More Than the Degree

My experience from a global competition L’Oréal Brandstorm 2020

L’Oréal has been organizing an innovation competition for the past 29 years, called L’Oréal Brandstorm, aiming to bring together ambitious and innovative students from all over the world and solve various business challenges with different themes each year. Students team (three students per team) to crack them with the support of their coaches and mentors. You can check the Brandstorm 2021 topic on the following link: 

For the 2020 edition, Brandstorm has partnered up with L’Oréal Consumer Products Division(CPD) and this year’s business challenge is to create a sustainable solution on building a plastic-less future in the beauty industry. Almost 48 000 students from 65 countries and regions were up for this challenge. 

As in previous years, L’Oréal Brandstorm competition is included as a part of a Master' level course Global Marketing Management, where student teams apply our accumulated knowledge in this global business project, with Lecturer Paula Kilpinen as course instructor who has been supporting the student competing teams along the way. Various topics are discussed on the courses with Paula and other guest speakers, covering key concepts and principles of digital marketing, global marketing analysis and strategy, the skills to make an effective pitch, branding, service design… Those contents are considerably helpful for the participants to understand the problem that L’Oréal proposed and its context to emphasize the opportunities and challenges brought about by globalization and digitalization. In the first phase, we addressed a thorough analysis of L’Oréal CPD sectors, how many brands they have, what are their current positions within the targeted market as well as their main strategies, what trends and transformation initiatives can  we identify for future business opportunities etc. 

Then, our team decided to have several brainstorming workshops, during which the ideas are coming out there like streaming. After the intensive discussion on different dimensions: innovative packaging, recycling system, consumer behavior, we finally created a great project with a sustainable solution: combing the biodegradable packaging technology with travel-size products for L’Oréal Paris. What surprised me was our team – Quintessence being the campus winner of Aalto University and represented the school to participate the Nordic Finals! So unbelievable! 

Online competition after the pandemic outbreak - in May 2020
Online competition after the pandemic outbreak - in May 2020

Like my teammate Calvin said, throughout the whole journey, there were undoubtedly many ups and downs.  But what really matter is how we work together and try to create a solution with the power of team spirit, passion and persistence. 

Although we just slightly missed the ticket to the Global Final, our effort was still recognized by the juries from L’Oréal and has won the 1st Runner-Up in the Nordic Final. 

With this campaign, I refreshed my mindset with key practices in understanding the digital trends and technical innovations for beauty industry and then blending the advanced technology into global marketing strategically. I harvested a lot from this unforgettable project, not only the hands-on experience in applying IB concepts into real-life situations, more importantly, the deeper understanding of positive effect of multidisciplinary cooperation and the treasured friendship among our team. 

I still remember the last sentence in our final presentation:  

“We are Quintessence, thank you.” 

Making the video to be sent to the Brandstorm competition
Making the video to be sent to the Brandstorm competition

This essay is dedicated to my teammates and friends: Calvin and Bernadette.  

Shuangyi Chen

Management and International Business  

Aalto study options  

Contact email: aaltosquad(at) 

  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!

Show other posts from this blog


The most photo worthy spots at Aalto University, in Espoo and Helsinki part 3

Madina and Kasia invite you for a photogenic journey around Helsinki and Espoo for the third and last time!

Say WAT? - Water and Environmental Engineering Master’s programme impressions

One year of WAT Master’s programme in a nutshell. Hi, my name is Oana, and this is a small Intro to the courses and life as a WAT student.

Coffee with Squad: A compilation of Useful Links

I have compiled links that we share during our Coffee with Squad sessions. These will help new students and applicants integrate at Aalto.