Luxury isn’t what it used to be. Shifts in consumer values, buying power, access, and technology are shaping an innovative and dynamic luxury market. The Sotheby’s Institute MA in Luxury Business examines this sophisticated industry as it is diversifying and expanding, and explores synergies with other industries and cultural landscapes, such as the art world. The luxury industry has been expanding constantly over the years, with positive growth in both key sectors, i.e. luxury personal goods and luxury experiences. Art and luxury have a long and fascinating history of influencing each other to create timeless, aspirational experiences.
The MA in Luxury Business responds to the recent creation by Sotheby’s auction house of a Luxury, Art and Objects division as one of the two major divisions of the company. The program also gives a nod to the more general trend in the high-end cultural and creative industry to synergise, break barriers, and find original ways of engaging with markets and audiences on a wider scale. Building on the Institute’s high level academic knowledge and industry expertise, the program adds a specific focus on transferrable skills and professional development. Through privileged access to industry experts and iconic institutions, graduates are equipped with the intellectual, theoretical, and personal skills to advance their careers in the luxury business.
The MA in Luxury Business prepares students to specialize in the innovative and ever-changing luxury industry. Students will examine luxury’s social, historical and cultural evolution. They will critically reflect on how luxury businesses deliver value to their markets through specific branding and marketing strategies. They will become familiar with the sectors of the industry and its players, and with the financial, legal and strategic elements of business management in luxury. They will also consider intersections with other high-value cultural industries, particularly art. Graduates of this program will contribute to a growing area of expertise in the global luxury market and will be proficient in navigating both the business and the creative side of the field. The program is designed for students who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of luxury as an economic sector and a cultural phenomenon and who intend to pursue careers in this growing and dynamic field. The approach is a combination of rigorous academic study along with continuous professional development through direct access to key market players and industry experts. The program takes advantage of the privileged location of London, one of the global cultural and financial hubs for luxury, and other high-end creative and cultural sectors. Thus students will access luxury venues in London, exploring the creative and commercial processes as implemented in business practice.
The Master’s degree is awarded for 120 taught credits across two semesters, as well as the completion of a 60-credit dissertation over the course of an additional semester. The MA in Luxury Business is organized around 3 main curricular themes, each with further modular specifications:
Luxury in Context: the concept, the business. This unit introduces the students to the concept of luxury and its historical development. It considers luxury across different cultural contexts and examines the different ways in which luxury has been experienced, interpreted, and questioned. The unit delves into the social and economic processes through which luxury became a structured industry, and considers its evolution to the present.
The Luxury Market: explores consumer behaviour in luxury, omnichannel marketing and engagement strategies, as well as notions of branding. Teaching is constructed around practical business cases within the industry.
Managing a Luxury Business: emphasizes the structure and operations of the luxury business (law, finance) as well as shaping forces like sustainability, ethics, and CSR. It also considers professional attitudes and etiquette/netiquette required in the industry, as well as self- branding; leadership; entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.