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Fashion School Q&A: ISEM Fashion Business School - Universidad de Navarra

By FashionUnited

Jun 2, 2021


Photos: ISEM

ISEM Fashion Business School at the University of Navarra in Madrid, is the first business school specialized in fashion education that exists in Spain. It was born with the objective of training professionals with negotiation and leadership skills to work in the fashion industry. FashionUnited spoke to Cristina Fernández Saldaña, Manager at ISEM Fashion Business School about the institute’s future plans, courses, and its community.

How has the transition from in-house to remote learning been for the school and students?

In fact, ISEM Fashion Business School, like the entire University of Navarra, is committed to face-to-face training. We are a face-to-face University and we believe that this is one of the strengths of our added value.

The circumstances of recent times did lead us to have to jump online for a short period of time. This was done quickly, with professionalism and trying to give the best possible response to the demands of students, professors and all the agents involved. We worked hard and very well during those days to be able to offer the best possible service.

As soon as possible, we have returned 100 percent to in-campus education. Proof of this is that this year all our programs have taken place in our classrooms (except for Fashion Digital Strategy, which, given its nature, is an online program).

I believe that the students and all of us who make up this university community are happy to have been able to maintain this format, despite the logistical and operational challenges that this particular year presented us with.

How would you describe the ISEM student community?

ISEM students are people who are passionate about fashion, who wish to develop their professional career in this sector from a management and business management point of view, in most cases. All of them are prepared people, with intellectual concerns and eager to give the best of themselves to develop as excellent professionals.

What kind of courses does ISEM offer? What is the focus area?

At ISEM we have two types of programs. On the one hand, the generalists (where we find the "Executive Master in Fashion Business Administration" (more junior profile); the "Advanced Program in Fashion Business Management" (more senior students); and the "Fashion & Creativity Management Program", a very introductory course for those who want to begin to discover all the possibilities offered by this industry.

On the other hand, there are programs with more specific content. Here we can list the following: "The Right Fashion", whose focus is sustainability and the circular economy; the aforementioned "Fashion Digital Strategy", which focuses on the world of online content; "Fashion Business iQ: An Insight into the Industry", which studies the particularities of the U.S. fashion system. Fashion Entrepreneurship 101: Building a Successful Brand", which takes place in Miami and whose target audience is entrepreneurs who wish to acquire a 101 vision of the fashion business; and the "Custom Programs", which are tailored to the specific demands of the companies we work with.

What do we need to know about ISEM?

ISEM is the only fashion business school in the world today. It was born with the objective of training professionals with negotiation and leadership skills to work in the fashion industry. Its vocation is to promote the professionalization of the sector by being a center of convergence between management and creativity. Throughout these years, ISEM Fashion Business School has achieved a unique balance between specialized knowledge and practical experience, enhancing the dimension and richness in the professional development of those who drive, from relevant positions, the future of the fashion industry. Through its teaching and research activities, lSEM pursues the following main objectives:

- To train the people who manage, direct and form part of the value chain of fashion companies; a sector of special relevance both for its business importance in the economy of our country, as well as for its impact and influence on society. All this, within a climate of freedom, instills the aspiration to a job well done and the service of others.
- Emphasize the moral and ethical values necessary to combine human and business development of the people and institutions that make up the industry.
- To create an environment that favors and stimulates start-ups in the fashion and luxury sector.
- To help professionalize the fashion industry which, due to its growth in recent years and its vertiginous dynamics, requires specific business training.
- Imparting a global character through teachers, students and activities, to overcome the cultural and social differences faced by international fashion and luxury companies.
- Maintain strong and continuous support to the business community and its leaders, allowing contact with the reality of this industry and making it possible to identify the training needs of the sector.
- To address the main challenges posed by the sector from a responsible, sustainable and humanistic perspective in order to contribute, in this way, to the improvement of society and the environment.

What are the plans for this year? Any new things coming up?

We are working to continue increasing our academic offerings, adapting them to the needs of this rapidly changing industry. In addition, every year we renew the necessary contents of the programs that are already in operation in order to be always at the forefront. We do all this through very close collaboration with the companies, which guide us in this work and give us the necessary clues to know in which areas we have to focus more or renew our knowledge. Without this collaboration, it would be impossible to develop this work.

Do you have any tips for future students who want to study at ISEM?

We are looking for restless students, with a spirit of service, critical attitude, capacity for effort, and enthusiasm. Moreover, of course, be passionate about fashion. We want to train the fashion industry leaders of tomorrow and for that, we need people with intellectual ambition. People who are constantly asking questions, who have a vocation to help and a desire to excel. This is the only way we can achieve our goal of helping to create a better fashion industry and a better world.