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SDA Bocconi and Wharton Join Forces To Get Luxury MBAs To Think Smart

SDA Bocconi ramps up its luxury MBA with participation from Wharton students and professors, and managers from Luxoticca, Yoox and Bulgari


Sun Mar 31 2013

Italy's SDA Bocconi, renowned for providing world class luxury education has upped its game by offering a special module on fashion and luxury retail and brand management in conjunction with Wharton. 
The module is designed to offer insights into the cutting edge of luxury branding and sales through lectures, company visits and networking opportunities with executives at some of the biggest brand names in the business. 
SDA Bocconi offers a full-time MBA with a track in Luxury Business Management. It also offers a Master in Fashion, Experience & Design Management (MAFED). The Luxury Business Management Track integrates SDA Bocconi’s International MBA with a second semester in Rome, where the Bulgari headquarters serve as a classroom for the luxury business leaders.
MAFED is a one year program for young students aspiring to take a managerial role in a fashion, luxury or design-based company, or interested in launching a start-up in the sector. 
On both programs, there is an emphasis on practical experience and keeping on top of trends in the industry through internships and projects, and visits to showrooms and flagship stores. 
From March 6 to 9, SDA Bocconi welcomed a group of MBA students from top US school Wharton to attend classes on fashion and luxury retail and branding together with SDA Bocconi MBA and MAFED students.
Wharton professors Barbara Kahn (Wharton Jay H. Baker Retail Center) and David Bell (Professor of Marketing) joined forces with Stefania Saviolo, MAFED Director and MBA Professor, to build a three-day program of lectures, guest speakers and company visits with the aim of showcasing the most relevant topics in fashion and luxury while also promoting networking opportunities. 
All three professors wanted to higlight differences in luxury businesses in different parts of the world. 
“Market dynamics are still geographically diverse despite the Internet, both in tastes and purchasing behavior. Europe vs. North America vs. Asia - even intra-European customer behavior is totally different," said Stefania Saviolo, Director MAFED, SDA Bocconi.
"Sharing experiences and perspectives among students and faculty from excellent international business schools is fundamental for educating tomorrow’s leaders”,
Dr. Saviolo, who is also an SDA Bocconi alumnus, is a Professor of Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management and teaches international business strategy MBA students. 
SDA Bocconi professor Carlo Alberto Carnevale discussed the principles of luxury goods economics: "The luxury industry, seen from the candid eyes of a fresh Master student, looks like a Magic Kingdom of heritage, identity and exhibited lifestyles.
"When the Insiders - like your host professor here - scratch the glossy surface of the industry with the methodological tools of economic analysis, the black art of a complex managerial challenge is revealed. Yet, the Magic continues, though on a different territory: the organization of one of the most dynamic, and glamorous, global markets of symbols for the whole mankind". 
Wharton Professor David Bell discussed the challenges of e-commerce and digital marketing and SDA Bocconi students presented a research project on multi-brand distribution in fashion and the turnaround of the label Versace. 
Yoox and Bulgari Hotel were among the companies who presented their approach to luxury retailing and hospitality. There was also a keynote speech organized by Wharton Italy with a guest speaker from Luxottica Group. 
Amanda Thompson, President of the SDA Bocconi MBA Luxury Arts Club for 2013, who collaborated with Alessandro Premoli from MAFED to organize the event, said that “The expertise on the Italian luxury landscape from SDA Bocconi combined with a deeper insight into e-commerce and retailing from Wharton provided the perfect dynamic to gain a greater insight into the synergies, opportunities and challenges that exist between both.
"This was one of the most memorable experiences of my MBA journey thus far”. 
Read more stories about students, alumni and programs at SDA Bocconi, here. You can compare top business schools in our MBA rankings table