Why I Applied to the Fashion & Luxury MBA

This post was written by Fashion & Luxury MBA student Ashma Kunde

I remember it was back in 2013 that I read an article in Bloomberg Businessweek titled “At NYU Stern, Fashionistas Can Get an MBA, Too”. It spoke about the Stern Consulting Corps project in partnership with the CFDA and it was the first time I read about a business school placing emphasis on the fashion industry. The act of bringing together trailblazing creative talent with tomorrow’s business leaders showed a progressive thinking and collaboration that I found really exciting.

As someone who was keen on progressing my career in the business of fashion, this article was a turning point for me, as it made me consider the value of an MBA in this field. I began toying with the idea of applying to B-school but was hesitant about the time commitment.

Fast forward a few years, and Stern launches the focused MBA program in Fashion and Luxury and applying was a no-brainer for me. This program encompassed all the things that excited me about Stern’s traditional two-year program, but with the benefits of a condensed time frame and focus on industry-specific experiential learning. The latter was a big draw for me, and something I knew the school’s NYC location (a city at the nexus of fashion, business and technological innovation) would be highly beneficial towards.

The launch of this program once again made me appreciate the school’s understanding of where the industry is headed and its unique demands. One such growing trend is the importance of data and analytics. While in the past mass market retailers had the advantage in this realm, nowadays an increasing number of fashion and luxury brands are valuing data as much as design in guiding their decision-making. It’s been great to see how this program provides a solid foundation in data analysis, while also allowing us to build on our knowledge through electives in this field.

Another aspect that drew me towards this program is the fact that we still cover all the core courses, like Marketing, Accounting and Finance, ensuring we have a holistic view of business in general. Having heard from a few alumni in the fashion and luxury industry, a key message that was echoed was that this holistic view enabled them to speak intelligently to a wide variety of teams in their organizations and was one of the biggest benefits of having the MBA.

While I didn’t know it at the time of applying, one of the most exciting things about joining this program has been the chance to connect with the 26 other like-minded individuals on my course. It couldn’t be more different from my undergraduate experience, where the vast majority of my peers pursued traditional career paths in investment banking and management consulting and veering off the beaten path to pursue a career in fashion had been quite a solitary experience for me. Now, it is amazing to have peers who have shared career goals and appreciate both the analytical and aesthetic sides of the industry. Additionally, as the inaugural cohort for this program, it’s been exciting to experience this new one-year MBA program together.