I just got back from my business school class reunion. (My wife says she has no idea how I got through such a good school. Humph!)

From time to time, my university publishes studies on the career paths of its 149,323 graduates. A few have become CEOs, financial wizards, Web pioneers, millionaires (you get the idea), while others have carved out successful careers in building consumer-product companies such as cosmetics retailers, shoe manufacturers, high-end clothing importers, etc.

As a jewelry guy (I have been a jewelry manufacturer and a jewelry-brand importer), I naturally thumbed through the directory looking for graduates in the jewelry industry. To my surprise I found none—zero. I have no idea how many jewelry professionals graduated from other business schools. I assume few, if any.

With all the turbulence in our industry—bankruptcies, closings, operating losses, consolidations—the thought occurred to me: Would the industry be in better shape if the average education level of the jewelry executive had been higher? Would a higher education level have helped the industry meet (confront) the current economic woes? Graduate business school curriculums, of course, teach students how to deal with consumer-product business cycles.

Any thoughts?

Jan Brassem is a founder of Eclipse Global Consulting LLC, a firm that assists jewelry retailers who are expanding into foreign markets and/or sourcing globally. You can e-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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