Brigitte Boehm Silveti is a force to be reckoned with. The stylish Vice President EMEA of MAC Cosmetics (M·A·C) has had a consistent, 20-year rise within the company. Since 1984, MAC, the disruptive yet wildly successful child of Estée Lauder’s 30+ brand family, has broken established beauty trends and is constantly looking for new ways of being at the cutting edge of make up like their introduction of Augmented Reality Mirrors in 2017. M·A·C’s inclusive approach of using multi-racial and non-gender-conforming models as well as their comprehensive color palettes have also garnered them a loyal multicultural following.
A BBA graduate of the EU Business School Barcelona Class of 2004, Boehm worked briefly as an export manager in Germany before joining M·A·C cosmetics in 1999. She graciously made time in her busy schedule to answer some questions about the company, the culture and how to best apply for a job at M·A·C Cosmetics. Keep an eye out for her profile in our new edition of EU Alumni Stories, coming out this fall.
1. What is M·A·C’s philosophy?
We encourage M·A·C fans around the world to respect the right to self-expression and celebrate the beauty in everyone. Our iconic motto is: All Ages, All Races, All Genders.
M·A·C has built a community of makeup artists, models, photographers and journalists who have helped grow the brand through word-of-mouth buzz. Innovative. Cutting edge. No brand cultivates and sets the industry standard quite like M·A·C Cosmetics. Our founders, Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo saw the need for a line that would inspire and perform at the highest levels. Today, not only do the original tenets of our brand DNA remain, but thanks to the passion of our stakeholders, the artistic and social evolution of M·A·C has expanded to surpass its wildest dreams and lofty origins.
2. What sets M·A·C apart from other cosmetic companies?
Our artistry. Selected for their passion, originality and technical expertise, the artists working at M·A·C stores and counters across the globe are a diverse range of individuals who deliver knowledgeable and exceptional service to customers with inimitable M·A·C style and enthusiasm. All M·A·C Artists undergo a certification process led by the company’s artist training and development team. During these sessions, they become experts in the latest trends and products and learn how to demonstrate advanced makeup application techniques for an extremely diverse clientele.
Another of our fundamental pillars is the M·A·C AIDS Fund. In 1994, co-founders Angelo and Toskan sought a way to respond to the AIDS epidemic, which was affecting many members of the creative community and touched them personally. Every cent of the Viva Glam lipstick goes to the M·A·C AIDS Fund: today, we have raised $490 million.
3. What impact do you think the brand has had?
Custom-designed in signature M·A·C style and sensibility, each store is spatially organized to optimize the look, feel and testing of color collections as well as to comfortably accommodate personal and professional consultations. Nowadays, M·A·C is present in more than 120 countries. Ever-expanding accessibility and communication – consumers and professionals have the ability to shop and chat with artists online, interact via Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and other pioneering social media constructs – means our buzzworthy global community grows stronger and more widespread each day.
4. How does it feel as a woman to be in a leading position at one of the most innovative cosmetic brands in the world?
Estée Lauder founded her namesake company in 1946 from her apartment. Today, it has evolved into a global corporation with well-known brands like Clinique, M·A·C, Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Origins, Smashbox and, of course, the Estée Lauder namesake brand.
The company remains a leading employer of women. More than 70 percent of the Estée Lauder Companies’ 42,000 employees are women. “We have women running most of our divisions, and we’re one of the few global companies with multiple women in high executive levels,” she says. “It’s something we’re very proud of.
5. What qualities do you look for in a candidate?
Putting the specifics of the job aside, we want people to be able to really fit into our organization and culture. We’re a family business and we thrive on relationships. That takes high adaptability and an interest in collaboration. They must also love our brands and love this industry.
Even when we don’t have job openings, we are constantly looking for talent. We hired 2,000 people last year. We actively recruit at colleges and universities as well as at networking events like the Cosmetic Executive Women’s organization; the WWD Apparel & Retail CEO Summit; and at Reaching Out MBA. We also source our careers website and look for ways to promote our existing employees as much as possible.
6. Do candidates need to be beauty experts to apply for a job?
When candidates walk in, we expect them to know something about us and our brands. We want to see that they’ve done some research on the company and understand the size of the business and its goals. It’s not mandatory to use our products, but it’s nice to hear stories about interacting with them or at least demonstrating a degree of familiarity.
7. Where are most of your jobs located?
We hire all over the world. We have offices in more than 50 countries and territories. Our corporate headquarters are in New York. We offer relocation assistance for some new hires, but not for entry-level positions.
8. Do new applicants apply to the Estée Lauder parent company or does each brand have its own hiring division?
All jobs for our brands are posted on our Estée Lauder careers site. However, many of our brands have jobs posted on their websites as well. People looking to work at a makeup counter or a retail store can apply directly through the store.
9. Is there an etiquette for candidates to follow when interacting with you on social media?
Candidates can connect with us on LinkedIn and follow our brands on Facebook and Twitter. In terms of presence, it’s important to express yourself in a professional manner. Consider the professional direction you want to take and tailor your social media to express that. For example, if you want an international marketing role, make sure to talk about your experiences that speak to international responsibilities, languages, and your studies and interests in global culture.
10. What types of jobs are available for recent graduates?
There are assistant and coordinator roles with most of our brands and departments, such as an administrative assistant in creative with our corporate team, or a coordinator for M·A·C International. An assistant typically supports a more senior person with everything from scheduling and filing to learning how that business unit works. Coordinators provide administrative support as well as coordinate meetings, travel, and pitch in on projects where needed.
11. Do you have an internship program?
The paid summer internship program for enrolled college students lasts 10 weeks in our corporate offices. Interns are paid, but we do not offer relocation assistance. During the internship, each person is assigned a dedicated mentor and works on real projects within the company. We also have a spring internship program dedicated to global communications and product development. This program lasts 15 weeks. We had a total of 65 interns last year.
12. Do most full-time positions require a specific degree?
We like people to have a degree coming in, but I think we’re quite open if someone’s got some good internship experience in the last four years that is relevant. There is no beauty luxury brand degree you can come in with so passion counts for more than what your diploma says.
13. What types of questions do you typically ask in an interview?
I always love to hear someone’s story. I love hearing about their relationships along the way, why they chose a discipline at university and what they’re passionate about. New graduates don’t have a lot of experience outside internships so a lot of what makes them a whole person is the clubs and organizations they were a part of, the leadership roles they’ve taken on, and volunteer work, if applicable. I also want to know about the bad choices they’ve made along the way and what they’ve learned from them.
14. What questions should candidates always ask in an interview?
They absolutely must ask at least one question, full stop. One thing I like is when they impress me with some sort of knowledge about the company and the industry that doesn’t come up in the interview. And I know it might be cheeky, but I also like it when someone asks, “Well, how did I do?” This isn’t a question for the beginning, but at the final handshake. It’s very direct, and I like that they’re both curious and eager for feedback.
At EU Business School we help future game-changers like Brigitte Boehm Silveti to acquire and develop the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities in order to build a successful career.