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London College of Fashion

Christian Toma

Profession
Key Account Manager
College
London College of Fashion
Person Type
Alumni
Christian  Toma

Biography

In his own words, Christian is 'a little bit from everywhere and nowhere' - born to German / Romanian parents, Christian grew up between Germany and the US. He is now based in Berlin, working as a Key Account Manager for Amazon Marketplace. He studied MSc Strategic Fashion Management at LCF, graduating with distinction in 2016, also winning the Gold Award for research from the Chartered Management Institute.

Interview

Why did you choose to study at LCF? What attracted you about this university?

Two things; I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in business and work in a fashion related context. Secondly, I believe London is a great place to start out ones career, offering a plethora of opportunity and space to develop. When I found out about LCF's Fashion Business School, the decision making process was very organic, not to forget LCF's unique position within the fashion and fashion research sphere.

Why did you decide to study MSc Strategic Fashion Management?

The course offered a combination of the two things I wanted; a degree in business with a strong focus on the fashion industry.

What did you enjoy the most about your course?

I really enjoyed the flexibility and conceptual freedom the course provided. This became particularly evident when selecting the topic for my master thesis. The time I spent researching and the fantastic industry partner LCF provided, rendered this period of time as the most work instense, but by far the most interesting period of my course.

What did you focus on for your final major project?

When choosing my topic (The Shop of the Future - how to bridge the online / offline experience gap in fashion retail through virtual reality) I really wanted to challenge myself. I have never, to this day, played a computer or video game. The entire realm of augmented and virtual reality represented an occult and obscure world to me. I was highly intrigued by the unknown medium and how it can be utilised within a business context. The research process was very interesting, learning new thins every single day and experiencing a high interest from industry professionals to work with me, as 2016 marked the first year a commercially available VR headset launched as Oculus Rift. I conducted focus groups, experiments and surveyed individuals, generating a multi-faceted and diverse workflow.

What was the best piece of advice you received from a lecturer or tutor during your time at LCF?

Dig deeper, be curious and inquisitive and be tenacious and when trying to get someone to work with you, make them talk about themselves.

What have you been working on since finishing your course?

After graduating from LCF, I decided to take a gap year and backpacked around the globe for 13 months. Upon my return, I decided that I wanted to leave London without any specific destination in mind and ended up spending the remainder of summer 2017 in Berlin to apply for jobs all across Europe. Due to a strong interest in E-Commerce, I decided to apply for Amazon and ultimately settled for the Account Manager position in November 2017. As I have grown in my role, I am currently consulting selling partners on expanding their business EU-wide and am responsible for brand owner and brand building topics for EU and DE.

Did you always know you that you wanted to pursue a career in fashion and retail?

I have always had a strong interest in the fashion industry due to its velocity and its appetite for novelty and innovation. I was fascinated with how quickly business models evolved and social media, e-commerce and even augmented / virtual reality entered corporated office and translated into concepts and strategies.

For you, what is the best thing about your job?

Its hard to choose. For one, working in an environment that embraces failure and enables the individual to think big. Secondly, being provided with a work space that allows me to be my authentic self 100%, and thirdly, working with incredibly smart and engaging individuals who are constantly over-performing to drive innovation and change, delivering a unique learning experience.

What are your plans for the next few years?

Currently I am at a crossroads in terms of where I want to position myself. I could develop into a role as an individual contributor such as program manager, or a more people-management focused role. Both yield different career perspectives, but I am giving myself the time to find out. Young professionals too often forget that they have many years ahead of themselves to climb the career ladder and are too focused on moving up, instead of appreciating what they learn along the way.

What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol on MSc Strategic Fashion Management?

Be prepared to take detours, try out as many things and get involved as much as possible and don't get too stuck in the destination but think about all the things you'll learn along the journey. Oh and yes, always shamelessly market yourself, you are your best advertising.

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