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Rutgers designs graduate programme for fashion industry
May '17
Rutgers has a new graduate programme tailored for both creatives and business professionals with ambitions of working in the fashion industry. The programme, which provides new skills for careers in fashion, is attracting business professionals, boutique owners and students with family ties to manufacturing operations that work with apparel designers.

Rutgers Business School's Master in Business of Fashion is a unique graduate programme which offers creatives and business professionals an opportunity to gain new skills for careers in fashion.

"Going back for an MBA was always something I had in my mind that I wanted to do. Business of fashion is like an MBA programme with a focus on fashion. It's the only programme like it outside Paris or Italy," said Sarah Jacobson, a 43-year-old mother of two.

Jacobson's own work experience includes brushes with the fashion industry. After college, she spent seven years working for Lilly Pulitzer whose colourful shift dress was the start of a fashion line that includes bright and splashy palm springs-inspired resort and beach wear. Jacobson worked in sales, but the company's relaunch also gave her the opportunity to dabble in design and public relations.

After her daughter was born, Jacobson decided working with wholesalers and department stores and opening Lilly Pulitzer boutiques in an 11-state territory was cutting into her life as a mom. Years later, she spent another 12 months helping a designer she had worked with at Lilly Pulitzer manage and promote a high-end women's fashion line.

Her goal now is to go back to work at a major company in the fashion world, helping to run the business or its brand. Like other industries, fashion is undergoing changes that often require drastic changes in operations and business models. Trends like fast fashion have put huge demands on production processes and technology like the 3-D printer is revolutionising manufacturing in the same way sewing machines did decades ago.

"I don't want to go into a broken company and not know how to fix it. I want to be able to turn something into a success," she said.

Jacobson said the Business of Fashion programme is equipping her with skills to do that. She is gaining the same knowledge she would in a traditional MBA programme only with a special focus on fashion. She has taken classes in small business finance as well as procurement and brand management. The course work has included case studies on major retailers like Macy's and field trips to New York City, where students have visited with apparel designers and toured manufacturing facilities.

By the end of the programme, Jacobson said she will have learned how to make better use of Excel as well as how to execute a runway show.

"This programme incorporates everything. It forces you to use all parts of your brain and to consider where the fashion industry is going. I love the way it melds the creative and the logistical parts of the business," she said. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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