I met Jim after a presentation he gave at my school. I was blown away by him. Jim is not only an extraordinary successful man, but he is also so personable. Great guy! Jim talked quite a bit about having passion for what you do; this is exactly why I knew I wanted to interview him. I wanted to see what his thoughts were on the self-marketing process. Here is a quick background of Jim:
Before founding Jackson Hole Group, Jim held a number of prominent senior executive positions. As Executive Vice President for the Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) Retail Group, Jim provided leadership to each of the 10 operating companies within the Group. In addition to his overall operational responsibilities, Jim provided consulting support to the individual management teams and coaching to the key executives. He also provided consulting support to the non-retail organizations of LVMH including the LVMH/DeBeers collaboration, Phillips dePury & Luxembourg, Europatweb and Groupe Arnault. During his tenure, Jim participated in several mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisition of Duty Free Shops (DFS) by LVMH.
In addition to his LVMH Group role Jim was also President & CEO of Sephora.com, an LVMH subsidiary, which became the industry’s leading internet site for prestige beauty products. Jim oversaw several significant business restructurings, key executive transitions and the development of strategic business initiatives. He also gained significant experience in multinational management and foreign corporate ownership.
Me: What do you look for in a newly graduated or soon-to-be graduated student?
Jim: A combination of successful academic work (focused major & 3.0+ GPA) combined with student leadership and some community volunteer work. Shows a well-rounded individual who can balance intense schedules.
Me: Is it a necessity these days to obtain a degree higher than a Bachelor’s?
Jim: No. You should get out into the business world and get some practical experience before even considering Masters work. Companies do not think a Masters adds value without corresponding work experience in the same field.
Me: What skills (for your business) are expected?
Jim: Ability to learn, work well with people, a demonstrated high work ethic, and a professional focus
Me: Should they have been involved in multiple clubs/activities while in school?
Jim: Yes. The more impact you show while on campus the more the employer will assume you can make impact in a business
Me: Do you hire more based on personality or skills?
Jim: Both. Looking for well-rounded individuals with high initiative
Me: Is a student’s persistence on getting in contact a good or bad thing?
Jim: Good for a couple of times and bad after that. Do not become a pest or people will block access. A couple of approach attempts shows initiative.
Me: Resume and cover letter or video blog submissions?
Jim: Video blog submissions only work with start-up technology companies or companies in that field. For everyone else use a resume and cover letter.
Me: Simplify what you look for in 1-3 words.
Jim: Intellect, personality and prior success.
Me: Last question! What is your favorite childhood memory?
Jim: All about family.
What we learned from Jim: BE A LEADER.