Giovanna Seneca (Italy) - International University of Monaco

A natural location to study luxury

For anybody with their sights set on a career in the luxury industry, studying in the luxury capital of the world is a natural choice.

That’s how Italian student Giovanna Seneca ended up doing a master’s at the International University of Monaco, having previously studied in various destinations across Europe. The tiny city-state of Monaco has a population of just 39,000 - one-third of which are millionaires - making it an epicenter of luxury.

“It is a degree that is Luxury Business Management and then it’s got three different specializations: Brand Management, Fashion & Accessories, and Hospitality,” Giovanna tells MASTERGRADSCHOOLS. (05:05)

“I started last September and I’m really glad with the program because it is both theory and practice. So for example we got courses directly at school but we also attended some outside workshops.” (01:01)

This being Monaco, the "outside workshops" that Giovanna mentions represent another chance to immerse yourself in the luxury industry. Students who opt for the Yachting Track, a specialization of the Luxury Management program, are able to attend the annual Monaco Yacht Show and get the chance to look around some of Monaco’s famous yachts!

A master’s program that gives you the freedom to choose

Although Giovanna’s love of languages meant she started the master’s with the intention of specializing in hospitality, she changed her mind during the first half of the program. The change of heart came from a desire to gain a broader knowledge of the luxury industry.

“I said I would like to have broader perspectives so I chose Brand Management in the end because it’s luxury products and services combined, whereas in Hospitality you’ve just got luxury services. If you want to have both of them I would suggest you go into Brand Management," she explains. (06:38)

The flexibility of the program means that students can get a taste of each specialization before committing to one. Luckily for Giovanna, her change of heart was supported every step of the way by IUM:

“The International University of Monaco [is] very flexible so if you change your mind there’s no problem.” (07:32)

Luxury program, luxury setting

Location is one of the most important factors when choosing a master’s. Where you study can have a direct impact on your future career, and very few universities are as close to the heart of an industry as IUM. The university careers team sends out regular internship opportunities in the luxury industry, while its professors stay on top of the latest industry trends.

“[IUM] really stays updated with trends," Giovanna confirmed. "Meaning in business, you see that professors are not just talking about theory but they’re saying ‘Have you seen in the news…?’ They are really adapting to the [changes] in our business world.” (19:02)

Fittingly, the campus itself is every bit as luxurious as its surroundings. 

Giovanna says, “It’s based in the very center of Monaco. The building is brand new (it was opened last year) and it was a pleasure to go inside because it didn’t even look like a university - it was an amazing building and it was like going into a luxury place!” (18:16)

Monaco as an international destination

78% of Monaco’s population is foreign-born, giving the city-state a real international flavor. As somebody with an international background herself, Giovanna felt immediately at home.

“Monaco is a very international country and it is really open-minded. The fact that we are in contact with foreign people with different mindsets, it really gives you different perspectives on different topics. In class, for example, everybody could contribute to the topic and give different views.” (01:56)

“It’s very international but at the same time it’s small - it’s not like a big city - so I could feel at ease. It’s also easy to meet people so you will never be alone here.” (20:54)

With its tiny population and reputation for luxury, Monaco makes for a pretty unique study destination. Despite being unsure of what to expect before arriving, Giovanna asserts that her time in Monaco has been her best study experience yet:

“Before the program, I was excited but I didn’t know exactly what to expect...but the program exceeded my expectations. I’ve also studied in Italy, England, Germany, and Switzerland, so I really had an international background, but in Monaco, I’ve really had the best time of my life.” (19:55)

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