Morgan Grabarz, Fashion & Luxury MBA 2023
New Hope, Pennsylvania
Fashion Institute of Technology
- Pre-MBA Employer
Clothing brand founder and recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology
Fashion and Luxury, Entrepreneurship
- Clubs/ Involvement
Entrepreneurship & Startup Association | Luxury & Retail Club
Why did you decide to pursue the focused one-year MBA program?
I came to Stern directly from my undergraduate degree in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. At 20 years old, I decided to follow my childhood dream and found my own clothing line. Through my entrepreneurial endeavors I quickly realized the importance of a strong business acumen. With my specific focus on the fashion industry I felt that the Fashion and Luxury program would be a perfect fit for my career path and equip me with the necessary business knowledge to run my fashion brand.
How did you find a sense of community and support within Stern?
Being the youngest member of the cohort was intimidating at first, however everyone has been extremely supportive and willing to share their industry experience. Considering that it is a small group and we all share a common interest in the fashion industry, we have all gotten very close. With our similar interests it is easy to feel a sense of community.
How would you describe the culture and community within your class?
The culture is very collaborative. I have learned a great deal from my classes and professors, however I have learned a lot from my classmates as well. Each of us comes from a very different background and everyone is happy to share within their area of expertise. The summer portion of the program started off somewhat rigorous, however there was a strong theme of cooperation instead of competition.
How have the immersive aspects of the program helped you prepare for the next step in your career?
Post MBA I plan to run my clothing brand full time. For this reason, I have been pursuing all of the fantastic resources at the Leslie eLab and the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship. The knowledge that I have accumulated from listening to speakers, reading case studies, having coffee chats with alumni and taking entrepreneurship focused classes will be extremely beneficial as I begin to work on my venture full time. Being aware of the problems faced by founders will be a huge asset.
What was your favorite class at Stern?
My favorite class at Stern was Leadership. It was an unexpectedly bonding experience, bringing us through exercises to illustrate leadership concepts. As one of the first classes we took at Stern, it was a great way to get to know other students. Aside from learning about my classmates, I learned about myself and the leadership style that best suits me. I will remember these lessons going forward in management roles as I try to yield results from a team.
What has been a highlight of your Stern experience?
While there have been many enjoyable moments at Stern thus far, a highlight of my experience was attending the Fendi fashion show at New York Fashion Week. As a fashion designer and avid fan of the fashion industry I was ecstatic. The runway was gorgeous and I had the most fantastic time with my classmates.
How did you prepare for the program before you began?
Pre-Stern I was finishing my undergraduate degree, therefore the months leading up to the start of the program were a bit hectic. There was one week in May of 2022 when I was enrolled in undergraduate and graduate school at the same time. Given my unconventional background in fashion design, I supplemented my education with minors in business subjects knowing that I ultimately planned to apply to this program. Two of my minors were Economics and International Trade and Marketing. Immediately before the program I completed an MBA math prep course to review some of the fundamental math skills that we would be covering over the summer semester. I found this to be extremely helpful, as the summer schedule was academically rigorous.
How did Stern’s Office of Career Development prepare you for success?
My counselor at the Office of Career Development has been very helpful! I came to the program unsure of my immediate post MBA pursuits. In our meetings she provided extremely constructive advice in guiding me through these decisions and helping me to realize the best path to my ideal career.
Why did you choose NYU Stern?
I was attracted to NYU Stern because I felt that the Fashion and Luxury program would be most beneficial for my specific focus on the fashion industry. Stern was my top choice because there is no other school in the country that offers an MBA focused in fashion.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Take advantage of every opportunity while you are still a student. People in the industry are willing to share their expertise knowing that you are trying to learn. Avail yourself to the Stern network and try to make as many connections as possible. You never know what could happen. NYU also has a lot of fantastic resources through clubs, offices and other opportunities to help you achieve your goals. Be sure to get involved while you are here.
How has Stern’s location in NYC impacted your experience?
As someone who lived in New York City prior to Stern for my undergraduate degree, I highly recommend going to school in New York, there are so many fantastic opportunities and experiences that you can't get anywhere else in the country. I have found that being in the epicenter of the fashion industry is ideal for my career path. My location alone has made it easier to network and make connections. I think that everyone should live in New York City at some point, I love it here!
Who is someone that has strongly influenced your time at Stern and your career search?
In the Fashion and Luxury program we are each paired with a member from the Fashion and Luxury Council with a background in our preferred career path. My mentor held many executive positions in the fashion industry throughout his career. He has been extremely helpful in advising on the best way to improve my business and the formulation of my business plan. NYU has a fantastic network of successful alumni to advise students on their career path.