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Fashion Business Management (MA)

Course Description

This course will equip you with the strategic decision-making, leadership and problem-solving skills you will need to become an entrepreneurial and visionary fashion business leader of the future. It continues the University's fashion tradition of a commitment to excellence in developing highly effective, talented and committed professional fashion graduates.

Working closely with fashion industry professionals, role models and mentors, you will receive a relevant, well-grounded, high-quality education and skill base enabling you to have a wider, clearer understanding of the business you are already involved in. The course offers inside knowledge of industry strategies and cultures on a global basis, combined with key business skills and essential fashion industry management knowledge.

Course content

This course equips you for a business management career in the domestic or international fashion industry. Delivered by a teaching team with a wide range of experience both in industry and academia, the course offers an innovative and relevant fashion business curriculum that focuses on preparing your entry into senior roles in business and management within the industry.

Core modules, semester one

The fashion business dynamics and its fast-shifting product sourcing require an adaptable attitude to spot opportunities emerging around the world. Building profitable relationships with partners and suppliers and balancing costs and risks are key challenges.

To transform an idea into a commercial product involves a complex route: this module is designed to provide an overall understanding of how to manage a fashion business from concept to customer. It will explore a variety of perspectives on global product sourcing and global supply chain issues with the aim of preparing you for the challenges of developing and maximising a strategy whilst still responding efficiently and effectively to constant changes in consumer demand.

Within the generic fashion business process developing, managing and sourcing fashion products from the right locations to ensure you can work to create an organisation that can deliver the right product in the right place at the right time. Building profitable relationships with partners and suppliers, balancing both cost and risk with lead times are key challenges facing the fashion industry. From the concept of an idea, making it commercial for a particular market and ensuring it reaches the customer when they want it, involves a complex route with a real understanding of the supply chain.

This module is designed to give an overall understanding of fashion business management process from concept to customer. It will explore a variety of perspectives on product sourcing and supply chain issues with the aim of preparing students for the challenges of developing and maximising product development with sourcing strategy whilst still responding efficiently and effectively to constant changes in consumer demand.

With global product sourcing dynamics shifting constantly and more business opportunities emerging around the world, sourcing fashion products from the right locations to ensure you create an organisation that can deliver the right product in the right place at the right time, whilst building profitable relationships with suppliers, balancing both cost and risk with lead times are the key challenges facing the global fashion industry.

This course aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of the management of creative people in organisations, at both strategic and operational levels. It also aims to develop an awareness of the major practical and theoretical dilemmas among individuals, groups and organisations, and to place managerial practices into an historical and international perspective, highlighting both traditional and emerging issues and their importance to develop a sustainable competitive advantage.

This module will acknowledge the challenge of managing creative individuals in the fashion business and managing diversity and conflict which may arise. Through cases studies and in class group work students will examine issues and challenges inherent in recruitment, placement and retention of creative teams and the growth and compensation via human resource management.

As organisations evolve globally, leaders face new opportunities, risks and demands that challenge and stretch their abilities in the context of leading, managing and communicating with people of both different cultures and management structures. Leadership in a diverse and multicultural environment provides a culturally-centred perspective allowing organisational leaders the opportunity to attend to the influence of culture. This module will help you find examples of how multicultural awareness can make your leadership task easier and promotes an organisational culture that is more satisfying to both individuals and their leaders by embracing and celebrating differences.

The module covers the theories, models, tools and methodologies used in the field of strategic management specifically within the fashion business.

It aims to enhance your ability to play an effective role in developing, implementing and monitoring strategy within a business within the fashion or fashion-related, industries. The module especially aims to help you develop a critical awareness of the management of creativity and design within a global context. Fashion enterprises at every level inherently enjoy advantages as well as face the vulnerabilities of the market conditions. This unit opens windows into strategic and creative thinking, analytical evaluation, and business strategy development as well as the decision-making process .The business environment is constantly changing and this affects the market condition, business structure, strategy and style.

Core modules, semester two

The Finance and Entrepreneurship module combines theory and practical knowledge of finance for those in the fashion industry. It also provides a practical, real-world approach to the finances of entrepreneurship by presenting the common financial problems (and their solutions) entrepreneurs often face especially in the fashion world.

With the increasingly critical role played by finance and financial management in the success of global business, a solid grounding in the principles and techniques of finance is essential for a successful business venture. The module is designed to develop your understanding of the core financial aspects of business as well as entrepreneurship through the preparation, interpretation, uses, and analysis of strategic financial information in the context of an understanding of the strategic need for the survival of global business.

This module represents a mixture of financial and management accounting, corporate finance and risk management. The principles and concepts underlying each of these subject areas are examined

With the competition in the fashion business at its fiercest, it is imperative that companies understand and develop successful and effective marketing strategies for product development and brands for the mass market as well as the luxury goods market.

This module will stimulate critical and intellectual skills and allow the student to explore the challenges of developing fashion marketing strategy, to include an understanding of the fashion market, the marketing mix, the consumer, how to make appropriate product adaptations to meet consumer demands, developing strategy to protect and ensure effective intellectual property protection for a brand.

This module also aims to help you effectively develop and overcome challenges in the marketing environment in order to successfully understand how to penetrate new markets and manage brands in order to balance a competitive advantage with profitability in the fashion business.
This module will include:
- an understanding of the global fashion market
- the global marketing mix
- the consumer
- how to make appropriate product adaptations to meet consumer demands
- developing the strategies to protect and ensure effective intellectual property protection for a brand
- ensuring and effectively developing and overcoming the challenges to successfully understand how to penetrate the market in order to balance a competitive advantage with profitability in the global fashion market.

One of the fundamental elements of the Fashion industry is that it is producing something new every season or reinventing itself. This is clearly evident in the constant change in the products produced. Change in the processes and organisation of the industry are also constantly occurring - they are less evident but are equally important.

Globalisation of the industry and significant technological advances has led to an increased variety and velocity of change greater than experienced in the past.

Managers in the industry today need to be alert to these changes and know how to manage them. These changes can be initiated by new product or process innovations or can be changes forced upon the industry by external factors. The effective management of any type of change is essential for a business to survive and requires deep understanding of the impact change can have on the people and processes within the business.

This module looks at how a fashion business can successfully innovate and how the changes need to be managed to be successful. This module will be discovering and then analysing the theory and practice of the management of change and Innovation.

The Fashion Business Management Project builds on the skills and experience derived from the previous modules. You will be provided with the opportunity to apply all of the knowledge gained during the programmed into a major project to address fashion business issues and challenges while adding to the body of professional practice and theoretical literature.

Supervised by a faculty member in collaboration with yourself and a potential fashion industry representative, the Fashion Business Management project is recognised by graduates as one of the most rewarding and empowering experiences of the entire programme. The idea of a Fashion Business Management MA was formulated in discussion with industry leaders. Building on the success of our Fashion Merchandise Management courses and in particular the close collaboration with industry we spoke extensively to senior fashion executives. Many felt that although doing an MA in Fashion Business Management would not ensure promotion, potential candidates who learn how to apply the knowledge they gain from the course can become leaders who can inspire others. Those candidates need to understand the values and culture of the industry and, most importantly, recognise the difference between information and knowledge and have clearly defined goals.

This support from industry is important both for you as a student and for the future development and relevance of the MA. We will continue to foster and maintain these important links with the fashion industry, and ensure that our Fashion Business Management MA stays at the forefront of education for the future leaders in the fashion industry. We will also continue to invite many prestigious and eminent guest speakers from the industry to participate on all the modules, ensuring that the course remains relevant, informed and up-to-date with current industry practice.

Associated careers

The course is designed to attract applicants with a recognised design, retail management or distribution/manufacturing background. With guidance from the academics and professionals in this field it is anticipated that you will go on to enter senior management positions and move up the career ladder.

Our alumni can be found working in senior positions all over the world in many fashion roles and include such well-known brands such as Aldo, Dior, Dunhill, Harrods, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Marks and Spencer, Nordstrom, Prada Hong Kong and many more.

Several of our alumni, have also gone on to study at PhD level and to further academic research. Others have set up their own business or successfully taken over a family run business.

Visit the Fashion Business Management (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

Entry to the course is based on a combination of formal qualifications and significant industry experience. You should have a First or Upper Second in your first degree in any subject, as well as a minimum of two years' working experience in the fashion industry after graduation, although three years' experience is preferred.

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