Ranked 2nd best international MBA taught in France*, our MBA Wine & Spirits Business is an intense programme providing in-depth knowledge of the specific business skills (strategy, management, marketing & commercial) required for the global wine and spirits market. In this short interview,  Jacques Thebault, Director of the MBA, gives more details about the programme.

*Le MOCI 2020

As Director of the MBA in Wine & Spirits Business, what is your vision of this market?

After years of growth and accelerated globalization, this is a market that is undergoing major changes and is impacted by great challenges.
Among them :
– new macro consumer trends: aging population, health & wellbeing (non-alcoholic beverages), new stimulants as substitutes to alcohol, the sustainability emergency, new target groups emerging (women, seniors), new level of engagements in the buyer’s decision-making process etc;
– hostage to political and commercial disputes – US taxes, Brexit, China ban on Australian wines etc;
– and, of course, the current pandemic.

It is a fascinating time to be develop one’s career in this industry.

How is your programme answering the needs of the market?

Our MBA is an intense program that provides strategic, commercial and management skills that are in high demand in the global wine and spirits market.
Our “recipe” is the following:
First, we recruit high potential candidates, then we challenge our students who need to demonstrate great adaptability through our 30 learning modules. These cover all the subjects a manager is likely to face. For instance, students would present research results, Business Plans or Long-Term Strategic Plans in front of seasoned executives from France, the UK or the USA.
Our classroom is rich with students coming from extremely diverse backgrounds. This year alone, we have 8 nationalities, and amazing profiles ranging from Head of Latam Compliance for a major US Bank in Brazil to Brand Ambassador for British Columbia Wineries.
Our academic staff is in tune with the latest industry developments, and the material we teach is continuously kept up to date.

When is the right time to apply for an MBA?

1/ you already have professional experience
2/ feel that you can develop your potential further
3/ have a passion for wine and/or spirits, and a desire to join this fascinating industry while studying within a leading wine region – with a small group of really committed students from all over the world
then this programme is for you.

How is the dynamic of the classes?

Each year there is a strong sense of camaraderie within the class, where every student understands they have much to learn from each other’s experience, from the Professors, and professional speakers. This makes for a great atmosphere, which is very participative in the classroom, during field trips and Learning Expeditions.
A number of students have told me that this was a life changing experience for them.

Who are the lecturers?

To name a few:
Pr Steve Charters, MW/PhD, Claude Chapuis, Wine Author and Radio Host/5th generation winemaking family from Corton, Pascaline Lepeltier France’s best Sommelier and MOF 2018/Managing Partner at Racines New York, Jean-Baptiste Maugars former CEO Rémy Martin Cognac and Managing Director Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Thomas Seiter CEO Bouchard Père & Fils, Rose-Marie Ponsot President Domaine Ponsot, Emma Dawson MW Senior Wine Buyer at Berkmann Wine Cellar London, Julio Alonso Executive Director Wines of Chile USA, Nicholas Paris MW Director Global Sourcing E&J Gallo Winery, Cecile Peters Senior Director of e-commerce Moët Hennessy USA, JiaJia Pan CEO of Taotao Private Cellar & JC Metropolitan Guangzhou China, Ian Peart Business Development Director Pernod Ricard UK, Pierpaolo Petrassi MW Partner Head of Trading Waitrose, etc.

What kind of support does the school offer, what about its network?

BSB – Burgundy School of Business offers various elements in terms of support such as a personal development, career & Alumni department and a network of 16,000 BSB Alumni (former students, including more than 2000 within the Wine & Spirits Industry)

In addition, MBA sudents get access to dedicated MBA welcoming team and services, a personal branding/coaching class with individualized sessions given by the Programme Director and a dedicated MBA career day.

Where do the students usually go after graduation?

Our Alumni join leading wine & spirits companies all over the world, whether within multinational corporations or independent wineries/importers/distributors.

A growing number of our Alumni, reflecting a global entrepreneurship trend among high potential students, are and become entrepreneurs in various fields: e-commerce,  distribution, wine domains, hospitality, education, wine and spirit tourism etc.

Among the multinational corporations employing our alumni:
E&J Gallo, Moët Hennessy, Accolade Wines, Pernod Ricard, Treasury Wine Estates, Groupe Castel, Diageo, COFCO Wine & Spirits, Heineken etc.

Among the independent companies employing our alumni:
Backsberg (South Africa), Nittardi (Italy), Zachy’s (NYC), Fine+Rare (Hong Kong), Becky Wasserman & Co. (Burgundy), Hawesko (Germany), De Maison East (NYC), Interwine (China), Slurp (UK), Dr Wine (Burgundy).

How is the Covid-19 impacting the School and its MBA students?

As a smaller private institution, we have the flexibility and freedom to adapt quickly. Our curriculum evolves according to current affairs and changes in today’s society and business environment, as has our organisation facing Covid-19.

BSB has been very agile and has shown strong adaptability, through a very committed staff and management. BSB also invested €250,000 last summer in additional hybrid video tools such as big screens and state of the art in class sound systems.

Our MBA being an Executive Education Programme and taught in small classes, we are very lucky to have been able to maintain all classes in-person since the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year.
A rare occurrence in the world of higher education worldwide these days and our students understand that.
Some field trips were even maintained last year! Others due to travel restrictions or trade show cancellation were and will once more be held remotely this year. Nonetheless, we continue to deliver all the content that is planned for this degree as part of our MBA structure.

I feel very fortunate to work for an educational institution that puts student support at the core of its values. It is no surprise that things are going well in spite of this pandemic.

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