies for launches, determines the best media investments and reports on results to the company’s headquarters in France. “It is a comprehensive position, as I coordinate between all the departments.”
When asked about the perks of his position, Jesús emphasises the supportive culture at L'Oréal. “They give you the opportunity to really make things happen. They trust you to implement your strategies in a way that might not be possible in another company.”
Jesús also describes how much he enjoys managing his team. “While the culture in Asia is very different than in the US, the company really coaches you on how to address the challenges of managing people from different places, including Hong Kong, Mainland China, Korea, etc.”
Jesús, who met and married his wife in Madrid, Spain, is very straightforward about the primary challenge of his job: “You know, it is a bit more personal. I have a good position and opportunity, but my wife’s and my families are in Spain. We are far away from them and really miss them.”
A love of travel and different cultures is at the heart of Jesús’s work. He believes that “travelling is the only thing that is worth spending a lot of money on. To get to know new cultures really makes you a better person. One of my dreams was always to build a family and bring this experience to them. I see my daughter going to Mandarin Chinese classes now. Priceless.”
He also notes that L'Oréal gives him the opportunity to grow fast and be entrepreneurial. “When I have an opinion, it’s something that they hear and listen to. And they have given me fantastic opportunities to travel, to build my international family.”
Personal interests and passions:
Jesús enjoys eating out in Hong Kong with his wife and one-year-old daughter, and playing sports. He is also taking classes in Mandarin Chinese.
Staying in touch with Audencia:
Jesús stays connected with his Audencia classmates via Facebook and occasional trips. “It’s always great to hear about how they are doing. All of them have very good jobs,” he says. In fact, one of the project managers hired on in Hong Kong by L'Oréal at the same time as Jesús is also a graduate of Audencia.
Advice to students and graduates:
Jesús urges Audencia students and graduates to be proud of where they studied. “When you go abroad, people will recognise Audencia’s name and tell you it is a great school.”
Jesús recommends that anyone in an internship or entry-level position work very hard from the first day. “Make sure people see you doing your job well, giving an extra mile. If your manager sees this, they will have no doubt you will succeed. The secret is to feel like a part of the company from the beginning and bring value.”
Most memorable experience at Audencia:
Jesús laughingly describes his most memorable experience while studying at Audencia: “I remember the parties. It was a really fun experience! I need to be honest, right? I’m sure other alumni will feel the same way.”
He goes on to say how much fun he had with his classmates and people from the school, at parties, in sports and on committees. “There was always something going on.”
Career & Development
- Le 8 sept. 2017