Masters Degree (MS) in Luxury Brand Management

Best Universities in the world for Luxury Brand Management

 

What is Luxury Brand Management?

Luxury brand management relates to the perception of a particular brand among consumers in the market. It broadly includes the “connection” between a brand and the consumers: ranging from the product quality to the brand loyalty displayed towards the brand. In the luxury products segment the “story” behind the product is of at least as much importance to the audience as the product itself.

Thus a typical luxury brand adds value to their line of products by offering a compelling (and often creative) narrative to their target audience while trying to establish a tribe of faithful believers.

One of the main principles of luxury brand management lies in the separation of clients and non-clients – creating a no-go zone through high prices or exclusivity.

Ironically, a luxury brand must be known by all but consumed by a selected few. If a luxury brand is possessed by too many “non-clients”, it starts to lose its meaning and the original target audience stands to get alienated.

The term luxury is derived from the Latin word ‘lux’ meaning light. Luxury is meant to stand out, as evidenced from the distinct brand logos and outlets that are built to impress. Adam Smith (often heralded as the father of modern capitalism) in his book Wealth of Nations (1776), classified the goods in a hierarchy that ranged from a necessity to a luxury.

Luxury brands (such as Louis Vuitton, Rolls Royce etc.) are associated with prestige/status, and often go on to differentiate the owners from the crowd. They have an income elasticity of demand greater than 1, which means people buy more of them as their income rises (contrasted with necessity goods that people buy in almost the same amount regardless of a change in income levels).

Luxury brands also focus on customization as their differentiation factor, especially compared to the mostly homogenous mass produced goods.
 

Why is Luxury Brand Management in demand?

The luxury brand management sector promises good growth, fueled by the rise in disposable income across major geographies. The number of billionaires per capita in a country is a rough measure to gauge the level of country’s opulence.

In Asia, there has been a steady increase in the proportion of mid-high and high-income earners. From custom jewelry to designer dresses and even premium yachts — you can be pretty sure that there is an effective branding strategy behind all these offerings.

The rising clientele of the rich coupled with the increase in avenues for indulgence has led to a proportionate rise in careers related to luxury brand management.
 

What is the scope of Luxury Brand Management?

In 2014, the global luxury market surpassed $1 trillion. In the past 20 years alone, the market related to luxury goods has grown three-fold (both statistics derived from Bain Worldwide Luxury Goods report, 2014).

A specialization in luxury brand management enables a candidate to understand consumer behavior along with a deeper understanding of the target audience mix. It also helps in gaining vital skills related to product development, sourcing, distribution, pricing, and merchandising. It also frequently involves crafting media communication: crafting content and marketing that accurately reflects key aspects of the brand.

If you have a keen eye for details, love being updated with the latest fashion trends, good at project management, and enjoy communication, this might be the “custom-made career” for you. As a luxury brand management professional, your duties might incorporate some or all of the following:

  • conducting research for new product launches
  • designing marketing and advertising campaigns
  • collaborating with creators, artists, and designers
  • product development: design, fabrication, quality specifications
  • retail buying, vendor negotiation, maintaining stock levels
  • media management: relationships with journalists/editors

 

Top colleges for studying Luxury Brand Management

Apart from the US, European countries with rich history related to luxury brands like France, Italy, and the United Kingdom are excellent destinations for studying the subject. An MBA or a master’s degree with a specialization in luxury management are the two primary options at the graduate level.

Here are the top 10 global schools offering courses related to luxury brand management (source: eduniversal masters ranking, 2017):
 

Rank University/Program Degree Offered Country
1 ESSEC Business School MBA in International Luxury Brand Management France
2 SDA Bocconi School of Management Master in Fashion, Experience & Design Management Italy
3 NYU- Stern School of Business MBA Luxury Marketing Specialization USA
4 Columbia University- Columbia Business School MBA Retail and Luxury Goods USA
5 MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management- Neoma Business School International Master’s in Luxury Management Italy
6 Tsinghua University Advanced management program in Fashion and Luxury China
7 University of Virginia- Darden Graduate School of Business MBA Retail and Luxury goods USA
8 Emlyon Business School MSc in Luxury Management & Marketing France
9 EDC Paris Business School MBA Luxury brand marketing and International Management France
10 University of Bologna – Bologna Business School Global MBA Design, Fashion, and Luxury Goods Italy

 
You can also check the complete list of top 50 best masters in luxury brand management. For candidates who aspire to join the best global brands, a good network with the industry is paramount.
 

What are the salary figures for Luxury Brand Management professionals?

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2012-2022 (issued by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average growth in jobs related to fashion management is 12% compared to all other occupations.

In the US, the average yearly salary of a brand manager is ~$75,000 (source: indeed.com). Based on these data points, it is safe to say that a career in luxury brand management is fairly rewarding.
 

MBA v/s MS: Luxury Brand Management

MBA with a specialization in Luxury Management has a broader scope and is an excellent choice for those who want to keep their options open. On the other hand, an MS is much more focused, and a candidate who is decided on a particular career within the domain can extract much more value out of a dedicated master’s in general.

However, some top luxury companies prefer homegrown candidates and do not even place much premium on advanced degree holders. So it is a good idea to make sure that you’re clear about the reasons for a graduate degree, and you would surely walk away with one in style.
 
Learn more about how to get into the top MS universities in the world.