McDonough Undergraduate Students Meet Senior Estée Lauder Executives in New York City for the Gen Z Network Initiative
A group of Georgetown McDonough undergraduate students recently met with senior executives of Origins, an Estée Lauder brand, as part of the Gen Z Network Initiative in New York.
Founded in 2020 as part of a partnership between Georgetown McDonough’s the Global Business Initiative, Undergraduate Program, and The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), the Gen Z Network Initiative seeks to train and equip future leaders in the cosmetics business. The partnership is led by the ELC’s CEO Global Reverse Mentor Program.
Through this initiative, students provide the ELC with consumer-centered feedback. The ELC, in exchange, provides the group with development, education, and mentorship opportunities, as well as the chance to gain industry insights and work with and learn from executives in different areas of the company.
A group of undergraduate students from Georgetown McDonough work with an ELC brand each year and participate in roundtable sessions facilitated by brand executives. Past semester partners include MAC Cosmetics, Clinique, and Dr.Jart+. The participating brands and students meet every Friday to maintain candid two-way communication to understand consumer preferences, shopping behaviors, media consumption habits, and ways the brands can pivot their assets, messaging, and campaigns based on students’ feedback.
The students’ visit to Origins this fall began with breakfast and coffee with Lea Nesdale, manager of the ELC’s CEO Global Reverse Mentor Program, which was followed by a tour of Origins and MAC Cosmetics offices. Following the tour, students were split into teams where they created various TikTok posts on several hero products for the brand.
The teams then presented their videos to senior Origins executives, including Amber Garrison, global brand president, Asad Haque, global finance and strategy vice president, and Sandy Huang, global strategy executive director. The company executives spoke with the students about global marketing, aesthetics, trends, strategy, and how to best use data for building solutions in today’s competitive market.
The visit concluded with lunch and a panel discussion featuring Georgetown alumni who work at the company, including Ashley Chen (B’22), presidential associate of the ELC, and Margot McCloskey (B’18), the London assistant manager of e-commerce at Jo Malone.
Casey Vitiello (B’23), one of the students participating in the program, spoke with us about her experience interacting with ELC executives and what it was like to work with her classmates to create relatable and engaging content that highlights one of the most well-known brands in the world.
What are you majoring in at Georgetown McDonough and what are your current professional aspirations?
I am a current senior double majoring in finance and international business and minoring in Spanish. I accepted a job offer for post-graduation starting in July 2023 as a restructuring investment banking analyst at Guggenheim Partners in New York.
Please describe your experience on the Estée Lauder Gen Z Trek to Origins. What did you learn and what were your biggest takeaways from the trip?
I had a great experience! We made the trip on a Thursday night in a comfortable bus and soon after arriving in New York, I went to get late-night pizza and gelato with the friends I had just made in the Gen Z program.
In the morning, we rode to the Origins office in SoHo, ate breakfast, toured the floor, did a fun capstone project, which was making TikToks in groups to market the company’s hero products, and heard from a panel of young women working at the company who had graduated from McDonough within the past five years about their experiences and the advice they have for us as students pursuing future career opportunities.
I also had an interesting one-on-one conversation with the global brand head of Origins about anti-aging skincare.
After talking to the panelists and the global brand head, my biggest takeaway was that, although I have a job in finance lined up for next year and I am set on doing that for at least a few years after graduation, it’s interesting and useful to meet people in other areas of business to always keep your mind open and explore potential career opportunities down the line.
How has the ELC program influenced your experience as a whole at McDonough?
The ELC program has enriched my experience at McDonough. I benefited not only from the content and deep thinking required in each brand-led session but also from the connection with women in other grades who are studying all different areas of business and the connection with experienced ELC team members.
What aspects of the partnership have been especially beneficial as an undergraduate student?
The most beneficial aspect of the partnership was the opportunity to connect with professionals at all levels, from recent graduates just starting the job to the Origins global brand head with 25 years of experience. It’s helpful to speak to a whole range of people within a profession to more deeply understand how the group functions and what upward mobility within the group looks like.
For students that might be interested in the ELC program, what are the first steps they should take to get involved?
In May, Dean Talia Schatz sent out an email to McDonough undergraduate students asking those who were interested in the program to fill out a survey that served as the application.
Once that form is sent out, make sure to spend time on it and provide thoughtful answers, as well as showcase any relevant experience or special reasons for you to be particularly interested in the program.