Do You Need a Fashion Background for NYU Stern’s Luxury & Retail MBA?

Author: Amy Vasunia graduated in May 2024 from the Luxury & Retail MBA program at NYU Stern School of Business. During her MBA, she specialized in Strategy & Management of Technology and Operations. Amy was actively involved in the Luxury Retail Club as a board member and also serves as a Graduate Ambassador for the program.

Amy Vasunia headshot

As a Graduate Ambassador for NYU Stern’s Luxury & Retail MBA, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is, “Do I need to have a background in fashion to join the program?” The answer is no! One of the standout features of this program is the diversity of our student body. Our class consists of individuals from various industries, such as construction, finance, consulting, and even the art world!

This wide range of experiences enriches our discussions and brings unique perspectives to the classroom. Our shared goal unites us—pursuing an MBA to advance our careers and expand our horizons. This program provides a supportive environment for career pivoting, allowing us to leverage our diverse backgrounds and achieve our professional goals.

A classmate, whose background before Stern was in construction, shared “I came to NYU’s Luxury & Retail program to pivot from the construction industry. I worked in that industry for almost 8 years and actually pursued a Master’s in it right after my undergraduate degree. I always found myself hesitating on whether the industry culture and the lifestyle were for me, despite loving being able to drive projects and affecting the end users’ lives from creating state of the art offices to infrastructure. I also wanted to change tracks from Project Management to Business Development and Strategy, further fueling my desire for an MBA. Reaching the crossroad where pivoting careers would be almost impossible, I decided to take a leap and follow my passions for fashion and luxury landing me in this unique MBA experience and amazing NYU community. Once I graduate, I will get to use my newly acquired knowledge and work in Management Consulting, which is very exciting and just the beginning of my pivot.”

Another classmate, whose background was in finance, says her reason for pursuing the Luxury & Retail MBA was: “I worked in the financial industry for 5 years, and this MBA was the perfect opportunity to pivot my career and learn about what I love. The Luxury & Retail MBA is perfect because different voices from various backgrounds come together to learn.”

The Luxury & Retail MBA at NYU Stern not only provides a comprehensive curriculum but also offers a wide range of networking opportunities. Students benefit from the expertise of industry professionals and gain access to exclusive events and guest lectures. These connections can prove invaluable in navigating the competitive industry and establishing long-lasting professional relationships.

Moreover, the program fosters a collaborative environment that encourages students to learn from one another. This synergy creates a space where innovative ideas and creative solutions can flourish. Through group projects and class discussions, students can tap into the knowledge and experiences of their peers, forming meaningful connections that extend beyond graduation. Ultimately, the program equips us with the skills and network needed to excel in the dynamic world of luxury and retail.

Making the Most of a Short One Year

Author: Gigi Seagren is a current Fashion & Luxury Student, a member of Stern Women in Business, and AVP of Admissions for the Luxury & Retail Club. Upon graduation, she’ll be joining Estee Lauder Companies as a Senior Presidential Associate as a part of their MBA rotational marketing program. Prior to Stern, she was a Business Manager for Luxury Fragrances at Bloomingdale’s Flagship. 

Gigi Seagren Headshot

When reflecting on the program with one of my fellow cohort-mates over dinner and wine, we delved into our thoughts on a two-year-equivalent MBA being done in only one year. We summed it up with this: ‘I would love another year, but I don’t need another year.’ As much as we both would cherish another year spent with our new-found Stern family and engaging in continuous learning, we felt like the one year structure still allowed us to extract every benefit possible to prepare us for what comes ahead. Frame of reference is real. One year of intense studying can either feel like a lifetime or a moment, so here’s how to make the memories of the moment last a lifetime: 

Focus on learning over grades

This was a HARD concept for me to grasp. In undergrad, I was hyper-focused on my grades, even taking an “intro-to-tornados” class to boost my GPA. Spoiler alert, that class has not really helped me in my fashion career. Challenge yourself and take the classes in which you have knowledge gaps or the ones that can further hone your existing skills to make them your superpower. Don’t fret over every single assignment. I know, easier said than done, but with limited time, put your energy into the ones that you feel like you’re gaining the most knowledge from. Your time is precious, so protect it by shifting your focus…even if it means rewiring your brain from undergrad. 

Say “yes” to as many social events and gatherings as possible…without overextending yourself

Excuses are incredibly easy to come up with, and I made a lot of them in my first semester. The, “oh I have a full year to have fun with my cohort” quickly turned into “oh, I only have 2 months left.” My excuses usually revolved around me not following my own advice from point #1. Do I remember the grade I got on my 2nd Econ homework? No. Do I wish I was at the happy hour I skipped to “perfect” said assignment? Yes. Obviously, there’s a difference between excuses and actual reasons for not attending gatherings, but give yourself a pulse check to understand if you’re seeing a pattern in your ‘no’s.’ Building your relationships and network is extremely important, so allow that fulfillment to be a priority.

Get involved with campus happenings 

Go to the club events, listen to the panelists, attend the conferences, and party at Spring Fling. Because you only have one year, many of these events will be one-time opportunities. Some of my most vivid memories of the program came from these experiences. While the learnings are rich in the classroom, these events help you connect the textbook to real life, and get you excited about re-entering the real world. Even the events and conferences where I thought ‘ehh that doesn’t really pertain to me’ but went anyway, still offered amazing tid-bits. Convince your cohort mates to go with you!

Just because the year ends, doesn’t mean your relationships do too 

This is advice more to my future self. As I enter my last few weeks of my program, I feel a sense of pressure to cram in last minute memories. However, because I shifted my mindset to focus on learning rather than grades, said yes to more social gatherings, and attended as many campus events as I could with my cohort, the connections I’ve made throughout this past year are lifelong bonds. We’re already planning summer trips, weekend getaways, and picnics in the park. Don’t let the one year MBA trick you into thinking everything stops once you get your diploma. Relationship building can continue way beyond the submission click of your last project.

Florence Immersion – Fashion and Luxury MBA

AuthorMariana is a Fashion and Luxury MBA student set to graduate in May. Before coming to Stern, Mariana worked in a client service role, and managed her own team and account. Post-MBA, she would like to go into the luxury goods space. She is currently VP of flagship events at the Luxury and Retail Club, as well as a member of the board of the Latin American Business Association.

After three weeks of winter break, the Fashion and Luxury cohort met in Florence, Italy to kickstart what would be one of my favorite weeks of the MBA so far. I had previously been to Florence but had never witnessed it through the eyes of renowned companies in the fashion and luxury space. Not only did we learn about Florence’s rich history while visiting the Galerie Uffizi, but we also witnessed the magic that happens behind the scenes of luxury and fashion houses like Gucci, Brunello Cuccinelli, Benetti Yachts, and more. Every day, each visit surpassed the previous one. All I could think about throughout the trip was how privileged we were to live such experiences. 

Our first company visit was to Calzaturificio Stella, a third-generation family-owned shoe manufacturing facility. Here, renowned brands such as Aquazurra, YSL, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, and Maison Margiela entrust their footwear production. We witnessed the process of creating the shoes from their prototypes and samples to their development, assembly, and packaging. During this opportunity, we began to understand the importance of craftsmanship and how most of the work is still done by hand with some help from machines. Later that day, we also visited the Aquazurra and Panerai boutiques, immersed in their rich history and innovation within their respective industries. Additionally, our visit to the Santa Maria Novella perfumery provided insight into its remarkable lineage, which dates back to 1221. Here, we had the opportunity to sample their perfumes, further enriching our understanding of Florence’s rich cultural heritage and legacy of craftsmanship.












On the second day, we rode the bus for two hours to Solomeo and got a tour of the Brunello Cucinelli HQ offices. We got to see the design, commercial, and sample teams in action, gaining insight into the meticulous craftsmanship inherent in every garment and the detail that goes into them to ensure they are of the highest quality. We learned that Brunello Cucinelli fosters the craft of seamstresses and seamsters through a dedicated school for younger generations, where, once graduated, they can be employed in the company. This visit was one of the highlights of the trip, given the beautiful landscape of Umbria and the delicious lunch we were offered on the Brunello Cucinelli campus.

We also visited the Manteco factory, renowned for its wool manufacturing for many fashion houses like MiuMiu, Valentino, and Bottega Venetta, and other fashion brands like Zara and Mango. During our visit, we gained insights into their sustainability initiatives, witnessing firsthand their innovative wool recycling processes aimed at producing high-quality products at more accessible price points – I thought this was one of the most educational visits of the trip. Later that day, we visited the Gucci Artlab and Gucci Archives. Gucci Artlab particularly captivated me, as we saw all the Gucci creative prototypes for shoes and leather goods, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship behind each design before they undergo final approval from the design team. The Gucci Archives in the Palazzo Settimanni were also fascinating as we saw pieces from the 1930s still in pristine condition. 

The next day, we visited Tivoli, which specializes in providing and manufacturing leather goods for many European fashion houses. We heard about their supply chain and service offerings from their CEO. We then commuted to the Ferragamo Archives, where we saw many of their historic shoes worn by celebrities and royal personalities for the past century. We also went to their Palazzo (Spini Feroni), where we heard from James Ferragamo himself and listened to how they managed to keep a successful family business for three generations. 

One of the last visits of the trip was to the Benetti Shipyards in Livorno; here, we had the chance to hear from their marketing director on how they have consistently stayed the #1 luxury yacht brand for the past 20+ years. We also got a shipyard tour and daydreamed as we witnessed these beautiful boats. We also visited the NYU campus and got a tour of the priceless artwork and beautiful campus gardens.

The last visit of the trip was to Castello di Verazzano winery in Chianti. The beautiful views from the Tuscan region lay the perfect landscape as we got to try several of their wines and eat a delicious feast to say goodbye to such an incredible journey. The tour guide even gave us all a small portion of grappa to try at the end, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Since this visit, I have only looked out for Chianti Classico wines in NYC. On the way back to the hotel, our cohort belted out songs for the hour-and-a-half trip back to Florence and went for gelato to close the trip. 

Needless to say, this was a memorable trip where our cohort bonded and had the privilege of visiting spectacular locations and witnessing the supply chain and manufacturing of such renowned companies with our own eyes. Throughout the trip, we knew that graduation was only a few months away and that we had to take advantage of this time we all had together. I wouldn’t change anything about this trip, especially not the moments I enjoyed with the cohort that now feels like family. 

The Summer Semester in the Fashion & Luxury MBA Program

Maria Lafaurie, Class of 2025

Maria Alejandra Lafaurie is a current Fashion & Luxury MBA student specializing in strategy and luxury marketing. Before Stern, she worked in private equity in her home country, Colombia. Post-MBA, she plans to pursue a commercial position in a luxury firm. She is involved in the Cellar Club and the Latin American Business Association at Stern and enjoys dancing and flower arranging.

“It will be very intense,” “Be prepared to feel overwhelmed,” “It is immensely challenging.” These were some of the phrases rumbling in my head in the days leading up to the start of the Fashion and Luxury MBA summer term. After working in private equity for so many years, I figured I would be fully prepared for the rigor of the program – right?


An Intense Academic Summer

Well, private equity certainly prepared me, but the summer term was different than expected. It was very intense. The summer ramped up very quickly, not only academically but also socially. The peaceful campus did not reflect the number of courses, activities, and plans we attended. Even though some courses were genuinely challenging and feeling overwhelmed was the new normal, I felt reassured knowing that all my classmates were willing to help constantly. This made it easier and more fun. My 20 classmates became my New York family: they celebrated my birthday when I was new in town, supported me when I had a bad day, and taught me new skills. 


Meeting Fellow Students

Despite the small size of our cohort, we were paired with our fellow Tech MBAs in the core classes. This additional blending of points of view and backgrounds made courses incredibly enriching and very different—a true MBA experience. Apart from the academic aspect, the social interaction with all the ‘new MBAs’ made every evening seem like a Friday. Every day was a new adventure – from happy hours to trivia nights, we got to know new people and build long-lasting memories. 


The Fashion & Luxury Immersion

The highlight of my summer was the Fashion and Luxury Immersion Project, where we worked with a luxury firm in consulting for a real-life challenge. This project was the first big project in groups, where we had to understand the team dynamics and the roles within the team. In my case, my team members were marvelous, each bringing to the table their best abilities. During this project, we faced challenges that helped us become more curious and recursive. As an international student without previous experience in the industry, this project opened my eyes to how the industry works. It confirmed that pivoting my career was the best decision.


Now that the summer is over and the campus is filled with thousands of students, the memories and friendships born in the summer still linger. Looking back, I wouldn’t change the summer term for anything; it created a bond between classmates that otherwise would not have happened and allowed us to discover the campus in a way no other student can. Now that it is over, I am ready for the new adventure that is the fall quarter.


Wine tasting in the Hamptons. The best summer plan!

Photo of Maria and classmates during the summer

Bonding over Italian dinner and dancing! 

Photo of Maria with classmates during the summer

It’s in the Structure: The Foundations of our Fashion & Luxury MBA Program

Professor Thomaï Serdari is an international luxury authority with a unique background encompassing design, humanities, and business. She specializes in luxury marketing and branding, helping clients launch and manage luxury brands with a focus on creative innovation.  As the Academic Director of the Fashion & Luxury MBA at New York University, she draws on her interdisciplinary training to foster the next generation of industry leaders.  Prof. Serdari’s expertise is reflected in her contributions to various publications like Luxury Daily and VOGUE Business. She is the editor of the academic journal Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption and the host of the POPULUXE podcast, exploring luxury through unique objects and stories of desire.  Her book, “Rethinking Luxury Fashion: The Role of Cultural Intelligence in Creative Strategy,” further delves into her method.

Popular belief holds that an academic spends her summer away from classrooms, books, and students. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially for those of us teaching in NYU’s Stern School of Business Fashion & Luxury MBA, a program that starts in mid-May. Ours is the first and only North American MBA focused on fashion & luxury, built on a unique curriculum designed to respond to changes in the marketplace.

It has been five years since we launched this MBA. Having been involved with the program since its inception and leading its academic content since 2019, I gladly paused for the milestone celebration. I had the opportunity to take short jaunts in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states over the summer and took the time to reflect on what makes this program special. Absorbing the architecture of the region crystallized for me an important realization.

There is a special type of ingenuity that is seen in the way early American homes were built. I am not referring to their foundations. What defines the integrity of these houses, what has helped them survive for almost four centuries is their fireplaces. They usually form a very strong core with hearths on three sides. The wooden house is then built around these hearths and the rooms are designed in such angles so that each fireplace is used to its maximum utility warming up the rooms around it but also those in subsequent expansions either up or out.

Remarkably, this is precisely the structure that has been put in place for each one of the candidates that chooses this program for career advancement.  The foundations are there, of course. After all, this is a Master’s in Business Administration degree taught in the same classrooms, by the same professors, with the identical material used to teach the core curriculum in NYU Stern’s full-time and Langone MBA programs. The foundations are those of a top ranking, global research institution in business. Even though fully attached to the MBA core curriculum, the F&L subject areas are enhanced with material that addresses specific challenges in the fashion, beauty, retail, and luxury sectors and helps students apply the frameworks they are learning to real market situations. Electives from Stern’s impressive roster of world-class innovative courses that help the business world embrace the future round up a candidate’s education.

The uniqueness of the program stems from its design as a three-sided hearth. Each side represents a different aspect of this structure: A. Our partners; B. A Fashion & Luxury Council; and C. A network of industry professionals from our own community. 

A. Our partners (companies like PVH, LVMH, Kering, Richemont, Estée Lauder Companies, High Snobiety, Tapestry, L’Oréal etc.) offer instructional support through live cases, on-campus visits to meet our students at conferences, coffee chats, and formal recruiting events (when these occur) and hosting at their headquarters and boutiques for us to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges and breakthroughs, either in New York City or abroad.

B. The Fashion & Luxury Council consists of current and former executives with industry experience and a genuine interest in mentoring our students. With a one-on-one match based on common backgrounds and career goals, each one of the F&L Council members plays a pivotal role in helping our MBA candidates solidify their career direction, gain clarity over their recruiting approach, and grow the confidence needed to succeed. While traditionally fashion and luxury industries have groomed talent internally, today’s intense competition has contributed to a change of the guards and a new mindset that values and welcomes MBA holders as new recruits, the next generation of industry leaders.

C. Finally, in the last 12 years I have been teaching at NYU Stern, I have taught, mentored, and got to know many talented persons who are now happily employed in the industry and always happy to connect with the new Sternies, who are equally passionate about fashion, beauty, retail, and luxury. Our community of professionals is going strong, without even counting the rest of Stern’s global network.

If you intend to pursue NYU Stern’s Fashion & Luxury MBA, you should keep the visual of the three-sided hearth in mind while you envision a school year filled with unparalleled opportunities to learn about the industry and your role in it. The city’s fashion district, its adjacent industries of fashion shows and media, and the new economy of the city as a tech hub coalesce as the full expression of what drives the creative economies, right here, all around Gould Plaza. It all happens in New York City, the creative capital of North America, and a place we affectionately refer to as the “NYU campus.”

We will teach you the foundations. We will give you access to a three-sided hearth to ignite your journey. We will help you imagine the unique essence of your own blueprint in the now and into the future. What will your signature mark be as an industry professional?

What I Wish I Had Known

Cecilia is a former  Fashion & Luxury MBA student, specializing in Brand Management. Prior to Stern, Cecilia worked at Wayfair as a Merchant, curating top tier products for Wayfair’s exclusive brands. Post-MBA, he/she plans to start at H&M in the Leadership Rotational Program. At Stern, she is involved in the Luxury and Retail club and enjoys cooking and traveling in her free time.

When I considered applying to Stern for the Fashion and Luxury MBA, I had done extensive research about the program, but even then, there were still things I did not know until after I started the program. After graduating and having time to reflect on my time at Stern, these are three major things that I wish I had known before going into the program, and I believe every future applicant should keep in mind before starting.

It’s Not One Size Fits All

First, I wish I understood that there was no “right” time to attend the program. When applying, I was extremely concerned about my 2 years of experience, and if that would be enough to make me a competitive applicant. After attending the program, and meeting all of my wonderful classmates and various members of the incoming class of 2024, I have come to learn that there is no one size fits all timeline for this program. The program gives you the opportunity to make the most of it, regardless of the position you are in professionally. Furthermore, every student, regardless of their professional experiences, brings in a strong perspective, and contributes to the class as a whole in different ways. This was a huge concern for me prior to applying to the program, and I wish I spent less time stressing about this particular detail. 

Jump Right In

The second thing that took me by surprise was how quickly the program ramps up, specifically within the summer. Since I had to relocate for the program, I had to find housing in NYC. When the program started, I was still solidifying my housing in NYC, living with my family just outside of the city for the first weeks of the MBA. I had originally anticipated that the program would start slowly, similar to how my college courses had progressed. Instead, the program ramps up pretty quickly, throwing you right into the action. It is an extremely exciting time, but also an extremely busy time in your life, and I wish I had recognized just how busy I was going to be in those first few months, and how important it was to get situated prior to the start of the program.

Relationships are Key

Finally, I wish I did not overcommit myself for the first few months of the program. I had previous plans already set up in regards to trips with friends, and events, which left little time for the various activities and events that program and the Stern community had to offer. I ended up juggling different events, and constantly feeling like I needed to choose between something I had previously committed to, and an event with new friends and classmates that was coming up. For incoming students, I suggest intentionally leaving time on your calendar free to continue to build relationships within the Stern community, and take advantage of all the opportunities and events that the Stern community has to offer. 

Overall, my experience at Stern was overwhelmingly positive, and while there are always challenges that accompany any situation, I am beyond thankful for my time at Stern, and all the positive memories I was able to make. While making decisions like going back to school can be daunting, speaking to current students and learning about their journeys is one of the best ways in which I was able to make my decision, and I hope that my experience can help prepare you for what is to come, wherever you are in your application journey.

My Job Application Experience

*NYU Stern’s Fashion & Luxury MBA program was renamed to the Luxury & Retail MBA program.*

Jennifer Rice comes to NYU Stern with over six years of experience as a Design Director in sustainability and performance brands. After working as a designer for shoes and ready-to-wear at Zero + Maria Cornejo, she went on to start up her own consulting company in 2021, aligning new and established brands with partners across the east coast for brand development and production services. Jennifer is a Graduate Ambassador, AVP of Admissions for SISA, and admissions committee member for SWIB. Aside from work and school, you can find Jennifer at Washington Square Park dog run with her roommates, Meredith and Elizabeth, and their dog, Stella. 

When I began my recruitment journey at Stern, I had a pretty good idea of “what” I wanted to do, but wanted to explore all the different avenues of getting there. After exploring different avenues like Consulting, Merchandising, and even for a moment, Venture Capital, I realized that I was looking for a bit more of a holistic experience in my next role. Because of my background of being with one company for many years, to then having a consulting practice where I had multiple clients at a time, I realized my next move needed to be one where I have the opportunity to really understand a company from every angle and perspective. I wanted to see the way different departments operated and worked together, before settling into a specific vertical within a company, and a rotational program really spoke to me in that regard. Additionally, I found that I have really enjoyed the learning and mentorship environment at Stern, so I was hoping to find a program that emphasized this in order to continue that thread in my professional career post MBA.

Deciding a Path

Next, I educated myself on the different roles typically offered to Stern MBA students in retail, and immediately there was one that stuck out to me. It had everything I had hoped for: an incredible sustainable department that was looking for continued growth, a strong consumer insights team, and a really positive company culture. To really emphasize that last part: being in the fashion industry, I had become accustomed to the fact that work days would be 12+ hours and the culture wouldn’t always be friendly. I can safely say that this theory is not always the case, and that you *can* find the balance. 

The Application Process

Once the application process began, it started with me sending applications with my resume and cover letter to the companies I was interested in, which was posted on the 12Twenty careers site, available to all NYU Stern students. A few weeks later, emails started being sent out inviting me to schedule first round interviews, which typically consist of both behavioral and more analytical based interviews. I used my casing prep from the Management Consulting Association (MCA)  to get ready for the more technical interviews, and did due diligence by researching the companies and really figuring out how I would fit in and add to the community. Then, I worked with my peers on behavioral interview prep. A wonderful process my friends and I did was to ask a behavioral question (like: tell me about a time you overcame a challenge) in the group chat every morning and each person would respond back with a voice note of their answer. We’d respond back to each other with feedback and it was so helpful to hear the different perspectives! 


Once those interviews are complete, invites are typically sent out for a final round. Given the post-covid world, some companies will do the final round virtually or in person. When it’s in person, it’s really fun meeting the other MBA students from other schools invited to the final round as well, which might sound like intense competition, but rather it feels more like an opportunity to network! For final rounds, you may be prompted to do a behavioral interview again, but you also may be asked to do a presentation on a topic, a case interview, or even a group case. I know these days can seem really stressful and daunting since you’re evaluated on so many different factors, but I noticed when I stopped viewing it as a one way street of if they were going to like me, my anxiety on the matter disintegrated. Instead, view it as an opportunity to understand if the environment and people at the company make you feel that you’ll be able to really add to the company in an impactful way and succeed. My biggest takeaway from the experience of recruitment was that you know yourself better than anyone else, so look to emulate your traits of impact in a light that’s truthful to who you are. There’s no right or wrong in your answers, as long as you stay true to yourself and identify the ways you can make a successful impact at your target company and role. 

Learning About the Fashion & Luxury MBA












Jennifer Rice comes to NYU Stern with over six years of experience as a Design Director in sustainability and performance brands. After working as a designer for shoes and ready-to-wear at Zero + Maria Cornejo, she went on to start up her own consulting company in 2021, aligning new and established brands with partners across the east coast for brand development and production services. Jennifer is a Graduate Ambassador, AVP of Admissions for SISA, and admissions committee member for SWIB. Aside from work and school, you can find Jennifer at Washington Square Park dog run with her roommates, Meredith and Elizabeth, and their dog, Stella. 

Being a Graduate Ambassador, we get loads of questions surrounding the F&L MBA. My parents always told me to live by the mantra to be curious from every angle. I.e. go down the path of research that will fulfill the questions most important to you, personally. Investigating is encouraged when looking at any MBA program you may be interested in applying to, as each program will offer a different set of unique characteristics and offerings that are catered to different candidates. So while there’s no one clear answer, I’m going to do my best to lay out the system I made for myself during my era of MBA research that helped me make my decision!

1. Attend.

Sadly, I don’t mean attending actual Stern quite yet! I mean going on our school’s website (click here) to sign up for “Ask me Anything” sessions with current students (“AMAs”), Info Sessions, and any other school sponsored events. Typically, these sessions are led by students currently in the program, Admissions Members, and sometimes even Professors teaching mock classes! You will not only understand through the presentations what Stern and the Fashion & Luxury program is all about, but you’ll also gain insight to the vibe of the community. For me, this was really important for myself to understand that if Stern was an environment I would not only be successful as a student, but also successful in feeling I could give back to the community. 

The AMA’s are great for those burning questions you may have on the student experience and what the course load looks and feels like. You are free to ask questions to a current student and hear the questions from other prospective students as well (this is something I appreciated, as I didn’t always know what to ask, so I liked the opportunity to hear other insightful questions!). 

Info Sessions are hosted by an Admissions Member and a Graduate Ambassador. This is great to understand the course schedule, recruitment opportunities, and more information on our immersion programs. Additionally, the Admissions Member will walk you through the application and its requirements. I think every applicant should attend at least one of these sessions for further insight in applying and attending the Fashion & Luxury MBA at Stern.

2. Read, listen, and investigate.

I cannot emphasize this step enough. Read these awesome Fashion & Luxury blog posts, go on other MBA news coverage websites, and watch videos posted by Stern about the program! A lot of times we get questions Stern has already answered (and answered even better than I ever could have) about the culture, scheduling, and opportunities during and after the program. When I was trying to visualize myself in the program, I took to reading about the program from other forums and news outlets to really understand the professors (and their classes offered) and the community Stern encompasses. The videos of students speaking about the International Immersion and the career placement opportunities were a quick google away (and also on the website!) and got me thinking about my own career ambitions post graduation. Just getting back from our Immersion trip in January, my experience was filled with not only meeting with inspiring international industry leaders, but also learning about craftsmanship and luxury supply chain processes. 

3. Reach out!

After you’ve done steps 1 & 2, it’s time to reach out to us! (click here). Hot tip: It’s always so impressive when it’s clear a prospective student has done their research before contacting current students. It’s clear through your thoughtful questions that you’re genuinely interested in the program, which makes our time to speak with you that much more helpful! We will always do our best to answer your questions, and can segue to our fellow incredible classmates that may be better suited to answer your questions. This is a great opportunity to get that next level of understanding of the program and professionals it attracts– fulfilling that final piece of the puzzle in your journey of understanding if Stern’s Fashion & Luxury MBA program is right for you.

4. Write it out.

Finally, after all the investigating, I took to writing out my thoughts. I weighed out themes based on how important it was to my MBA experience (i.e. Location: NYC, Score: A+, Importance: 5/5). I know, I know, this might seem excessive to some, but it helped me make my decision that much easier and feel that much more logical because I was able to balance the qualitative and quantitative aspects for choosing the perfect MBA culture for me. As I said in the beginning of this blog post, there really is no perfect way to learn more about a program, as long as you make sure you investigate from every angle, giving you the confidence in making a decision for the next chapter of your career!

Choosing Between the Two-Year and the Fashion & Luxury MBA












Cecilia Marmolejos is a current Fashion and Luxury MBA student, specializing in Luxury Marketing. Prior to Stern, Cecilia worked at Wayfair as a Site merchandiser, and as a merchant. Post-MBA, she plans to pursue a career in brand management. At Stern, she is involved in the luxury retail club, and Stern Women in Business. 

Deciding which MBA program to pursue is a big decision, especially with unique offerings like NYU Stern’s one-year Fashion & Luxury MBA. After I had decided to pursue an MBA, I began my research, looking into top schools across the country. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to go to a school that helped me break into the beauty and fashion industry. Out of all the schools I looked at, NYU Stern had the best network in that area due to the Fashion and Luxury program. In addition to the strong network, NYU also had such passionate and welcoming students. I spoke to several alumni, in addition to current students at the time, all of whom expressed a deep appreciation for the NYU community. It became clear that NYU would give me the opportunity to receive an incredible education, and also expose me to incredible people and opportunities in beauty and fashion with the Fashion and Luxury MBA. 

While doing my research, I also came to realize there were a number of differences between our program and the traditional, two-year MBA program. The Fashion and Luxury program is unique, with NYU being one of the first schools to design this new type of MBA program. The Fashion and Luxury MBA is a focused one-year program, running from May to May. In addition to the timeline, there are several elements in which the Fashion and Luxury program differs from the 2 year MBA program, which I have outlined below. The one-year is specifically designed to expose students to core business principles, while also immersing students in the world of luxury and retail. 


Other than timing, I believe one of the main components that makes the Fashion and Luxury program unique is the close knit community that NYU fosters. Our cohort this year is 23 people, whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know very well over the last 7 months. We all share a passion for the retail and luxury industry, and have been able to attend different fashion and beauty events, plan trips and share insights on the industry. I have met some incredible people, with a variety of different backgrounds, skills, and experiences, which have been able to help me advance inside and outside of the classroom. 


In addition to the community that this program builds, the Fashion and Luxury MBA allows students the opportunity to take courses that genuinely interest them. During this program, I have been able to take core business classes that are tweaked to incorporate language from the fashion and luxury industry. The marketing class taken during the summer semester was a great example of this – the class was made of just Fashion and Luxury students, and we were able to review cases that focused on different retail companies. We were able to have meaningful conversations, and hear not only from the professor, but I was able to learn from my classmates. One of the cases that I really enjoyed reading during Marketing was the Dolce & Gabbana case. We learned about the missteps D&G took as a brand, and how an insensitive campaign they launched impacted their sales and growth in Asia. This case sparked great conversation, and a number of my classmates shared their insights and opinions on D&G’s PR nightmare. 

Networking Opportunities

Lastly, the Fashion and Luxury MBA differs due to the variety of networking opportunities that exist. The program has a series of courses called Stern Solutions courses, which involve a number of interactive components, including different panel discussions with various industry executives, corporate presentations from various professionals, and lastly, guest lectures from experts. This course was offered exclusively to Fashion and Luxury students in the summer, and was offered to both my cohort and Full-time MBA students and in the fall. These courses expose you to different topics within the industry, and allow you to network with professionals from different areas. A speaker that comes to mind that the class really enjoyed was Lillian Tung, the owner of the wellness company Fur. She shared her story discussing how she founded the company, what it took to build her business with a partner, and engaged in a Q&A session with the class. A number of students, including myself, are interested in entrepreneurship, and this was a great opportunity to learn more about creating a business, and the difficulties associated with raising capital, and dealing with investors. 

Overall, the Fashion and Luxury MBA program gives students the opportunity to gain an MBA, while specializing in a specific industry. It has been an incredible experience, and I am excited to continue to see what comes from the remainder of the program.  

Networking with Alumni & Current Students

Cindy Wang is a current Fashion & Luxury MBA student, specializing in Luxury Marketing, Business Analytics, and Strategy. Prior to Stern, she was at Tiffany & Co. as the Jewelry Supply Chain Analyst for the High Jewelry, Diamond Collections side for the last 3 years. This role solidified her interest and aspiration to continue in the luxury & retail industry.




Network. Network. Network. This is probably something we’ve all heard about and have ingrained in our brains ever since undergrad. I’m sure with our extensive research of business schools, we agree with the general consensus that B School is all about networking (and the memories and new friends, of course). Located in NYC, a retail and luxury capital, I knew that Stern would, no doubt, expand my professional network to build lasting relationships with alumni and industry experts.


The alumni network at Stern is INCREDIBLE. Just one semester in, and I’ve already met a myriad of alumni who have such interesting career paths. From the CFO of Bonobos to a Senior Manager at Accenture, our Immersion classes have been nothing short of amazing for building new connections. The process of networking is more organic and less daunting thanks to these Stern created experiences. The interactions between the alumni guest speakers and my classmates spark up interesting perspectives and allow us to have intellectual and fun conversations!

After each guest speaker, I usually connect with them on LinkedIn to build my network. They are all quick to connect and are very open to speak with you about their time at Stern and their career paths. I’ve scheduled meetings to speak with the alumni and they were all generous with their time and open to speaking more about the industry as well as school and career trajectories. They are always so intrigued with our program since it’s relatively new so it’s definitely a great conversation starter!

Our cohort was also able to set up an event with the last cohort at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was super fun to all get together to visit the Costume Institute Exhibits and hang out on the rooftop. This was such a great way to meet the alumni who graduated just before we started and to get their perceptions of the program, as well as any tips and tricks they could share with us. I would highly suggest reaching out to the program’s past cohorts to set up an event and get to know each other!

Current Students

My cohort is incredibly talented. They come from diverse backgrounds and each of them brings a unique perspective to our classroom discussions. We’ve spent the last 3 months together everyday and I am constantly learning something new. We have people from consulting, editorial, and finance backgrounds, and it’s been so fascinating to learn what each person did in their previous roles. 

I’ve gained so much more insight into the fashion and luxury industry since joining the program and a large part of it comes from my classmates.  My cohort is one of the best resources; whether it is setting up time to speak about their career or introducing me to a coworker, my classmates have offered support and opened me to more networking opportunities beyond what I imagined.

Stern will help you embrace networking–your first semester will be figuring out how to connect and learn from alumni and your classmates, but you’ll be an expert in no time! With so many opportunities to foster a natural relationship with people, Stern offers an environment of open communication and excitement through these connections. Through this supportive program, you will meet the best of the best and everyone is willing to get to know you and just have an open conversation!