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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Executive DBA Program Student Testimonial

 

Ana Brant, DBA Candidate

Ana Brant serves as a director of global guest experience and innovation for London’s based Dorchester Collection. As a brand strategist for a luxury hotel operator, Ana applies knowledge gained from her DBA to merge excellence with the customer journey. Speaking on the personalized nature of her experience, Ana suggests that Pepperdine builds a program that addresses the individual needs of students. Utilizing her DBA to create new knowledge, Ana furthers her understanding of value based leadership. Referencing the Executive Doctor in Business Administration program, Ana believes it is much better to stand out than to fit in.

Ana holds a bachelor’s of science degree in hotel and resort management and a master’s of science in service leadership and innovation, both from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. At Cornell University, she earned executive certifications in strategic leadership, customer-focused product and service design, and project leadership. At Stanford University, she earned the innovation and entrepreneurship certificate.  

Read Ana's Story

"For me, luxury is the ability to have an absolutely deep knowledge in the subject matter of your interest in something that you're truly passionate about. It's about excellence. It's seeking for greatness and not being happy with average. Luxury is about mastery. It is making sure, no matter what you do it's near perfect, doing that with elegance, with care, with passion, with simplicity. If you have all these things in place you have a absolutely magical experience. Luxury brands, they may have a little bit of misconception because when we talk about luxury and we speak about luxury we tend to think about luxury goods.

We think about the Guccis and Hermes and Diors and Chanel and they are absolutely fascinating luxury brands, but they are not the only luxury brands out there. I oversee Guest Experience Innovation for nine absolutely stunning, iconic hotels and this is a position that I created for myself. My CEO and my immediate boss at the time were visionary enough to let me do whatever I needed to do. When I created the position, my thought behind was to basically break the organizational barriers so we can be much more focused on holistic employee and guest experience. Kind of the line that I came at is, mastering excellence with elegance, and that has been something that has been driving me.

In my opinion, what differentiates luxury is truly the business mindset do you have and that was my biggest motivation for doing a DBA and pursuing a DBA, because I saw the disappearance of that mindset in the United States. Luxuries mindset is all about scarcity. Every single resource that you have, every single strategy that you do, it has to be scarce. It has to be not replicatable. You have to do something very unique.

What really scares me is that the entire world is going towards scalability. Many times companies are driven by performance metrics that are set up by outside companies or boards of directors that have very different visions or Wall Street. It's all about, how do you scale? How many customers, how many markets can you go to? To me, it's how many lives can you touch? How many memories can you create? And, those things require planning. They require crafting. They require creativity and that's what luxury is all about.

My job is to put a guest in the center of everything I do and then, also potentially go above and beyond your core product and services that you're offering to meet those expectations. And what I've seen with Graziadio is pretty much the same, except the guest is replaced with a student. And, you see this in behavior. They put a student in the center. They designed a program that fits the needs of the students. They are flexible sometimes with deadlines to fit our needs and our personal lives, our professional lives. They understand that we are not purely academics that have dedicated time just to do this. They are very aware that there is many other things in our lives. What other university can offer something like this? These people are doing that to have a legacy, to create knowledge. And again, I didn't know that going in, that the difference between doing MBA and doing a DBA is one, is actually to learn what's already out there and the Executive Doctor of Business Administration is focused on creating new knowledge.

What makes a difference is that Graziadio cares about the whole person, not about the student that is there for a specific amount of time. They know that in order to get the best out of the student they need to understand their lifestyles, their passions, their requirements. Also, sometimes there is ups, but sometimes there is downs.

When I think what's most important, I think it's helping people be excellent, helping people understand that scarcity is an option. It's okay to be rare. Just because you know, you can fit in doesn't mean you should. Standing out is a much better option. No matter what you do, know who you are, know who you are not and be courageous enough to pursue it."