Business Meets Fashion: A Closer Look at The First U.S. Fashion-Luxury MBA Program

by Pilar Burgess

New York University’s Stern School of Business creation of a one year MBA program in fashion and luxury makes strides in the school’s advocacy for the fashion industry. Throughout the program, students are required to complete 51-credits of coursework, which includes core fashion and business classes, along with an array of immersive electives and projects.

After detecting a large void within their education system, Stern has been working hard to fill it one step at a time. With the installation of this MBA program, they are striving to legitimize the fashion industry and secure its connection with business. Stern administration has highlighted how this program has been designed to help talented artists solidify their brands with the support of business professionals. Given that this is the first MBA program of its kind within the United States, fashion scholars are eager to join the course and partake in its success throughout this upcoming year.

The first part of starting a successful business is establishing a void and compensating for it. With the launch of the MFMS in 2018, our team is driven not only to influence the current culture of fashion, but how it further evolves throughout the years to come.  At the University of Michigan, there is a definite void of fashion incorporated into our education system. Our faculty has been hesitant to implement fashion-based material into the curriculum, but that has yet to stop the student body. Thanks to our founders, the MFMS has become the university’s primary source for fashion-related news. From analysing current-events, learning from our network of distinguished industry professionals, and working cross functionally with team members, the MFMS has established the community we were missing.

Similarly, on NYU’s campus, administration recognized the fashion industry’s existence as a multi-billion dollar industry and took action to supply its demand from their students. Garnering the interest of numerous industry professionals, the Fashion and Luxury program was able to collaborate with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) while providing the students with hands-on experiences. As a part of their coursework, students partnered up with a rising CFDA designer, contributing professional business insight in regards to how to establish a brand and run a company. Both the student and designer are linked in a mutually beneficial relationship. Providing both incentives for the designer to pick the minds of the students and opportunities for the students to engage in a real-life case study.

It is incredibly inspiring to see the real impact that students can have on the future of the intersection of education and fashion. Before May 2018, when NYU’s MBA program began, there was a fashion presence on campus. In 2004, NYU introduced a Luxury and Retail Club, which eventually gained 1,200 members and counting. In 2009, the university established a Luxury Marketing specialization track offered for MBA students.  These efforts made by NYU’s student body has contributed to the presence of fashion within their university and has further shaped the foundation for the endeavors which they are now embarking on. In regard to the MFMS’s long-term goal, as our community grows and gains recognition, we can use NYU as a role model for the influence and success we are striving to achieve.

Brian Zhao