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What is MSc Fashion Analytics and Forecasting?

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laptop with workbook and calculator
laptop with workbook and calculator
Zoe Zanon Rives in the studio - Fashion: Buying and Merchandising
Written by
London College of Fashion
Published date
18 January 2021
"This course is going to provide us with future industry leaders capable of both staying ahead of fashion trends but also anticipating changing customer behaviour and how to react fast."

— Nishi Overton - Head of Marketing and Scaling at Amazon.

Dr. Emmanuel Sirimal Silva - Course Development Lead and Head of Research Co-ordination: Fashion Business School and Hannah Middleton - Knowledge Exchange Leader: Fashion Business School, respond to some FAQ’s about the new MSc Fashion Analytics and Forecasting course at LCF. To find out more, book onto our upcoming online open day for this course.

How would you describe the purpose of this course?

It is estimated that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day with data defining how business is done. According to Andy Tudor at Clekt, data is being stored, captured, and managed by 92% of companies in increasing volumes, yet 52.4% businesses lack the understanding as to how to use this data to gain a competitive advantage in their marketplace. Data scientists capture and analyse data but often lack the fashion retail knowledge to make informed fashion business decisions - this is where this course comes in!

MSc Fashion Analytics and Forecasting is the first fully online, postgraduate degree to combine fashion business knowledge with data analytics. You will be guided by subject experts at London College of Fashion in understanding, applying and critiquing theoretical knowledge relevant to contemporary global fashion business. In addition you will develop your practical skills in the application of time series analysis and forecasting, machine learning, and statistical data analysis to support strategic decision making alongside skills of interpreting and communicating data.

What experience would make someone well suited to the course?

The future of fashion is data-driven. There is a high demand for graduates skilled in working with data and currently a shortage of such  graduates. If you are passionate about the business of fashion and possess an intellectual curiosity to learn how the application of data analytics can aid sustainable growth and strategic decisions, then this course is for you.

The course does require engagement with numeric data and statistical analysis so you do need a certain amount of confidence in working with numbers. However you do not need to be a pure maths or programming geek as the course focuses on application of industry standard techniques and the interpretation of results of analysis to inform business decisions. You will therefore also be a strong written and oral communicator with a drive to make a difference to the global fashion industry.

Whilst the undergraduate entry route is open to those with degrees in Business, Marketing or Management, or with a Product, Enterprise or Quantitative focus, we also welcome applications from working professionals wanting to return to academia to develop themselves to become more confident to make data-informed fashion business decisions, and be able to communicate these with confidence, impact and credibility.

“Data analytics is crucial in retail. The technical proficiency this course teaches is a great opportunity for someone that has a retail background and wants to expand their skill set to make better insights with data.” - Rosie Hood - PhD, Senior Data Scientist at EDITED.

What is the connection between the course and industry?

As a leading institution in fashion education, London College of Fashion has strong industry links and partnerships that will be beneficial to you as a student. In terms of the MSc Fashion Analytics and Forecasting, we co-created the curriculum with our industry contacts from EDITED, Amazon, IMRG and Clekt. We are pleased to announce that the course is now officially supported by EDITED – the leader in retail market intelligence. We are also in discussion with several companies for formal collaborations. Few examples of ongoing discussions include IMRG - the UK's industry association for online retail, Amazon UK, Clekt, and Sefleuria. These industry connections will allow you to benefit from live guest lectures, additional skills sessions, to live industry briefs for your assessments – thereby ensuring you are continuously working on projects of value to the fashion industry at large.

What skills will this course provide students with?

The course aims to teach a variety of desirable skills that will allow you to make data-driven decisions for a competitive advantage.The hard skills you develop will include data visualisation, machine learning, time series analysis and forecasting, quantitative methods, statistical data analysis, and IT skills such as Structured Query Language (SQL), R Studio, IBM SPSS Statistics, Tableau and Qualtrics.Soft skills that students will develop are interpersonal (people) skills, effective communication listening, speaking, writing, storytelling), intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, proactive problem solving, fashion business acumen, adaptability, time management, creativity, persuasion, teamwork, adaptability, planning and time management.

What kind of work could taking this course lead to?

Graduates from MSc FAaF will be well placed to go into a variety of roles across the fashion industry: retail merchandising; retail planning; retail buying; retail analyst; CRM analyst; consumer insights analyst; supply chain analyst; trend forecasting analyst; data scientist and data analyst. This MSc could equally lead you to further doctoral studies and a research career in academia.

Here’s what some key industry contacts had to say about the course:

"Talented analysts are a sought after resource in retail. One of the main challenges is finding analysts who are skilled at the quantitative elements but are also tuned into the bigger picture of the business needs and the impact their number crunching has as part of a profit making venture. So, the idea of this (course) whereby you’re taking a business student and teaching the ways of data and analytics, I think that would equip your students with quite a valuable skillset to get themselves hired.” - Matthew Walsh -Director of Data and Retail at IMRG