“I Am Shaping the Future of Fashion Retail”
Graduate of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management part-time MBA program works as Managing Director of the Breuninger department store in Düsseldorf.
Thomas Höhn is a graduate (2015) of the Part-time Master in General Management Program (MBA) of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. The alumnus, who was born in Rosenheim, works as the Managing Director of Breuninger’s flagship store in Düsseldorf.
Benefiting from exchanging experiences and practice-oriented management knowledge
Looking back at his MBA studies, the 39-year-old comments, “Exchanging experiences on a bilateral level with my classmates and professors during and, mainly, after the MBA program is what I value in particular.” Thomas Höhn benefited greatly from the management knowledge with a high practical relation which he obtained at HHL. “In many areas, I was able to apply what I had learned directly to the daily operations,” says the businessman. One highlight for Thomas Höhn was the trip to Boston, MA, USA as part of the Global Immersion Week due to the content of the classes and the Americans’ strong ability to put ideas into action. He also considers the Negotiation class as truly enriching on a personal and professional level.
Driving force within the chain of department stores
After studying business administration in Germany, Italy and Ireland, Thomas Höhn followed a straightforward career path. After taking up a job at the Breuninger fashion house as Assistant to the Board of the Sales Division, he moved into the company’s Retail Division leading various departments. At 30 years old, Thomas Höhn became the Managing Director of Breuninger in Erfurt. He then served in the same position in Leipzig where he also completed the part-time MBA program at HHL. In June 2015, he became Managing Director of one of the largest stores of the Swabian fashion house, the Breuninger flagship store in Düsseldorf. In the capital of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, he is responsible for a representative fashion store with over 15,000 square meters in sales area and 400 employees. In addition to the operative and strategic management of the department store, networking is an important component of his job at Breuninger Düsseldorf, where the HHL network comes in very handy. Thomas Höhn explains enthusiastically, “My position allows me to actively shape Breuninger’s transition from a purely offline trader to an omni-channel company. In this context, we are also dealing extensively with re-defining the service elements of the fashion house. Moreover, my team and I are working on a reversion of the predominant leadership method, which, traditionally, has a strong top-to-bottom orientation.”
Challenge of various sales channels
Thomas Höhn’s MBA thesis proved to be practically relevant and oriented on the trends of his industry, examining shopping behavior with regard to the phenomenon of showrooming, where the customer tries on the clothes in the store but ultimately orders them online. The HHL alumnus explains, “The hybrid customer combines both channels almost as fluently and is developing a better understanding of how to take advantage of their specific benefits. I am convinced that neither the offline nor the online channel on its own will be successful in the future. It is essential to connect the two of them as the agile consumer is looking more and more for good value for money.” And how can stationary retailers win over customers in this context? “Retail must remember its original strengths and its competitive edge. Excellent assistance and high availability of sales staff indicate a high level of service-orientation. But there are also new approaches such as free delivery of the goods bought in store or free workshops which offer a relevant added value to today’s customers,” says retail expert Thomas Höhn.
The Part-Time Master in Management Program (MBA) at HHL
The two-year part-time MBA program with a focus on ‘General Management’ is designed for people working in middle management who would like to expand their existing knowledge by practice-oriented and up-to-date management knowledge. The program has achieved top rankings in the Financial Times rating for career progress of its alumni and the salary increase after graduation. The classes, held in English, teach the basics of economics in combination with concrete management tools. Internationally renowned professors teach extended management skills and leadership competencies. The offer of courses focusing on ‘Leadership’ as well as ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management’ was expanded. Moreover, the program provides the participants with excellent networking opportunities with HHL’s extensive alumni network. Good to know: The tuition fees as well as all other program-related costs are fully tax-deductible as professional expenses Moreover, HHL offers a variety of funding options. Since March 2015, HHL has offered its academic part-time Master Program in Management (MBA) not only in Leipzig but also in Cologne.