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interviewMy last post talked about educational institutions that now offer Luxury MBA degrees. This led to the question—what happens once you have such as degree? Interestingly, I just ran across an article from the Boston Consulting Group titled, “Minding the Talent Gap: Fashion and Luxury’s Greatest Challenge for the Next Decade.” The article reveals that luxury companies are struggling to find the right talent.  What a perfect time to evaluate whether those Luxury MBA programs provide the same skills and knowledge that luxury and fashion brands seek today. For example, needed skills at the executive level are: analytical and creative skills; retail, product, and brand expertise; and international experience.

The BCG article asks a critical question: Does your internal branding match your external branding? Internal branding represents the brand message you use to attract and retain top talent (sometimes called EVP – the Employee Value Proposition). By “matching” I mean not only aligning the internal and external brand promise, but putting as much effort into creating and modeling your internal brand as you do your external brand. Here’s one question to ask yourself: “Are my employees as passionate about the brand as my customers are?”

Are my employees as passionate about the brand as my customers are?

One interesting fact is that while luxury companies may be jumping on the technology bandwagon to market their brands across social media, mobile phone apps, e-commerce, etc., they lag well behind other industries in using technology to attract talent. Perhaps it’s time to review your e-recruitment profile.

The article concludes by offering five strategies luxury and fashion brands can start doing to secure and retain top talent. Along with levering digital media to source the right candidates and investing in a strong internal employer brand, the author recommends working closely with schools:

Relationships with schools can lead to internships that serve as both an invaluable screening mechanism and an ideal training ground.

How timely that many schools are now including luxury and fashion tracks in their curriculum offerings. In fact, I was just contacted today by a school in the U.S. that’s considering adding a Luxury Fashion MBA to its catalog. If you missed the list of schools that currently offer these types of programs, you can find it here.