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?

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!

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! 

The Difference of a One Year MBA

 

Joey Rudee is a current Fashion & Luxury MBA student specializing in Luxury Marketing, Strategy, and Business & Law. Prior to Stern, Joey worked at Nordstrom in Seattle, WA where he supported Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis and Investor Relations. Outside of work and school, Joey is an avid chef and tea drinker, amateur interior designer and event planner, and enthusiastic math tutor. 

To be honest, trying to decide what type of MBA to apply for was a challenge for me. 

On one hand, everyone I knew was doing a two-year MBA, but that didn’t feel right to me. My pre-MBA career was progressing quickly, so putting it on pause for two years felt daunting. Further, I am committed to remaining in the fashion and luxury industry, so it didn’t feel necessary to enhance my resume with a summer internship. 

 On the other hand, a part-time MBA didn’t feel right for me either. I loved that it would afford me the opportunity to continue to work and advance my career, but I knew I wanted a fully immersive experience where I could learn and build my network.

 But then I discovered Stern’s one-year focused MBAs, which gave me the opportunity of both rejoining the fashion industry quickly and a fully immersive experience, without having to compromise on my career progression, since I’d only be out of the workforce for a year. With our Stern Solutions projects, I still gain relevant and diverse industry experience while earning my MBA and making a real difference at the companies with which we work. And in a one-year program, I’m able to focus all my attention on school, building relationships, and personal growth. 

 What I didn’t realize when selecting a one-year MBA was that, more than anything else, the biggest benefit of a program like this is the people. Committing to going back to school to get your MBA takes a certain kind of person (and if you’re reading this, you’re that kind of person!), but it attracts an even more dedicated and driven person to choose to do it in one year. Every day I am impressed by my cohort. Each person is individually committed to their own personal growth and equally committed to the growth of their peers. We are universally confident in our interest in fashion and luxury, devoted to progressing our careers quickly, and enthusiastic about driving positive change within the industry, which creates a sense of community and comradery that is unmatched. While we all come from different professional backgrounds, our skill sets complement each other perfectly. Through sharing our unique perspectives and experiences, we are able to learn just as much from each other as we do from our professors. 

 After completing the  first semester, I can confidently say that choosing a one-year MBA was the right decision for me. I know I will get more out of this program than I would have in any other. I know that I will be able to launch back into my career right after graduation with more relevant experience and skills than imaginable. And I know that my classmates will be the ones who are leading this industry into the future. 

Immersion Programming in the Fashion & Luxury MBA

Katelyn Vu is a Fashion & Luxury MBA candidate, specializing in Luxury Marketing and Strategy. Prior to Stern, she worked at Neo Media World (WPP) as a Marketing Manager. Katelyn has 5+ years of experience in digital advertising and strategy, partnering with EssilorLuxottica, Amazon, Sony and a variety of tech companies.

Our first semester has officially come to an end. What an exciting but intense summer! I never imagined watching a fashion show in business school, but we did. Our first NYC Immersion class started with a short clip of the Louis Vuitton 2023 Cruise Fashion Show. We, then, progressed to discuss the evolution of luxury and the marketplace through time. Throughout the course, we had the opportunity to learn about the “business of fashion”. The interactive course covered the history of retail, retail landscape & strategy, fashion business models, as well as entrepreneurship and sustainability in luxury. We had the chance to meet executives from top fashion and luxury brands in NYC through the NYU Fashion & Luxury Council to understand more about the industry and to explore potential career paths.

Below are some highlights from our first Fashion & Luxury NYC Immersion class:

 

F&L students at Estee Lauder Companies HQ

Company Visit: Watches of Switzerland 

We were joined by WOS executives at their US Flagship store in SoHo, where they gave us an overview of the luxury watches industry from a multi-brand retail perspective.


Company Visit: M.M. LaFleur

M.M. LaFleur Founder and CEO, Sarah LaFleur, shared her experience from a management consultant to starting a multi-million DTC company.

Company Visit: Panerai

We had the opportunity to visit the Panerai NA office and learned about how the company pioneered and promoted sustainable practices through its commitment to sustainability and healthy oceans, as well as its environmental outreach initiatives to educate the public.

F&L students visiting the Costume Institute Exhibits at the MET and mingling with alumni

F&L students getting coffee at Ralph’s Coffee after visiting Ralph Lauren

My favorite part of the NYC Immersion course would have to be the consulting project with Estee Lauder Companies. As a group, we performed market research and competitive analysis for our assigned brands to understand their key consumers’ shopping behaviors and digital usage. We learned to work in teams and presented our findings and recommendations to brand executives at the end of the semester. This project was very fulfilling and eye-opening for someone like me who is not from a traditional fashion background. 

Final Presentation Day at Estee Lauder Companies

We only have one semester under our belt, and have already had the opportunity to work with so many incredible industry leaders. The NYC Immersions have been instrumental in our learning so far, and I look forward to the experiences we will have throughout the rest of the year.

International Immersion: Paris

After leaving Milan, we flew to Paris and experienced amazing food, culture, and learning. Just like Milan, there was no shortage of excellent dining options. The first night we arrived there, some of us went to dinner at a French restaurant called Bistrot Victoires, and a two-course meal with about half a bottle of wine per person was about 20 euros! Despite the transit strikes that were going on in Paris, there was no issue getting around. Paris is a very beautiful and walkable city, which we took advantage of by walking everywhere.

I highly recommend going to Bistrot Victoires while in Paris. It’s authentic Parisian cuisine and very affordable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Hermes

The visit to the Hermes store was amazing for a variety of reasons:

1. The store’s architecture is absolutely stunning. 2. The craftsmanship and quality of the items in the store are unparalleled. 3. The Hermes Birkin & Kelly Bags. We learned the rich history behind the Birkin and Kelly bags and the amount of time that goes into their creation. It still amazes me that the bags can retail for +$100,000. Unlike most stores, the Hermes we visited in Paris is appointment-only and has average volumes of around 2,000 visitors per day. Sadly there was no NYU Stern discount offered for students 😉

Taking a group photo inside Hermes.

We were walking on our way to the Hermes store and could not help but notice the beautiful architecture and decorations throughout the streets.

A beautiful stroll through the streets of Paris!

Guerlain: Luxury perfume

The visit to Guerlain was another eye-opening experience.  This Guerlain parlor was located on the Champs-Elysees, one of the most beautiful shopping areas in all of Paris. No different than Hermes, this store was also stunning. As soon as you walked in, you were shown high-end fragrances. A store manager was kind enough to give us a tour and brought us upstairs, where bespoke scents are created for luxury clientele. These scents could cost the customer thousands of dollars. The upstairs parlor was similarly exquisitely crafted and made you feel as if you were transported to another world.

A look at some of the high-end perfumes available at the parlor.

Versailles

On our final day in Paris, we were given the option to be able to explore the city independently or visits Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. Having already visited Versailles, I knew how beautiful it was; however, I knew that the gardens (which are much bigger) are also a sight to see on their own (even in January). Rather than spend our time enjoying the interior of Versailles, we decided to spend two hours walking through the gardens, and we barely scratched the surface! Lucky for us, the weather was about 45 Fahrenheit, which made it optimal walking weather.

The picture does not do the gardens of Versailles justice.

 

Between Milan and Paris, the international immersion was a wonderful trip that I will remember for the rest of my life!

International Immersion: Milan

It’s been a tough time fighting the coronavirus everywhere in the world. Italy has been one of the countries that is severely suffering from it. Faced with the COVID-19 outbreak that has brought this country to a screeching halt, Italians decided that fun is the best medicine for a healthy spirit. Videos have been shared on social media that captured people singing and dancing from their balconies and windows in an attempt to boost morale during the nationwide lockdown.

This reminds me of the discussion we had in Milan during the Fashion & Luxury MBA international immersion. It was the kick-off class in the first day in Milan where Professor Thomai described the personality of Milan and Milanese as introverted. Milan has earned its reputation for aloofness, at least by Italian standards. When walking around the city, there are magnificent buildings with well designed doors that are never opened and a lot of beautiful hidden gardens that you can only wander from the outside.  But these days what has been shown in the videos featuring Milanese talking to their neighbors for the first time through windows and balconies, comforting one another, forging new bonds, growing closer — albeit from a distance, is a romantic demonstration of how introverts make the best out of the worst amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Milan is one of the birthplaces of luxury brands and has the most amazing fine food. When you look at the way Italians do business, they are focusing on delivering the best craftsmanship and making the most well-done products, instead of expanding the business commercially to the extreme. That’s why there are a lot of small businesses and many Italian luxury brands remain family businesses, versus French conglomerates. 

Our trip in Milan included classes in Bocconi Business School in both lecture and case study formats, and onsite visits to Mantero silk factory (one of the silk suppliers for most of the luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Dior), Dolce & Gabbana and Vitale Barberis Canonico. Here are some of my key learnings:

Think deeper and wiser. We discussed the similarities and differences between the Italian luxury industry and the French luxury industry. This immersion not only confirmed some of my thoughts on this topic based on my experience working in the industry, but also deepened my understanding. For example, I used to think French brands were better in doing business globally – they are more organized and adaptive. But after this trip, I learned how to think deeply to understand why and think from different angles – history, government regulation and personality of the country. In addition, I learned to never judge something simply as right or wrong, good or bad, but to think more critically and better appreciate the good side of everything.

Manage changes. We had a case study on one of the most famous Italian luxury brands. The founder has built his luxury empire in a short period of time and done a lot of amazing jobs. But for the past few years this brand has been struggling due to lack of product innovation and unclear brand positioning. It’s a reflection of the struggles many traditional brands are facing – how do they scale and stay relevant, especially for those family businesses with highly centralized power on individuals (usually founders)?  I think changes and transformations need three things: 1) The ability to not only predict the future trend of the industry, but also visualize it into companies’ long term strategy. 2) Courage/boldness. No transformation comes from being risk-averse. It’s usually easier said than done to take risks. 3) Ability to convince stakeholders and get resources in a big corporate to implement the changes, including the grit when facing obstacles and short-term losses – remembering the goal is for long-term and it takes time to turn the changes into real positive business impact.

A Bite of the Big Apple – NYC Immersion

Moving from Shanghai to New York is one of the biggest decisions in my life, and the best one I have ever made. In New York, it’s easy to fill your schedule with iconic experiences and anything that says “awesome” to you. The NYC Immersion course we took in this past summer semester – an experiential leaning course with the formats of company visits, industry panels and skill-based workshops – is a perfect demonstration of the resources the city has to offer in fashion and luxury spaces. 

Now I’ll guide you on how we took a bite out of the Big Apple through exploring some of the company visits and guest speeches we had in the summer.

  • BVLGARI

We had a session discussing BVlGARI’s brand strategy in its flagship store on 5th Avenue. The clientele experts showed us the most stunning pieces of the BVLGARI jewelries and watches, presenting the branding strategy and client experience the company is delivering. Professor Serdari visited the store with us and explained the theory of luxury marketing using the real examples we saw in the store. 

 

  • SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

We visited Ferragamo’s flagship store and the US headquarter on 5th Avenue. Donald Kohler, CEO of Americas, gave us a presentation about the brand strategy and initiatives in the digital landscape.

 

  • GUCCI

Andrea Pini, CFO of Gucci North America, came to our last accounting class to share with us how to use the accounting knowledge we learned this semester to collect insights and make decisions in real-world business situations.

 

  • SoulCycle

Julie Lieberman, Senior Director of Merchandising at SoulCycle, came to Stern to talk about SoulCycle’s apparel collection and its retail initiative.

 

  • MM.LaFleur

We were invited to MM.LaFleur’s showroom in NYC. Narie Foster, Co-Founder of MM.LaFleur, shared with us how they started the company, scaled the business and manage the young team.

 

 

  • Warby Parker

We visited Warby Parker’s fancy office in Soho, had a panel discussion with the leaders in different functions focusing on retail experience and omni-channel.

 

The balance of taking a deep dive into both established brands and startups gave me a holistic view of the transformation this industry is undergoing. I love the fact that I can explore new ideas and meet interesting people everyday in New York. It has been a “the world is your oyster” kind of experience.