As the world of MBAs continues to evolve every day, programs continue to offer broader opportunities making ever more career choices attainable. The idea of expanding horizons gives prospective MBAers a place to become creative and innovative. Applying to top MBA schools is a huge professional stride towards reaching one’s goals.

Nowadays, there are a variety of MBA programs that offer versatile approaches by providing ample specialization options for students who seek to shape something extraordinary out of their MBA careers.

Today, we are going to focus on luxury concentration and luxury management tracks specifically. Once one acquires the knowledge of brand marketing or management, one can actively work towards working for prominent companies such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Versace. The luxury sector is gradually becoming more competitive while having a substantial impact on the job market. In this article, we will give a brief overview of 12 schools that offer specialized MBA programs in luxury, so buckle up. 

1. NYU Stern

The first school that is a perfect fit for students aiming for the luxury sector is NYU Stern. Its main focus is luxury, retail, and the overall luxury market. The luxury management program is one-of-a-kind and NYU offers a range of opportunities such as a Luxury Lab that gives students the chance to explore the fashion industry through connections and networking. Students can connect with famous professionals from the industry and work on various projects. The aim of the program is to help students maintain their competitive advantage in a sector that is constantly changing. Eventually, the pivotal point here is fashion.

The duration of the program is designed to last for 12 months with tuition being $38,028 for one semester. The curriculum fully covers business and luxury cores by offering courses that are taught using the experiential learning model. Fashion and luxury core courses include: 

    • Retail Strategy and Analytics 
    • Luxury Marketing
    • Retail Operations and Supply Chain Management 
    • Next Generation Fashion 
    • Consumer Behavior

2. ESSEC Business School

The second top school that offers MBA programs in luxury is ESSEC. ESSEC offers an MBA in International Luxury Brand Management which allows students to focus on specific areas of interest like wine and spirits, fragrances, and cosmetics. At the end of the program, students participate in a two-month-long project that gives practical experience with luxury brands and management. The program is a great gain for students who strive to achieve international exposure. ESSEC’s international partners are from all over the world, such as Armani Hotel Dubai, Chanel, Burberry, Hermes, and many more. 

The program duration is 12 months on the French campus, where you get knowledge and exposure to renowned French know-how. The tuition for the incoming 2023-2024 class is €42,000. Luxury Brand Management of ESSEC contains a full-time curriculum that assures quality education. The scheduled courses are:

    • Socio-cultural Foundations of Luxury
    • Global Economy for Luxury
    • Digital Transformation of Luxury
    • Managing Savoir-Faire 
    • Luxury Distribution and Retail 
    • Developing and Managing Luxury e-Retail
    • Art and Culture Management
    • Managing Luxury Sectors: Fashion
    • Managing Luxury Sectors: Wine & Spirits
    • Sustainable Luxury: Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Strategies in the Luxury Sector
    • Virtual Trips
    • Brand Story Canvas: Building Compelling Brand Stories
    • Managing Luxury Sectors: Watches & Jewellery
    • Managing Luxury Sectors: Perfumes & Cosmetics

3. London Business School

Because the majority of MBA graduates spend their time working through luxury lines, the global world of luxury mostly includes Europeans. As London Business school has a strong impact on students who pursue a business career it offers the luxury and retail scholarship which is open to successful MBA applicants working in the Luxury and Retail industries, with a preference for those planning to stay in the industry following graduation. The scholarship covers 50% of the whole tuition fee.

The length of the MBA program is 15-21 months with tuition of £92,735 for the whole program. The school only offers scholarships to those interested in working for a luxury business after graduation; it does not have any core courses related to luxury brand management during the program. 

4. HEC Paris

HEC Paris is the top-ranked school in France. It has built strong relationships with the Paris fashion and luxury industry. The school offers an Influential Luxury Certificate that helps students come up with the creativity and solutions of current global luxury issues. This is a 4-week intensive program that helps students obtain luxury management skills. The program focuses on:

    • Sharing
    • Challenging
    • Developing
    • Innovation
    • Impact

Kering is a pioneer in “influential luxury” since the company is always seeking new ways to lead a more purposeful vision of luxury, and this certificate is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn how the company uses its brand power to promote sustainability and positive social effects. Core courses, seminars, and consulting project are the main contributors to the program’s success and effectiveness. The core courses that reveal the most out of the luxury brand management are:

    • The Essence of Luxury
    • Building a Global Luxury Brand
    • Leading Luxury’s Digital Transformation
    • Implementing Luxury’s Digital Transformation

Students also experience the industry focus taught by top professors and may be offered to visit a:

    • Kering House atelier
    • Flagship store

5. Columbia Business School

In cooperation with the New School in New York, Columbia University provides a semester-long class in “Design and Marketing of Luxury Goods.” Here students learn how to develop marketing strategies for luxury companies. Another class offered is “The Luxury Approach” which is a good introduction to luxury issues and areas such as promotion and management to distribution. The course also provides a hands-on experience as students will work on an actual project created by Van Cleef and Arpels. This is an MBA semester-long class focusing on the Design and Marketing of Luxury Goods. The tuition for the full MBA program is $154,752.

6. Bologna Business School

Bologna Business School focuses on design, fashion, and luxury goods while driving creativity. Students learn about marketing clothing, watches, and boats as well. They teach about the management of luxury companies by providing the taste of “Italian excellence.” Because of their relationship and collaboration with Italian companies, they focus on practicality. Furthermore, the Global MBA in Design, Fashion, and Luxury Goods is a full-time program that lasts 12 months. From courses lectured by famous guest speakers to a 500-hour dedicated internship at a company in the field of design, fashion, and luxury goods, this program is designed for students to get the most fulfilling experience in luxury goods. The tuition of the program is €35,000 and the track-specific courses for luxury are:

    • Gemology and Watches
    • Fashion and Accessories: Perfumes and Eyewear, Industrial Design and Branding
    • Luxury Goods: Boats, Cars, Motorbikes, and Estate
    • Business Model in the Fashion Industry
    • Business Development

7. INSEAD Europe Campus

Even though INSEAD does not have a specialized track for luxury management, it gives students the opportunity to be involved in clubs. Retail, Consumer and Luxury Goods (RCLG) Club is for students who want to explore everything in the world of consumer retail. It has 1,250 participants that include industry leaders, MBA students, alumni, and industry experts. The group plans activities to help students advance their careers and to spark discussions about the future of retail, consumer, and luxury goods. The club’s main goals are to bring global members of the consumer and luxury goods industries and to advertise and promote INSEAD as a talent source. And because brands like L’Oréal and Louis Vuitton regularly recruit grads there are more chances to connect with people within the club, while enhancing career opportunities.

8. SDA Bocconi School of Management

SDA Bocconi School of Management offers an executive master’s in luxury management that is taught in Paris, Dubai, Milan, London, Zurich, and Rome. The program is a chance to travel all over the most modern cities while exploring the luxury and fashion world. Their main focus is a deviation from what is normal. As the university states, they want students “looking at it from different cultural perspectives and in different markets.”

While being involved in this extraordinary program the students will be able to nurture their mindset while seeing everything from a luxury business perspective. Knowledge acquired here can be a huge step towards thinking out of the box. Besides, the most alluring part is that the university is constantly teaming up with the most prestigious companies such as UCCI, LVMH, and Valentino to provide a Luxury Brand Management MBA focus. In the end, students take part in a real luxury company project, where they get hands-on experience in the luxury industry.

The overall duration of the program is 13 months with tuition of €39,000, however, they do provide merit scholarships. When it comes to the program structure, it is pretty unique as every semester takes place in a different city with luxurious, mind-provoking courses. A sample curriculum for one semester taking place in Paris that is created in partnership with Cartier is:

    • Arts & culture
    • Luxury values and heritage
    • Brand management & analysis
    • Trends & concepts of hard luxury
    • Luxury brand communication and semiotics

9. International University of Monaco 

The International University of Monaco is a great place for studying luxury management and is designed for MBA candidates who want to enter or advance their careers in the luxury sector. Students will gain experience in diverse areas such as fashion, jewelry, yachting, private aviation, real estate, hospitality, and event management. 

The duration of the full-time MBA program is 10 months with tuition of €39,000. MBA students also get the opportunity to attend luxury industry events such as the Monaco Symposium on Luxury for developing a competitive business plan. 

The specialized courses are:

    • Managing in the luxury sector
    • Luxury services and experience management
    • Digital Luxury
    • Luxury Consumer Behavior

10. University of Virginia – Darden Graduate School of Business

Darden Graduate School of Business offers a special curriculum for MBA students who want to pursue a career in retail and luxury goods. Darden’s academic offerings are not limited to co-curricular events such as alumni networking, career excursions, and conferences focusing on retail and luxury products, as well as industry-relevant speakers and recruiters. Because of the large job areas in luxury positions, Darden has come up with special core course offerings. The latest recommended courses are:

    • Consumer Psychology
    • Data Analysis and Optimization
    • Developing New Products and Services
    • Marketing Intelligence
    • Managing Consumer Brands
    • Big Data in Marketing

Additionally, Darden has a retail and luxury goods club, which stimulates awareness and interest in the retail and luxury goods industries. The Club is also a hub of alumni networking that helps students locate summer and full-time career opportunities by bringing industry speakers and recruiters. Students will also arrange professional trips to New York and Los Angeles, as well as attend industry conferences with other top business schools.

11. British School of Fashion

British School of Fashion is an MBA program that provides a huge place for career development in the luxury sector. The program’s purpose is to fulfill the growing demand for experienced executives who have a thorough understanding of premium brand management in a global environment. The curriculum focuses on practical and contemporary knowledge that consists of the following courses:

    • Luxury Concepts and Practice
    • Strategic Finance for Luxury Management
    • Omnichannel Distribution Strategies for Luxury
    • Strategy Leadership and Social Responsibility
    • Global Luxury Brand Strategy
    • Legal Aspects of Brand Management
    • Introduction to Research Methods
    • Sustainable Luxury
    • MBA project

The MBA project, which is the final step of the program, gives the opportunity to plan and conduct original research in a specific area of Luxury Brand Marketing. Students get the ability to apply theories, concepts, theories, and frameworks introduced in prior courses as part of the research.

The tuition is £17,300 with three options to apply for:

    • Full-time
    • Part-time
    • Distance learning

The school’s main focus is peer integrity and diversity which even increases the chances of knowledge transfer and experience sharing.

12. London School of Business

London School of Business has a certificate program that helps students learn the basics of luxury brand management and its works in the fashion industry. This program is designed for anyone who works, or wants to work, in luxury fashion management and wants to improve their practical knowledge of the field. 

The program proposes two options: online and offline. The offline method consists of 35 hours with a price of £1,200, while the flexible online option costs £850

The structure of the program consists of the following: 

    • Marketing and Management
    • Business Issues
    • Luxury Lifestyle
    • Distribution and Retail
    • Luxury Environment
    • Brand Innovation and New Product Strategy
    • Luxury Brand Concepts
    • Intercultural Issues in Luxury
    • Luxury Industry and Digital Business

It is clear that the luxury sector business is expanding its branches and is becoming something similar to a typical business-oriented profession. A lot of schools offer specific luxury tracks, certifications, clubs, and even MBA programs in luxury goods. Students get the knowledge of fashion distinctiveness through various courses such as Luxury in Marketing and Management, Global Branding, and even Finance. Being able to learn all the nuances and unique strategies of the modern and global world will definitely aid students in establishing a business of fashion. Attending these schools can take you a step closer to the luxury world because fashion is a passion and you should not miss the chance to make a career out of your passion. 

Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan