Why I returned to school for my MBA after two decades in fashion | TopMBA.com

Why I returned to school for my MBA after two decades in fashion

By Niamh O

Updated June 11, 2021 Updated June 11, 2021

Dina Yassin believes we're going through a major innovative change globally, so it's time to think ahead, progress with the times, and focus on becoming good leaders.

The benefits of an MBA, from networking opportunities to enhanced specialised knowledge, mean that it’s never too late to enter the classroom. While interest in MBAs and other business degrees has grown among younger students, there are still many students on business school campuses around the world who arrive after 10 or more years of industry experience.

Dina Yassin, 43, is an MBA candidate on MIP Politecnico di Milan’s full-time MBA programme. But with almost two decades worth of industry experience, why was now the right time for an MBA?

Career so far  

Dina Yassin, Founder & Creative Director of recently launched Efro & Co, was born in Sudan to Eritrean parents, raised in the UAE, and lived in London & New York City. Dina went to school in New York and graduated twice from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s of fine arts and an associates of applied sciences.

She is also a prolific high-fashion stylist and designer whose collaborations with prominent names have featured in Harper's Bazaar Art, Marie-Claire, Conde Nast Traveller, Stylist Arabia and Vogue Arabia.

Dina has worked with top creative beauty visionaries Pat McGrath, Eugene Souleiman, Josh Woods and Eamonn Hughes to style the SS’2013 trends show where the latest technological innovation and beauty trends were shared with the global beauty influencer audience at the Shangri-la in Abu Dhabi.

She has been an Acting Fashion & Beauty Editor and a Contributing Editor for many magazines in New York, London, and Dubai.

She is at the forefront of sustainable fashion in the Gulf region through her venture, Efro & Co, inspired by the streetstyle and retro/vintage aspects of Africa.

Efro & Co was featured in Vogue Arabia for their first Ramadan Collection in 2018, "Dhahabu", as well as the team refugee t-shirt collaboration with the Idris Foundation, and in Mojeh Magazine for their collaboration with the Bulungi Foundation.

Currently, Dina is one of the Founding Partners of Africa Fashion Week Middle East, dedicated to exploring opportunities and promoting the creative connection between Africa and the Middle East.

Dina describes herself as a “Jill of all trades”, adding her aesthetic is spirited, global and imbued with a unique vitality.

Why now? 

Dina says going back to grad school is something she’s always had in the back of her mind.

She said: “I’ve had great support from my family and friends, especially one, Miss Dahlia Mahmoud, who is also my mentor who highly recommended MIP to me. So, I did my research, and I knew it was the right fit!”

Dina admits the pandemic played a big role in making the decision to go back to school – but she also believes we’re going through a major innovative change globally.

She said: “Perhaps a fourth industrial revolution, so it’s time for us to think ahead and progress with the times, focus on becoming good leaders in our fields and share new knowledge for the future.”

The realities of being a mature student 

Dina believes there are advantages and disadvantages to being a mature student – but thinks it’s more advantageous as you’re more mentally prepared to face challenges.

She said: “There will be times where you might question yourself, but overall, it’s a great journey that teaches you about the value of information shared by knowledgeable professors and peers.”

But what can she personally bring to the table? She says a vast array of experience – over almost two decades worth in her industry – and a pool of great networks, life lessons and good friendship.

Benefits of an MBA 

During the MBA, Dina wants to gain valuable knowledge within business, innovation, and marketing sectors especially in the luxury field. She added she wants to: “Make new friends, acquaintances and more, and become a better version of myself, unapologetically.”

Her career goals are exciting, as she hopes to land the ideal position within the luxury/creative field as a manager or director post-graduation.

She said: “I also want to continue to develop my own brand, Efro & Co., and finally finish off projects that are currently on hiatus due to completing my studies.”

Advice for prospective students 

Dina says it’s never too late to pursue your dreams, learn new things, or just go back to school.

She said: “It’s all worth it, so enjoy the ride cause you’re only there for a short period of time. Make every moment count, the good, the bad, the unpredictability, all of it......just take it all in.”

This article was originally published in June 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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