Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion and London Business School

In the fall of 2013, Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)—known as a leader in fashion education since the 19th century—inaugurated a new fashion business school in London and soon after opened a satellite campus in New York City. Rather than focusing on the design aspect of fashion, however, the GCU British School of Fashion aims to offer a specialized business education with applications to the fashion industry, as the school’s then-director, Christopher Moore, explained in a BBC article at the time the new campuses were being revealed: “The remit of the school is clear: we are about the business of fashion. And while there are other great international design schools, we are quite different. Our aim is to be a leading school for the business of fashion.”

The British School of Fashion’s MBA in Luxury Brand Management program aims to impart industry tools and skills related to such topics as consumer behavior, globalization, and strategic management. The school also professes a commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and fair trade as part of its core values. With support from a number of British fashion brands, which have included Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, AllSaints, and the Arcadia Group, the school’s faculty also features a team of honorary professors and fashion industry leaders. The program was designed “to meet the growing demand for experienced managers who really understand luxury brand management in a global context,” the school’s website states. The school also offers programs in Luxury Brand Marketing, Fashion and Lifestyle Marketing, and Fashion Business Creation.

London Business School has also taken steps to attract applicants with an interest in luxury brand management and retail. Although the school does not offer a degree on the subject, students can partake in numerous activities in the field throughout their studies. One of the most notable opportunities is the Walpole Luxury Programme, a partnership with the Walpole British Luxury brand. The program equips students with the tools necessary to enter global management positions after graduation. Students take elective courses, visit companies, participate in workshops, complete internships, and work with a mentor from Walpole throughout the program. In 2019, 16 MBA students participated in the program.

The London Core Application Practicum (LondonCAP) module, which was launched in 2017, is a hands-on learning opportunity during which students work with companies on projects related to their interests—a notable past partner is the British Fashion Council. Students can also join the Retail & Luxury Goods Club, which is one of the largest clubs on campus, with more than 4,500 members. The group welcomes industry speakers and organizes career treks to such locations as Milan and Paris, in addition to hosting an annual e-commerce conference, whose past speakers have represented such companies as Net-a-Porter, Marks & Spencer, and LVMH. The theme of the 2020 conference was “Rethinking Fashion: Sustainable Innovations and Circular Design,” and the event welcomed such speakers as the managing director of Harrod’s and the responsibility director of Burberry.

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