Business schools’ appetite for the business of booze is growing.
Since the global financial crisis and diversification of MBA graduates’ career choices (as banks, the traditional preserve, cut back hiring), specialist MBA degrees have blossomed. Across Europe and to a latter extent the US, one area seeing a boom in demand is food and drink management. Indeed, a number of business schools around the world are now offering MBAs in Wine Business Management
Inseec, the business school from Bordeaux in France, runs a raft of wine and spirits related MBA courses. Sonoma State University of the US, meanwhile, has both wine MBA and EMBA courses, some of which are delivered in the Napa Valley, the wine county of California. Courses are also being developed in China, which is now a big wine and spirits consumer, so consumption is rising.
Students are lured by the global but highly fragmented market, which needs management now more than ever before. There are also good job prospects, as the number of business schools offering these courses pales in comparison to the number of jobs in the industry — millions worldwide in the wine business alone.
Technology is another reason for people to get an MBA in the food or drinks industry. Farming is now done on an industrial scale, with new production techniques often costing millions of dollars of investment. So it may be necessary for drinks and food makers or managers to come back to school in search of efficiencies.
So below we raise a glass to the top 7 MBA programs in food and wine.
France’s ESSEC Business School is world-renowned for its generalist MBA degrees. Its specialist masters in international food industry management is taught in both Paris and Singapore, developing the global perspective that is so essential to food and wine management today, as the industry is rapidly expanding on an international scale. Students who study ESSEC’s MBA major in Luxury Brand Management can expect to delve into the wine and spirits sector.View School Profile
Although it's not an MBA per se, the Master of Management in Food & Beverage at Bocconi is a one-year course based in Milan but taught entirely in English, attracting students from all over the world. The course delves into Italy’s rich wine heritage, and benefits from close proximity to local producers, bringing top professors and guest speakers into the fold. In fact, executives from more than 50 international food and beverage-related companies are involved in the course, from small Italian producers to the largest global distributors, and everything in-between. Bocconi also hosts the Wine Management Lab, which studies the Italian wine industry.View School Profile
Italy’s Bologna Business school, in the heart of a famous wine region, runs the one-year MBA in Food and Wine program. The program is unique in that it is also aimed at entrepreneurs, not just global managers. Students visit those who have created successful enterprises themselves — business leaders, managers and chefs who have brought food and wine that was “made in Italy” to the rest of the world.View School Profile
Kedge Business School of France offers an Executive MBA with a major in wine and spirits management. What differentiates the course is that it is experiential in nature and has a strong careers focus. For example, there is an optional full-time six-month internship or job placement, in addition to a research project dealing with a relevant business issue. Plus, there’s a one-week study trip to a European wine or spirits producing region, for a chance to sample the wares.View School Profile
Burgundy’s School of Wine & Spirits Business runs a range of courses including an MBA focused on international wine and spirit trading, the French school’s traditional forte. The degrees all have a heavy emphasis on research, for which the school is renowned. Students have access to the Wine & Spirits Business Lab, which studies human behavior in all the stages of wine and spirits production, evaluation and consumption. One of the oldest schools, it also boasts a relatively large alumni network for its field: 13,000 globally.View School Profile
The school has an MBA in Wine Business course. This unique degree focuses on how the wine industry is changing rapidly, with modules on globalization, technology and changing regulation. Students study subjects such as data analytics, finance, cost accounting and control, while also honing their leadership and communication skills to lead international teams. Students come from inside and outside of the industry, offering participants diverse perspectives into markets across the globe.View School Profile