MSc in Strategic Brand Management

The MSc in Strategic Brand Management combines foundations in communications and brand theory with core courses from AUP’s innovative International Management curriculum. It prepares students to expertly manage and shape an international brand and its relationship to the consumers and employees who make its success possible.

Working as a brand manager requires the capacity to maintain a holistic view of one’s organization, an understanding of consumer needs and the business’s strategic goals, as well as the ability to clearly articulate the unique value the business will add to the world as it grows. Brand managers often work as the arbiter of a brand’s identity; they are the quality control check point with the visual, verbal and strategic management savvy to determine when any part of a company is not operating consistently with its established values and identity – be that in operations, graphic design, copywriting or company culture. This RNCP-accredited program prepares you for this highly interdisciplinary career path that requires strong diplomacy and communications skills, as well as a strategic mindset and an aptitude for business. 

Master of Science in Strategic Brand Management

  • Duration 3-4 Semesters
  • Entry time Fall or Spring
  • Cost €51,744
  • Language English
  • Overview

    The MSc in Strategic Brand Management  provides foundations in branding, marketing, business and management through courses that focus on theory and on the practical applications needed to lead today’s global brands. With this core knowledge students will progress onto three modules and two electives that will help them apply what they’ve learned in context and further deepen their understanding of strategic brand management. Electives include subjects such as human resources, sustainability management and the business of fashion. In addition, students will complete an internship or thesis on a topic of interest that they choose. 

    Launched in 2023 in response to the increasing prevalence of brand management roles in international organizations, the degree builds on the curriculums of AUP’s well established MA in Global Communications and MA in International Management, while also leveraging the strong network of alumni from both programs who have gone on to find success in brand management roles, several of whom have founded their own brands, agencies and design firms.

    Learning Outcomes: Brand-oriented Solutions to Strategic Problems

    The program will provide students with the skills and perspectives relevant to brand management roles in a wide range of companies and organizations operating in local or global markets. Students will:

    • Demonstrate critical thinking and the application of core competencies in business decisions in a global environment.
    • Obtain a global perspective and be able to evaluate brand opportunities and challenges in the ever‐changing context of an internationally operated business.
    • Be prepared to work in multicultural teams and demonstrate cross‐cultural sensitivity.
    • Learn  to communicate convincingly about brands based on data and conceptual frameworks, both in writing and orally.
    • Learn how to analyze organizational strategy and its implementation particularly in relation to branding.
    • Be  able to evaluate major branding concepts and apply strategic analysis techniques.
    • Be able to use branding to develop solutions to complex management problems.
    • Be able to undertake a branding audit and develop rebranding plans and brand implementation.
    Paris in the sunshine

    Paris: At the Center of Innovation and Global Discourse

    Paris is itself a brand. The narrative surrounding the City of Light draws over 30 million tourists a year. It’s not only museums and monuments that draw the crowds – the Parisian brand is cultural and creative, with companies in fashion, gastronomy and the arts drawing on the city’s prestige. Large-scale events, from Paris Fashion Week to the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics, add to the ample opportunities to witness brand management in action.

    Paris is also being rebranded as more accessible, sustainable and forward-thinking. Through the study of strategic brand management, students will see its varied impacts throughout daily life – as an ever-changing city adapts its image to the wants and needs of its citizens.

    Paris is also a professional center of innovation for both corporate and institutional branding – as much a hub for NGOs and international organizations as it is for innovative startups. President Macron’s commitment to French startup culture is backed by a pledge of 7 billion euros. Throughout the program, you’ll have multiple chances to build a professional network – both in Paris and internationally.

    Structure

      Fall (1)SpringSummerFall (2)
      2 core courses      
      2 elective courses
      2 core courses      
      2 elective courses      
      Internship/Thesis Seminar (2 credits)
         2 elective coursesInternship/Thesis*
      16 credits18 credits8 credits6 credits

      * The length of the internship or thesis may vary. Many students choose to take additional time for these components.

       

      Spring (1)SummerFallSpring (2)
      2 core courses      
      2 elective courses
         2 elective courses      2 core courses      
      2 elective courses      
      Internship/Thesis Seminar (2 credits)
      Internship/Thesis*
      16 credits8 credits18 credits6 credits

      * The length of the internship or thesis may vary. Many students choose to take additional time for these components.

       

      Important note: Students can choose this option upon arrival from their academic advisor.

      1st Semester2nd Semester3rd Semester
      2 core courses      
      2 elective courses
      2 core courses      
      2 elective courses      
      Internship/Thesis Seminar (2 credits)
      2 elective courses    
      Internship/Thesis*
      16 credits18 credits14 credits

       

      * The length of the internship or thesis may vary. Many students choose to take additional time for these components.

       

    Paris

    1 semester

    The Branding Practicum

    This practicum leads students through brand theory and helps them hone in on practical skills related to brand management. Students delve deep into the meaning of a company to distill their brand essence – or what Professor Behnke calls one-word positioning. The class investigates the process of determining what a brand stands for and the psychological aspects that are at play in consumer behavior. The course then goes beyond analyzing brands as students create their own brands.

    Internships

    Students in the MSc in Strategic Brand Management are encouraged to build on their education and kick-start their career by conducting an internship, allowing them to apply learned theory and skills in professional contexts. Though paid internships are rare as part of the program, our internships database does provide access to top-level employers at Paris-based international organizations, businesses and media outlets. 

    Graduates hug in celebration

    Graduation

    Graduates of the MSc in Strategic Brand Management join the University’s annual Commencement Ceremony in the beautiful Théâtre du Châtelet. The year of graduation is flexible and is based on students’ semester of entry and projected program timeline.

  • Experiential Learning

    Students in the MSc in Strategic Brand Management program will attend field studies that provide them with pre-professional experience in brand management theory and practice outside of the classroom. 

    These study trips are a cornerstone of AUP’s educational philosophy and are considered core features of the learning process, truly hands-on experiences that can expand horizons as much as professional networks. For Strategic Brand Management students these are unique opportunities to discover place branding, in Sweden, Iceland, India, Morocco or elsewhere. 

    Stockholm, Sweden

    AUP students from the Strategic Brand Management and other select programs travel to Stockholm to learn about the specificities of the Swedish approach to branding, thanks to visits to the country’s top agencies, with emphasis on place branding. The Nordic capital provides a living case study, offering real-world examples of the impact of branding on a city’s economic landscape.

    #446CCF

    Auroville, India

    The India practicum allows Strategic Brand Management students to gain hands-on experience working on the ground in the township of Auroville, located near the vibrant South Indian seaside town of Pondicherry. Students are led in particular to work on media and communications projects for local NGOS committed to social, cultural, and economic development in urban and rural communities.

    #182757

    Reykjavík, Iceland

    The Iceland study trip teaches students about place branding through ethnographic observations and interactions with individuals working, for example, on the development of promotional materials about the country.  Gain an understanding of the fusion of policy and branding, an appreciation for culture, environment, public spaces and development. 

    #273B8B

    Fez, Morocco

    While discovering Islamic architecture and design and their roles in Fez's public identity, students will also examine the urban renewal and communications taking place in a heritage city in a developing country. This will be especially relevant within the context of the Fez Sacred Music Festival, which has, over the last 18 years, changed the image of Fez both in Morocco and abroad, and helped many reevaluate the roles of religion and spirituality in developing global civil societies. 

    #446CCF
  • Faculty

    Students in the MSc in Strategic Brand Management benefit from close interaction with expert faculty whose twin focuses of teaching and research encourage extraordinary intellectual collaboration both in and out of the classroom. Students regularly form close bonds with their professors, who act as mentors and advisors as well as teachers. Research collaborations between graduate students and faculty members are common: some recent examples include a research project on prison education working with formerly incarcerated activists and a virtual exhibition on the future of fashion post-pandemic.

    Faculty for this program also teach in the MA in Global Communications and the MA in International Management programs. They come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, from those who have decades of experience in brand consultancy to active journalists reporting across the world. Many have lived and worked in multiple countries and speak two or more languages, bringing rich, diverse perspectives from their international experience with them into their teaching. Their professional networks allow them both to bring experts into the classroom and to take students to study brand management on site in destinations such as Stockholm, Sweden or Iceland.

    Our professors' interdisciplinary academic specializations overlap with diverse fields including history, politics, art, semiotics, psychology, film and food studies. Their academic output translates into a body of peer-reviewed articles, books, media engagements and conference appearances every year.  Specific recent publications include works exploring queer theory and media studies, post-truth politics, and sustainable fashion education.

    Waddick Doyle

    Program Director Waddick Doyle has led the inception and evolution of the Global Communications department to deliver an innovative education.

    #446CCF

    Michael Behnke

    Michael Behnke brings his professional experience with him into the classroom, teaching students to adapt to changing trends in branding. 

    #446CCF
  • Creative Thinking Leads to Action

    AUP’s MSc in Strategic Brand Management focuses on the techniques necessary for students to establish themselves in international careers. They will learn how to translate creative thinking into concrete strategies for growing a business, organizing teams and recruiting the best employees. The program equips alumni for roles such as:

    • Chief Marketing Officer
    • Brand Consultant
    • Advertising Executive
    • Managing Partner
    • Entrepreneur
    • Communications Officer
    • 0 %
    • Of all AUP alumni work in fields related to the global branding industry.

    Hamza Usman G'09

    Hamza Usman G’09 turned a gap in the pharmaceutical market into a force for social good, laying the foundations for safer pharmacies in Pakistan.

    #182757

    Paige Beaton Coulier G’13

    From interning at a small startup to a Fortune 500 company, Paige Coulier G'13 has always brought a passion for education and climate into work.

    #182757

    Graduate Career Outcomes

    Research conducted in the last ten years indicates that close to 9 out of every 10 graduate alumni that graduated from The American University of Paris have found a job, become entrepreneurs or pursued additional educational routes within one year of graduation. Our graduate programs provide academic excellence and practical knowledge that prepares you to successfully enter the international employment market after graduation.

    Career Support Services

    AUP’s Center for Academic, Career and Experiential Advising (ACE) supports graduate students in defining, planning and developing their career pathway both during their degree and following graduation. From deciding on an internship to contacting alumni mentors working in relevant fields, students will find AUP’s career support services are a vital tool when thinking about their next steps.

    Library tour with students
  • RNCP Certification

    What is RNCP Certification?

    The Répertoire National des Certifications Professionelles, also known as RNCP, is the French national register of professional qualifications. It is the central reference framework for all diplomas, qualifications and titles recognized by the French state. This professional certification allows the holder to demonstrate competency of the skills and knowledge necessary to exercise an activity corresponding to a particular professional field. It guarantees that the holder is qualified to begin work in that field immediately, and it is recognized EU-wide.

    Discover AUP's list of accreditations

    Post-Graduate Work in Paris

    Graduates of the MA in Global Communications and the MSc in Strategic Brand Management will be awarded two certifications upon successfully completing the degree requirements:

    • The American University of Paris Master’s Diploma certifying the successful completion of the program’s degree requirements, including its 48 credits. 
    • The degree qualification “Manager de la Communication et de Marketing International (Manager of International Communications/Marketing)”. This European-level qualification is recognized by the French state and is recorded in the French national register of professional qualifications (Répertoire National des Certifications Professionelles, or RNCP). The RNCP is the central reference framework for all diplomas, qualifications and titles recognized by the French state. This professional certification allows its holder to demonstrate competency of the skills and knowledge necessary to exercise an activity corresponding to a professional field. It guarantees that the holder is qualified to begin work in that field immediately.

    The MA in Global Communications program and the MSc in Strategic Brand Management are both recognized by the RNCP. As part of this certification, all MAGC and SBM students who graduated on or after May 21, 2013, are eligible to apply for the Carte de séjour -Recherche d’emploi/création d’entreprise. This grants students the opportunity to live and work in France, as per the guidelines of the visa.

    In the Fall of 2022, AUP launched the MSC in Strategic Brand Management. The MSc in Strategic Brand Management is a hybrid degree combining classes from AUP's Master of Science in International Management with classes from the Master of Arts in Global Communications. Courses in the MA in Global Communications program are equally core courses in the Strategic Brand Management program so that the RNCP certification is awarded to both degrees.

    Please note that only MA in Global Communications and MSc in Strategic Brand Management students are eligible for the Carte de séjour -Recherche d’emploi/création d’entreprise at this time. It is advisable to apply for the Carte de séjour -Recherche d’emploi/création d’entreprise after you have completed your studies but before your student visa expires. Please contact the Graduate Office (graduateprograms@aup.edu) for more information.

     

    Learn more about staying abroad after graduation

  • Admissions

    AUP’s graduate programs welcome applications from motivated, high-caliber individuals who feel they will thrive in AUP’s international and dynamic environment. When assessing applications, we take a holistic approach to identifying the next cohort of Graduate Global Explorers, considering education, experience and general fit with AUP values and curriculum. Students can pursue our innovative program in Paris in the MSc in Strategic Brand Management program in the Fall or Spring.

    Applicant Profiles 

    The MSc in Strategic Brand Management welcomes applicants from a variety of backgrounds. These include recent graduates in areas including business, management and communication fields (e.g. Communications, Media, Journalism) or those from other disciplines with a proven interest in brand management. We seek in particular students eager to work in an international team, seeking out new professional experiences within their field while putting their skills and expertise to good use. 

    We also tend to favor applications from professionals with at least one year of relevant work experience, looking to expand their knowledge and from those who are looking to change direction in their careers. 

    Tuition and Scholarships

    Depending on the length of your graduate program, the cost will vary. Find out more about tuition and costs for the MSc in Strategic Brand Management.

    AUP offers need- and merit-based scholarships to graduate students. The majority of our financial awards range from 25 percent to 50 percent of tuition and the average award amounts to about 30 percent. 

    Learn more about scholarships and financial aid

     

    Application Process

      You can start your application process by creating an account on AUP’s Application Portal. You will be able to return to this page to finish and review your application prior to submission as often as you like. 

      Online Form

      Each graduate program has its own application via the AUP Application Portal. You may only apply to one program. 

      The form will ask you to complete various details including contact details, background information and educational history. Your application will also require several supporting documents which can be uploaded directly in your online application in .pdf or .doc formats.

      Transcripts

      We require official transcripts covering all previous university coursework, including confirmation of an awarded bachelor’s degree or equivalent.  All official documents must be submitted in English or French, or with a certified translation into one of these two languages. We recommend your transcripts demonstrate a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (or equivalent). 

      Personal Statement

      Applicants are required to submit a 500-word personal statement describing their reasons for applying to the program of their choice, drawing on relevant past undergraduate research or professional experience, as well as your career objectives.  

      Program Specific Items

      Standardized tests: GRE optional.
       

      CV / Resume

      Applicants should submit a C.V. or resumé including university and/or employment history; community involvement; professional, and/or university extracurricular activities; and recognitions and achievements. 

      Letters of Recommendation

      We require two letters of recommendation from individuals well-qualified to provide us with first-hand knowledge about your potential for graduate study, with at least one letter from a university professor if you graduated in the last five years. 

      Veteran & Military Applicants: One of your letters of recommendation should ideally come from a Commanding Officer.

      When you have entered the contact details for your recommenders to your application, AUP will approach them for their recommendation.  

      English

      Students must demonstrate sufficient fluency in English. If English is not your first language, we require you to submit results less than two years old from one of the following tests: 

      • TOEFL - Internet Based Test (ibT) minimum score: 101. To have your results sent directly to The American University of Paris, use our institutional code 0866.
      • Cambridge English - Advanced, or Proficiency level, minimum score: 185.
      • TOEIC - Listening and Reading, minimum score 910. To have your results sent directly to The American University of Paris, use our institutional code 0866.
      • IELTS - Academic Option, minimum score 7.0.  

      The English language test requirement is waived if you meet one of the following criteria: 

      • You have been living in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States for at least two consecutive years and have recently studied in an all-English curriculum.
      • You have studied for at least four years in an all-English curriculum in any other country, although we continue to reserve the right to request English test results from any applicant.

      We reserve the right to request English test results from any applicant.

      When you have completed your application, you will be asked to review the application and confirm that you are satisfied with the application before final submission. There is a non-refundable €75 processing fee to be paid at this point. 

      When AUP has received all of the documents (including responses from your recommenders), the Admissions Committee will review your application. In some cases the committee may come back to you for additional information. A review takes approximately four weeks from when the final documents are received.

      When the Admissions Committee has reached its decision, an email will be sent to the address provided asking you to log-on to the Application Portal to view the decision. 

    Deadlines

    We review completed applications in rounds throughout the year. We encourage you to apply early: priority for admission and financial aid is given to those who apply in the earlier rounds. 

    Fall Admission

    Review RoundsApplication Round Deadline
    Priority Admissionby February 1st
    Regular Admissionby March 31st
    Late or International Regular admissionafter April 1st (based on available spaces)

     

    Spring Admission

    Review RoundsApplication Round Deadline
    Priority Admissionby September 15th
    Regular Admissionafter September 15th (based on available spaces)
  • Requirements: MSc in Strategic Brand Management (48 Credits)

    Requirements and credit counts differ for the various Master’s programs at AUP. Please note that all requirements from previous years can be found in our archive catalogs.

    Graduate students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00. Students with a GPA of less than 3.00 will be placed on probation. Only two grades of C (or C+) may be counted towards an M.Sc. degree. Students do not earn credit for grades below C.

    ALL COURSES CARRY FOUR (4) CREDITS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. 

     

    Core Courses (20 Credits)

    Course CodeCourse Name
    BA5001 

    or 

    BA5035
    Accounting and Management Control   

    or   

    International Financial Management
    CM5002Brands and Belief
    BA5041Marketing Strategy (2 credits)
    BA5049    
    CM5049
    Issues in Contemporary Brand Management
    CM5066Branding Practicum
    BA5071Strategic Management (2 credits)

     

    Business Electives (8 Credits)

    Course CodeCourse Name
    BA5012Management Ethics and Theory

    and
    Organizational Behavior (2 credits)   

    and   

    Sustainability Management (2 credits)
    BA5062Management of Complexity (4 credits)
    EC5063Economic Analysis for Management (2 credits)

     

    Communications Electives (8 Credits)

    Course CodeCourse Name
    GR5002MODAny other rotating modules authorized by the Program Director (2 credits)
    CM5004Global Digital Cultures
    CM5013The Business of Fashion
    CM5018Digital Tools in Context
    CM5020MODModules relevant to program (2 credits)    

    (Example titles may include: 3D Branding: Visual Artistry in Fashion, Social Media Strategies, Digital Communications by Social Impact)
    CM5022Place Branding
    CM5026     
    PO5026
    Politics & Economics of Global Media
    CM5033Material Cultures & Values
    CM5062Digital Media Writing Practicum
    CM5063Sustainable Development Practicum
    CM5068NGO Practicum
    CM5XXXAny CM course at the 5000 level with the advisor and program director's authorization

     

    Free Electives (4 Credits)

    Course CodeCourse Name
     Chosen from the graduate course offerings

     

    Methods Course (2 Credits)

    Course CodeCourse Name
    BA5019Consulting Methods  (2 credits, pre-requisite for BA5098 / CM5098)
    BA5099     

    or    

    GR5093
    Thesis Methodology Seminar (2 credits, pre-requisite for BA5095 / CM5095)   

    or   

    Global Workplace Cultures: Internship Seminar (2 credits, pre-requisite for BA5098 / CM5098)

     

    Capstone (6 Credits)

    Select one of the following:

    Course CodeCourse Name
     
    Thesis (6 credits)
    BA5098INT    
    CM5098INT
    Internship (6 credits)

     

     

     

    * The length of the internship or thesis may vary, however—many students choose to take additional time for these components. 

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