The New York State Board of Regents has signed off on allowing LIM College to offer a master of science degree in “consumer analytics.” The approval comes as fashion retailers and brands step up efforts in using data and technology to inform product development, create a more personalized shopping experience, build customer loyalty and more.

LIM College, which focuses “exclusively on the study of business and fashion,” said this will be the “first and only master’s degree program in the U.S. to focus specifically on data analytics in the fashion industry.” The program is set to launch in the fall, and will be designed to “equip students with the skills and knowledge essential for using customer data to drive business decisions.” Dr. Susan Baxter, LIM College’s dean of graduate studies, said the field of consumer analytics “offers a broad array of career opportunities.”

Coursework will be compiled of 39 to 45 credits and will be completed in 18 months.

“Graduates will be prepared to fill positions as data analysts, trend forecasters, business development specialists, market researchers and customer relationship managers on the retail, wholesale and brand sides of the global fashion business,” Baxter explained. “And as design and aesthetics, competition and globalization increasingly impact all kinds of businesses, the skills acquired in LIM College’s master’s degree program in consumer analytics can also be applied far beyond fashion.”

Elizabeth S. Marcuse, LIM College president, noted that since its inception, the school has been “committed to meeting the needs of employers in the fashion and related industries. As businesses throughout the world increasingly seek to harness the power of data analytics, the demand for employees with advanced skills in this area is rising rapidly.” Marcuse described this degree offering as a “significant” and logical step in the college’s “mission to prepare fashion’s future business leaders.”

To put this program into perspective, LIM College cited a recent report developed by PwC and the Business-Higher Education Forum that revealed 67 percent of executives polled “expect to choose job candidates with data skills over ones without” by 2021. This expectation is bolstered by the drive for brands and companies in becoming more digital, which will increase the demand for workers and managers skilled in data analytics.

LIM College said the coursework “will blend conceptual knowledge of statistics, information systems, marketing, supply chain management and strategy.” Courses offered will focus on data mining and analytics, data visualization and communication graphics, CRM and advanced marketing metrics, among other topics.

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