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.

Reflections upon Graduation

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. 

Wow. 

That’s really the only word I can really put here to encapsulate what I feel while writing this. It’s surreal for me to wrap up our class’s Blog Posts knowing we’re signing off as students and going forward as accomplished graduates of NYU Stern Fashion & Luxury MBA (FLUX) Class of 2023.

I mean, I still need to figure out what outfit I’m putting on under the NYU purple graduation gown for crying out loud… I’m not ready for this y’all! 

But in all seriousness, this was a special class. Everytime I went to write this post, I would put it off, not because I’m trying to procrastinate, but because I think this really means our cohort’s time at Stern is coming to an end. And while I never imagined referring to myself as a “Sternie”…

This Sternie tears up like a cheeseball thinking about the past 12 months of my life. If you ask my undergrad or highschool peers, none of them would say I was a “rah rah” school spirit kind of girl, but this experience here at Stern and with these 22 other individuals has completely changed me. My theory is that when the environment around you lifts you up, time after time; a cohort who believes in you, and inspires you… you can’t help but feel immense pride and pleasure to call this MBA cohort “home.” 

I could go on and tell you about my favorite experiences, my wisdom, and hacks to your google calendar so you make it to every coffee chat and class. But, I also realize you’ve heard from me quite a lot this year: I’ve written 4 of these blog posts, had dozens of coffee chats, and spoke in info sessions and AMAs. And everytime, you would find me rambling on and on about the wonderful experience here at Stern and how much I love my classmates.

But, I thought I’d give you all a break from me and the gift of some fresh voices this time. Instead of me telling you again about all about all these incredible classmates that made me so school spirited and passionate this past year, why don’t I just have them tell you about it themselves? Their wisdom and insights are better than anything I’ll ever be able to type here.

So without further ado, here’s my inspiring peers insights to what their last year has been like and what they’ve learned:

Anna Smedsrud

“As someone who moved to New York specifically for this program, I had a lot of apprehension around making friends. I assumed that, since many in the program had lived in New York for years and had their own established lives and groups, they wouldn’t have the time or energy to forge a friendship with someone new like me. My apprehensions were proven wrong day one, and continue to be proven wrong. The individuals in this program have shown me openness, vulnerability, and a willingness to connect that I had never experienced before. My classmates’ vulnerability and openness existed both outside and in the classroom, as many spoke up in our class discussions to share profound opinions that I possessed, too, but had never been brave enough to voice. I am walking away from Stern with a newfound confidence in myself and who I want to be, fueled by the friendships and connections I made this year. My classmates are the brightest, kindest people I know and I am so proud to be a part of their communities.”

Ali Oshinsky

“I wish the ones who believe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks could have followed me to school this year. Because, although I wouldn’t say my FLUX peers and I are old, I do know that every one of us learned. Before starting at Stern, I assumed that a specialized  program would mean people in my classes would likely be into the same stuff I am. A benefit of the specialization that I didn’t anticipate is that because many of us are making career pivots, my cohort has approached classwork with a self-imposed rigor, genuineness, and willingness to fail. I’ve noticed that it takes a specific type of person to put their social life on hold and adopt a beginner’s mindset in the classroom. This year was hard! However, our small class was able to pool our resources and create the most incredible safety net. At every point this year I felt supported by my classmates. I feel truly that their success will be mine, too. Aside from accounting, econ, finance, and modeling, what I learned this year is that I am so much more capable of growth than I thought I was. I am so lucky to have gotten to witness the same transformations in my friends, too.”

Amy Lore

“Do not underestimate the power of love in your cohort. You will be spending every school day, weekends, and even holidays with the group of people in this room. You will probably see them more than you see your family or significant others in the next year. You will laugh, cry, scream, and travel together. You will celebrate highs, lows, and milestones by each other’s side and you will lean on each other in your academic, professional, and personal lives… more than you know. As you pursue this advanced degree and inevitably stress about job placement, do not forget about the value of friendship and the 20 other people who are sharing this journey with you.”

Emily Kappes

“As I look back on my year with my cohort, I cannot fully articulate the gratitude I feel towards the twenty-three people that changed how I thought: about retail, but also about myself. It’s these twenty-three people that I grew with, learned from, and developed lifelong friendships; like a sponge, I absorbed a little bit of each of them – their interests, opinions, strengths – over the past twelve months.

The reality is you will never have the opportunity to be surrounded by a group of people who care about the future of retailing – be it fashion, luxury, apparel, or beauty – like those in your cohort. They will help you learn and grow and think in a way no other place or program will ever be able to offer. For that, I am forever grateful to this program, and to each and every person in my cohort.”

Alexandra Friedman

“I’m walking away from this year with an important takeaway: the more diverse the room, the better off you are. I have loved learning about our different cultures, different industries, and different viewpoints. We all have such varied and unique perspectives, and it’s made my experience richer and more valuable.”

Katelyn Vu

“Since our cohort is small with diverse backgrounds and experiences, I learned a lot from each and every single person. I love how invested we are in each other’s success and have always tried our best to help wherever we can. I wouldn’t have done it any other way”

Cecilia Marmolejos

 “I think my learning for the year is not to underestimate how much you can learn from your peers. I think over the course of the year we’ve had some incredible exposure to different professionals within the industry. We’ve had so many different people come in and explain to us what their job functions look like and what their industries look like. They would talk to us about different market trends and give us guidance on things we should be working on personally to try and make ourselves better professionals. But in addition to that, I feel like it’s been really incredible to see just how much our cohort has become sort of like an ecosystem of shared learning. 

We’re all constantly trying to help each other. Throughout our recruiting processes and throughout just different hurdles we’ve all needed to overcome at some point, we saw each time our community came together and really tried to help each one of us and push things forward. We worked to make sure everyone’s individual goals and aspirations were achieved and honestly that’s not something that I really thought was going to come out of school. I was kind of expecting to go and pay for the education and receive lectures from different professionals that the school is providing us, but it’s been a really incredible experience to truly learn from each and everyone of our friends in our cohort.”

Cindy Wang

“Stern has a diverse range of students from different backgrounds and this advantage helped me learn from students around me with real life experiences from different industries, which broadened my horizon.”

Laura Laufer

 “If you have an open mind, you will learn just as much (if not more) from your cohort as you will from your professors. Your peers have so much to offer. We all came from different backgrounds, industries, and functions, but we all have had the same patience and compassion for each other, and have lifted each other up since day 1. Given the intensity of this program, your cohort truly becomes your family and support system. Never underestimate the love and friendship that can come out of enduring high-pressure situations together. Lean into the tough times because they develop the strongest friendships — friendships that will develop into future networks.”

Rose Soiffer-Kosins

“The FLUX MBA is a time to go out of your comfort zone and focus on things that scare you and push yourself to do things that you would usually avoid. Stern is actually a really safe place for you to take those risks because everyone is so supportive. It might not seem like it on the outside, but I learned that many others shared the same fears that I had—like public speaking, for example. I was able to develop myself alongside a tight-knit, supportive group of individuals which allowed me to focus on my weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”

Timothy Jaw

“Man what a year this has been? I can’t believe everything that has passed by. If I could pass along one takeaway, I would say it’s to be more open to spontaneity. Life is unexpected and there will always be something in your day that will make you stressed or anxious (especially in business school), but there will also be random moments (for me usually unplanned) that will bring you happiness and joy. Those unplanned moments are the ones that will maybe give you clarity and help push you out of your comfort zone. By being flexible and open to new people and experiences, you’ll have the opportunity to exchange information and it will eventually define who you are. You never know who you’ll meet or what conversations you’ll have, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s okay to take a break, enjoy the weather, grab a drink with classmates, or go shopping. You are in school and the structure will always be there if you need it. In fact, many times the structure can help you find new ways to connect. Take this time while you are in school to lean into those moments more and see how you might be inspired.”

Joey Rudee

“From the moment I received my acceptance letter to NYU Stern’s Fashion and Luxury MBA program, I knew that this would be a transformative experience. But as I walked into orientation on my first day, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of apprehension. Would the reality live up to my expectations?

Now, nearly a year later, I can confidently say that NYU Stern has exceeded all of my expectations. Not once did I look back. Not once did I question whether this was the right program for me. And not once did I question whether this program was worth my time and financial commitment. What made my time at NYU Stern so memorable were the people I met. My classmates were some of the most intelligent and inspiring individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. They challenged me, supported me, and encouraged me to be the best version of myself. And my professors at Stern were unmatched in their expertise and commitment to their craft.

I know that I am leaving a better person. I am more confident in my abilities, more knowledgeable about my industry, and more committed to making a positive impact. As I prepare to graduate from NYU Stern, I’ll be proud to say I left Stern, and Stern left me, better than I found it.”

This is Flux MBA Class of 2023 officially signing off. 

We’ve absolutely loved getting to share our experiences and insights with you all and we sincerely welcome the Flux Class of 2024!! 

DBi Morocco 2023: Experience of a Lifetime

Timothy Jaw is a current Fashion & Luxury MBA student, specializing in Management and Luxury Marketing. Prior to Stern, Timothy built and ran his own brands, Jaw x Jawshop and OPTIONS New York.  Post-MBA, he plans to continue working on his brands.  At Stern, he is involved in the Luxury and Retail Club and enjoys meeting new people and being outside.

What is Doing Business in… or DBi?

If you’re looking to apply at Stern, you might have seen or heard about Doing Business In… or DBi.  It’s one of the programs that all Stern students can apply for in which you get to take classes in another country with a bunch of other NYU Stern MBA students, usually with a partner University for a week or two depending on the destination and timing.  In my case, I was fortunate enough to go to DBi Morocco in March 2023 over my Spring Break.

Why Morocco?

Two of my Fashion & Luxury classmates were also on my DBi and low key, their excitement about going to Morocco persuaded me to do this location as well.  Also, I ended up choosing Morocco because it worked well with my Spring 2023 course load and I thought to myself, when am I ever going to get the chance again to go to Morocco with 39 other people on an organized weekly agenda with site visits, company tours, and charter buses!?  Lastly, I never got to study abroad in undergrad, so the opportunity to travel internationally with my classmates and take courses abroad was at the top of my list of experiences I wanted to try while at Stern.

Was it worth it?

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous and stressed out about going to my DBi Morocco.  I remember telling my classmates how I wish I didn’t sign up for it the week I had to embark.  However, this was just my fight or flight syndrome kicking in, and once I flew over the Strait of Gibraltar and saw the beauty of Morocco’s landscape I was immediately mesmerized and ready to experience what my next 10 days were going to be like.

Morocco was so lush and the DBi experience did not disappoint!

In terms of curriculum, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner school and itinerary.  The professors from NYU’s partner school, ESCA in Casablanca had guest speakers and company visits lined up for us all week and traveled with us everyday to each site.  They even went from Casablanca to Marrakech with us and gave us a tour of the historic sites, gave us a street food tour, and organized dinners at some of their favorite restaurants.  They demonstrated Moroccan hospitality culture to the fullest!  We got to hear from amazing women entrepreneurs from Morocco on a panel, heard from the head of Moroccan tourism, visited the largest soap and Moroccan oil manufacturer, and also heard from speakers who specialized in Moroccan finance, real estate, politics, and overall best business practices.

What was the best thing about it?

Being exposed to a new culture, interacting with the locals, and the overall energy of everyone on the trip with me was definitely my favorite part of the DBi.  Everyone was so nice, open-minded, and down to meet new people, embracing a culture that none of us were too familiar with, and exploring together!  I think this is the overall energy of all DBi at NYU Stern. 

Everyone that I met on the trip, whether from NYU or Morocco, was so open-minded and it was a breath of fresh air to be exposed to a country and landscape so different from New York City.  For the most part, none of us had been to Morocco before and this gave us all a chance to experience trying new things together and be out of our comfort zones in a group environment.  It really helped forge lasting memories, insights, and friendships.

Would you do it again?

It was the most magical time, the thrill of adventure, meeting new people, being submerged in a culture that I was not familiar with, and learning from the professors, working professionals, and entrepreneurs of Morocco.  Our program partnered with ESCA School of Management in Casablanca.  We met so many great people while attending the scheduled programming including Moroccan professors, women entrepreneurs, and many of the local business owners who shared their craft with us.  Not to mention, hearing more about the local industries and focuses of the country from these experts working in Morocco really opened up my eyes about the future of Morocco and Africa.  I actually can’t wait to go back and keep learning more about this continent.

In Summary

It was like NYU orientation all over again, the energy and excitement of meeting a bunch of new  people and going through an intensive but structured itinerary together.  You are with the same people for a week and traveling from city to city (in our case, Casablanca to Marrakech) and attending site tours, speaker engagements, and company visits all together.  Everyone was so nice and amazing and by the end of it I felt like we were on a reality show and we had just been gathered to film a pilot season of a show before going back to our lives.  We still keep the group text active, have a reunion event coming up, and I would do it again in a heartbeat; advising every student to partake in this or study abroad.  The adventure, thrill, value, and exposure to new cultures is far to none and will be an experience of a lifetime with memories and friends you will never forget!

A Day in the Life of an F&L MBA Student

Katelyn Vu is a current Fashion & Luxury MBA student, specializing in Luxury Marketing and Brand Management. Prior to Stern, she worked at Neo Media World (WPP) as a Marketing Manager. Katelyn has 5+ years of experience in digital marketing and strategy, partnering with EssilorLuxottica, Amazon, Sony and a variety of tech companies. At Stern, she is involved in the Luxury & Retail Club. Outside of work and school, Katelyn enjoys traveling around the world and trying different cuisines.

As an NYU Stern MBA student, my days are filled with classes, group meetings, networking events and social engagements. Thus, time management skills are critical and Google Calendar is my friend. No days are the same, but here is a snapshot of a typical day in my life as a “FLUX” (Fashion & Luxury) MBA student.

With multiple alarms starting at 7AM, my day usually begins around then. I often listen to news podcasts like Up First by NPR  as I prepare for school. Around 8:20 AM, I head down to the subway. Since I live near World Trade Center, my commute to school is only 20 minutes by train and it’s a great time to check my emails and skim through news articles from the Business of Fashion and Vogue Business sites. Once I get to school, I stop by Matto Espresso in the Stern Sosnoff Lounge for an iced latte and some baked goods to get myself ready for a full day of activities.

At 9AM, it’s time for class. Today, in Pricing class, we learn about regression analysis and profit maximization strategy. After the morning class, I swing by the Nyman Family Reading Room – aka the quiet grad lounge – on the 4th floor to work on my homework and review the cases for my next class.

For lunch, I usually pick up something nearby to munch on while continuing to work on my projects and papers. However, I have scheduled a coffee chat with a Stern alum today so I head to Hudson Yards for the meeting. 

After lunch, I come back to campus and swing by the Office of Career Development to prep myself for the recruiting season. The Careers team helps with job search strategy as well as resume and cover letter review, and mock interviews. 

At 3 PM, it’s time for another class. The afternoon session is Brand Strategy with Professor Gormley. We discuss the brand identity of legacy brands such as Chase and National Geographic. We, then, break into groups to work on our projects.

At NYU Stern, we get a lot of opportunities to meet with industry leaders as it is located in the center of NYC. Student organizations often invite company founders and industry experts to speak about their experiences and perspectives on different topics. These events are a great way to build connections. I usually say hello to the speakers and introduce myself at the end of each event. Today, we get to hear from Liah Yoo, founder of Krave Beauty. It’s so inspiring to hear about her journey in creating and growing her business, and how she has authentically competed in the beauty industry.

At 5:50 PM, I run to my pilates class in Soho. It is very important for me to try to stay healthy amidst my busy schedule!

By 7:30PM, it’s time to relax and socialize. I head to MacDougal Street right near campus to meet my friends for a drink and dinner. This is my chance to get to know my classmates and continue to build relationships that will last beyond graduation.

My day ends around 10 PM as I head home to prepare for the next day. 

Career Resources & Recruiting

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. 

At Stern, I have felt extremely supported when it comes to my career journey. I came in with an interest in beauty, and no prior experience in that segment, and feel like Stern has given me certain opportunities that I otherwise would not have had exposure to. 

At the beginning of the Fashion & Luxury MBA, the Office of Career Development explained to my class that students have two different opportunities for recruiting. The first is called cyclical recruitment, which happens in the fall and is commonly found in large companies that can anticipate their headcount. The second is just in time recruiting which happens in the spring closer to graduation, and is much more prevalent in the fashion and luxury industries. For myself, I decided to recruit in the fall, and found the process to be manageable, despite how many steps there are, due to the career resources at Stern. Regardless of when you decide to recruit, I recommend working on polishing your resume and a draft cover letter, so when a job opens up, you have a base template that you can tailor to a specific job function. A great resource to elevate your cover letter is the Office of Career Development. 

During my recruiting journey, I utilized Stern’s portal for campus recruiting jobs, which gives students access to jobs that are specifically targeting MBA students. I applied for a job through this portal, and additionally attended on campus presentations that Stern facilitates, where students hear from company representatives looking to hire Sternies. When recruiting, it can be an extremely time consuming process. I would try to segment out weekly time, to ensure I was taking time to network within Stern’s contacts, polish my resume, and look for job opportunities. By segmenting out time every week, it made it easier for me to enjoy on campus events and balance my social calendar outside of recruiting and classes. Additionally, given this program is one year, it provides you such a unique opportunity to experience an MBA, while also preparing for the workforce in an expedited timeline. For those who chose this type of program, I recommend consistently meeting with mentors and the Office of Career Development to keep yourself accountable at all steps of the process.

For my specific process, I applied to H&M’s rotational program and received so much support from the office of career development. I worked closely with Fatim, who helped me from my resume, to crafting my cover letter, and then helped me run through a presentation for my interview. Once I received an offer, the Careers Team was also there to help me walk through the offer, to ensure I was comfortable with accepting the position. I felt personally supported by Fatim, and am beyond grateful for her help and encouragement throughout an extremely stressful process. 

In addition to the Careers Team, Stern’s alumni community is extremely supportive during the recruiting process. Stern helps connect students with alums who share their recruiting histories, and are willing to help chat with students about where they are now. There are a variety of corporate presentations led by Stern alumni, which is a great opportunity to network, and learn about different position openings. In my case, I was able to speak to alums that currently work at H&M, to understand what their day to day functions look like, and what their career trajectories would be post rotational programs. This really allowed me to get a feel for what the company would actually be like, and furthermore excited me to apply. 

Overall, Stern has made the recruiting process less daunting, and I am grateful for all the support I have received throughout this process. Post MBA, I will be joining H&M in their Leadership Training Program. I am excited for what my future holds, and am beyond thankful for those who have helped me get here.

Reflections on our Winter Immersion in Florence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Smedsrud is a current Fashion & Luxury MBA student, specializing in Strategy, Brand Management, and Luxury Marketing. Prior to Stern, Anna was working as a retail negotiations consultant at Target Corporate in Minneapolis. Post-MBA, she will start as a senior consultant in customer and marketing strategy at Deloitte. Anna is currently involved in the Stern Run Club and is interning in retail operations at L’Occitane. In her free time, she enjoys trying out new NYC restaurants, reading fiction, and watching Bravo. 

It’s been almost 6 weeks since we arrived back in New York from our winter immersion in Florence, yet I’ve found myself missing the pear ravioli from 4 Leoni and the beautiful views of Piazza Santa Maria Novella nearly every single day. As a Fashion and Luxury MBA cohort, we spent 8 days together in Italy observing and studying the operations of multiple small and medium Italian enterprises and appreciating, up-close, the beauty of Italian craftsmanship. This trip was incredibly educational – as you can imagine, it was a 3 credit course! – but it was also filled with opportunities to appreciate art and culture and to form new and more meaningful friendships with my cohort. I walked away with a deeper appreciation for each of my 22 classmates, and I am so grateful for this time together.

I wanted to take this space to highlight my top three favorite experiences from Florence. I hope these highlights can give a small taste of the joy that was our 2023 winter immersion.

1. Manteco Factory – Manteco is a recycled wool company with a factory located in a small town outside Florence, and we had the opportunity to both tour the factory and explore their showroom. Manteco’s commitment to producing 100% recycled (and recyclable), high quality fabrics showcased that sustainability and luxury can live together as one.

2. Ferragamo archives and museum – we spent a full day learning about Ferragamo, the shoemaker to the stars, and his strong, strategic family and enduring, innovative brand. We walked through Ferragamo’s carefully kept archives, watched shoes being made in one of their factories, and explored the Ferragamo museum located within the Ferragamo house in the heart of Florence. 

 

3. Closing Seminar at NYU Florence – our last day in Florence was spent at NYU Florence, an academic building of New York University located in Villa La Pietra, a 1400s Tuscan villa gifted to NYU in the 1990s. The grounds were stunning, and walking through them, enjoying the sunshine and taking in the Tuscan mountain views was the perfect way to close out our time together.

It was difficult to narrow these top highlights as many moments from our time in Florence stood out. Honorable mentions include gelato outside the Duomo, vintage shopping at sunset, seeing Botticellis for the first time in the Uffizi, and countless, wonderful encounters with local Italians. Italy is a wonderful place to study fashion and to appreciate art, and it was the perfect place to kick-off our final semester as Fashion and Luxury MBA students.

A Taste of the Fashion & Luxury (FLux) Curriculum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose Soiffer-Kosins is a current Fashion & Luxury MBA student, specializing in Digital Strategy and Luxury Marketing. Prior to Stern, Rose worked in merchandise planning at Issey Miyake and styling at Nordstrom. Outside of work and school, Rose loves collecting vintage clothing and exploring Prospect Park.

My FLUX classes so far have covered a diverse range of topics, from Finance and Accounting to Marketing and Strategy. As someone from a more creative background and a tendency to avoid math at all costs, I have surprised myself with what I have been able to accomplish (like learning how to prepare an income statement). Much of this success is a result of coaching from quality professors who have demonstrated an unprecedented interest in my personal and professional development. Here are two classes that have impacted me the most so far: 

Becoming You: Crafting the Authentic Career You Want and Need with Professor Suzy Welch

I was lucky enough to be the first class of students to take “Becoming You” with Suzy Welch, and would highly recommend this elective to any incoming Stern students. Professor Welch, a bestselling author, Harvard Business Review editor, Today Show contributor, and wife of General Electric CEO Jack Welch, thoughtfully guided her first class of Stern students through a career coaching journey. Suzy provided valuable career-building insights through personal anecdotes, speakers (including the Editor in Chief of Linkedin!), and coaching exercises. My friends knew this class as my Tuesday morning “therapy” because every time I walked out the door I would be gushing about a new career epiphany. Although most of my classes so far have been focussed on learning specific business skills, Becoming You allowed me to step back and think more deeply about how to shape the rest of my Stern experience to align with my future goals. Stern’s student-run podcast, Stern Chats, recently featured Suzy on their podcast – I encourage you to listen!

Retail Strategy & Analytics with Professor Jack Hanlon

Retail Strategy & Analytics was a Tuesday evening favorite amongst my peers and I. 

Professor Hanlon, current VP of Data at Reddit, brought his impressive retail expertise to our case study discussions and accompanying lectures. Although this core course was a class of 50 (FLUX, Full-time, and Part-time MBA students combined), Professor Hanlon provided individualized feedback on every assignment. He emphasized the importance of learning from our peers, and encouraged us to share experiences from our previous positions. Although I have learned so much from my FLUX classmates, learning from non-FLUX students helped me to develop cross-industry perspectives. With guidance from Jack, our class unpacked cases from companies like Zappos, Home Depot, and Starbucks. Some companies persevered while others floundered. By the end of the course, I developed a playbook of strategies to solve a wide variety of challenges that any business may encounter, regardless of industry. 

These are just two of the many transformative courses I have taken during the past two semesters. Although it is bittersweet, I am looking forward to my final semester as a FLUX student. I will continue to expand my quantitative skillset through a Data Driven Decision Making course with Professor Xiao Liu, and will further prepare myself for my post-graduate career in a Luxury Marketing course with Professor Thomai Serdari. Although the FLUX curriculum is certainly not easy, it has been incredibly rewarding, and I feel confident that I am prepared to enter the workforce with more expertise than when I left it! 

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. 

Community

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. 

Curriculum

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.