MBA in Fashion Management | TopMBA.com

The MBA in fashion management is a relatively new phenomenon, though the same roles and rules apply to students looking for MBA jobs as in any industry. Fortunately, the MBA salary levels for jobs in the sector are competitive too. Networking is very important in an industry where word of mouth can count for everything.

What is an MBA in Fashion Management?

An MBA in Fashion Management prepares students to thrive in one of the largest and most lucrative industries in the world, valued at over US$1.2tn dollars.

What You Need to Study an MBA in Fashion Management

Each fashion and luxury-tailored MBA program will have different requirements. Generally, most b-schools will require the following:

  • Three to five years of professional experience (although this can vary)
  • An undergraduate degree
  • A good GMAT/GRE score
  • Employers’ recommendation

Finance, marketing, innovation and strategy all play massive roles in bringing the latest trends from the catwalk to the high street. There’s no getting away from the fact, however, that creativity lies at the heart of the fashion industry. To be a successful leader in the sector, one must not only be able to work with creatives but also to help manage and nurture their strengths – which is what a specialized track will teach you.

MBA in Fashion Management – Course Content

Those specializing in fashion management will study the same traditional core courses as they would on any MBA program. These will then be supplemented by course offerings that are specifically tailored – pun intended – to fashion and luxury brand management. Courses might include:

  • Marketing luxury brands
  • Developing and managing luxury retail
  • The fashion industry: creativity in business
  • Culture of brands
  • Design and marketing of luxury goods
  • Managing a watch brand
  • Managing a jewelry brand
  • Luxury brand consumer behavior
  • Doing business in Italy
  • Luxury brand finance
  • Retail marketing
  • Retail store layout and design
  • Social media and consumer engagement

As students work their way through an MBA in luxury brand management, it is likely that they will be encouraged to travel to fashion hubs like New York, Paris, Milan and London, as well as to emerging markets in China and India where luxury brands are not only establishing a foothold but will, it’s predicted, become the world’s biggest markets.

The courses listed above only scratch the surface of what an MBA in luxury brand management or fashion management entails. The ever-coveted soft skills are of course essential, in order to manage creative egos, and while one doesn’t have to be artistically gifted, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are important to keep up with ever-changing fashions.

Top schools for MBA in fashion management

NYU Stern

New York City, home to NYU Stern

Offering an MBA in Luxury Marketing, NYU Stern is located in one of the best places in the world for anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry: New York City. NYC, as we’re sure you know if you’re reading this guide, plays host to New York Fashion Week and is home to companies like Michael Kors, Eckō Unltd., Aéropostale, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, Kate Spade and J. Crew among many, many others. Faculty members at NYU Stern, meanwhile, hail from leading companies in the industry and have been influencing fashion and luxury brands for decades.

SDA Bocconi

Bocconi

Boasting partnerships with some of the most recognizable names in the fashion industry, SDA Bocconi’sMBA track in luxury business management employs a hands-on approach to the fashion industry and luxury brand management. The school is located in Milan, another global fashion capital. The classes offered in this track include ‘Strategic Mindset in Luxury Business’ and ‘Orchestrating a Global Luxury Brand’. Students are encouraged to apply for internships at major fashion labels located not only in Milan but around the world.

ESSEC

ESSEC

ESSEC Business School, located on the outskirts of Paris, offers an MBA in International Luxury Brand Management, taught by faculty who can boast backgrounds at companies such as Christian Dior, L’Oréal, Chanel and Burberry. The school runs partnerships with prestigious names in the industry, and the program includes two international trips: one to a particularly relevant international market (Hong Kong or Dubai being recent examples) and a second to Italy, where students visit some of the top names in the fashion industry like Gucci and Bulgari.

Top Careers to Pursue with an MBA in Fashion Management

There are many career options and MBA jobs available in luxury brand management; these are a large number of multinational companies who share the needs of all big businesses across a wide range of functions, including traditional MBA jobs in finance, operations and strategy.

Many specialized tracks, however, focus on marketing, the need for which should be self evident – particularly as growing middle classes in emerging economies change the topography of the business landscape. Retail management and supply chain management are areas of opportunity for the same reason.

Some examples of roles, as listed by business schools, taken up by fashion marketing MBA graduates include:

  • Senior VP of fragrances at Lancôme in the US
  • Marketing manager at Rémy Cointreau in India
  • Buyer/product manager of accessories at Printemps in France
  • Merchandising executive at Stella McCartney in China

According to Glassdoor, the average post-MBA salary for a senior luxury brand manager in the US is around US$133,000 while the post-MBA salary of a marketing manager is around US$120,000. Both of these MBA salaries are in and around the current US average.

Top Firms Hiring in Fashion Management

MBA students often undertake internships to break into the fashion and luxury world. These allow them to showcase their business acumen while effectively participating in a wide network full of professional opportunities.

Some of the top companies for internships and careers in luxury brand management and fashion management include:

  • LVMH
  • Burberry
  • Gucci
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Kate Spade
  • Gap
  • L’Oréal

Best Countries for a Career in Fashion Management

Here are the fashion hotspots MBAs should focus on to land a career in fashion management:

  • France
  • The UK
  • Italy
  • The US
  • China 
  • Singapore