McDonough Students Organize and Participate in Diane von Furstenberg InCharge Case Competition Focused on Female Empowerment
Belgian fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg (DVF), and her movement, InCharge, teamed up with Georgetown McDonough’s Graduate Retail and Luxury Association (GRLA) for their first-ever luxury retail case competition. The InCharge initiative was founded with a mission to connect, empower, inspire, and advocate for women around the world.
The case competition was open to graduate students across the university. Planning spanned over the course of multiple weeks and culminated with a final virtual presentation to the DVF leadership team, where students demonstrated their ideas for how to best help the brand attract new customers into its brick-and-mortar stores and increase customer loyalty.
“When the GRLA board began conversations with Gabby Hirata, president of DVF, we knew we wanted to bring students a unique experience with access to retail luxury leaders beyond the traditional speaker series,” said Kendall Deighan (MBA’23), one of the co-organizers of the event. “Sophia Estermann (MBA’23) and I worked diligently with the DVF team to design the competition to promote cross-program collaboration for undergraduate and graduate students alike. It was amazing to see the ideas come to life in the final presentation – the experience planning the competition from beginning to end was a true capstone for our time in the MBA before we graduate in May.”
After the application process, 20 selected students participated in a kick-off call with the DVF team, where they received their assignments and case announcements. Students then had two weeks of case work and check-ins with the DVF team before the final virtual presentation.
The winning team included Isabella Macia (MiM‘23), Kilandra Bass (MBA‘24), Mackenzie Meadows (MiM‘23), Maria Laura Saenz (SFS‘25), and Lola Mourot (C‘25). Their presentation introduced the idea of creating a “power pattern” – a visual creation incorporating color theory and shape symbolism of various empowering attributes that would be imprinted onto a handkerchief as a symbol of female empowerment.
The team proposed a Dione von Furstenberg power pattern event, where female CEOs and affiliate influencers across New York City could come together to create these power pattern handkerchiefs and increase exposure to the Diane von Furstenberg brand.
Co-organizer Estermann said the experience, from start to finish, was of great value to help students succeed in the classroom as well as in their future careers and various professional settings.
“First, you learn how to deal with teams, with different people, different priorities, and different workstyles,” said Estermann. “Second, we all have a lot on our plates, and one of the biggest things we learned through this case competition, but also in general with the MBA program, is how to prioritize what areas we will give our 100% to, when we need to delegate, and when we need to ask for help.”