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Course Spotlight: Fashion Retail Management

posted by Jacqueline Jenkins, Dean of Graduate Studies

If you're a prospective student interested in LIM's MPS in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management program, this Course Spotlight post is for you. A first semester requirement for those in this particular graduate program, Fashion Retail Management is one of our most interactive and popular courses—with good reasons. For starters, it's taught by Mindy Meads, a fashion and merchandising pro who has held CEO positions at places like Lands' End, Aéropostale, Victoria's Secret, and more. To give you a closer look at what the course entails, we asked Professor Meads for details. Read on.


What you'll learn: The overall goal of the course is to provide students with an overview of retail trends and how the retail business has evolved over the years. As they go all the way back through the history of how retail started, students learn about things like the difference between department stores and specialty stores, the emergence of online business, and the different roles they can take on in the industry. Professor Meads also tacks on discussions surrounding supply chain, assortment planning, and the open-to-buy process. By the end of the course, you'll also understand how brands build their positioning and marketing strategies. Another thing that's important to Professor Meads is that her students realize the importance of understanding the customer. This past semester, they visited J.Crew., H&M, and Uniqlo—three totally different strategies, all focused on the customer; it really resonated with them, she said. Needless to say, it's a pretty comprehensive course.

The kind of work you'll do: One example of a project students are currently working on is a team assignment that occurs throughout the length of the course. Each group chose a brand, then spent time studying its history, competitors, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks. They learn to develop a pricing and marketing strategy, determine how they want their store to look (if they think it needs any changes), put together an assortment right down to the fabric and color, and in the end, will present their project as their final exam. 

Who's in the class: Many students who take Fashion Retail Management are interested in becoming a buyer and learning more about what that really means. They're also very engaged; 95% of students are talking all the time, says Professor Meads, and are landing impressive internships (Max Mara and Victoria's Secret, for example). And right now, she added, the course is 80% international students. As a prospective student, you should know why that's a great thing: learning about different cultures and seeing things through others' perspectives can add so much to the class material. 

Sound like you belong in this class? Learn more about our MPS in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management now, and if you're still intrigued, why not apply?


Topics: Inside Graduate Studies