The Wine MBA

Château Mouton Rothschild 2000

For you sommeliers out there.

I thought I had heard it all in MBA industry. In 22 years as an MBA consultant, I have visited most of the MBA programs worldwide, in the US from Harvard (HBS) to Stanford (GSB), and everywhere in-between, in Asia from Beijing University (BIMBA) and Tsinghua  University in China to the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad, and in Europe from London Business School and Cambridge (Judge) to INSEAD, IESE, and IMD. And of course MBA programs in Japan.

But here is a program new to me: The Wine MBA of the Bordeaux Management School (BEM).

This is a 22-month part-time MBA program requiring out-of-office time of just 68 days, by combining distance learning courses and face-to-face residential sessions in London, Bordeaux, Hong Kong, Adelaide, and Davis (California).

The program encompasses modules in Management Fundamentals, Managing People, Wine Markets, and Research Methods.

Management Fundamentals covers six disciplines:

  • Wine Marketing, including branding and pricing, brand development for wine
  • Corporate Finance, including “finance in the wine industry,” in addition to traditional courses in finance
  • Strategic Management, including “wine and arts: a strategic alliance”
  • Supply Chain and Operations Management
  • Information Systems Management
  • Wine Economics, including “wine prices, wine and investment,” and the “wine MBA experiment”

Participants take 520 taught hours and 1000 hours of personal work during inter-sessions. Teaching methods include the formal taught sessions, workshops, case studies, and industry visits.

Pre-requisites for applying: a bachelor’s degree and minimum 3 years work experience. If you have not worked in the wine sector you must submit a detailed project (plan) to enter the field. The TOEFL and GMAT are also required.

This is a good time to invest in wine.

The Liv-Ex Fine Wine 50 index, which tracks price movements of the most heavily traded commodities in the fine wine market – the Bordeaux First Growths (Haut Brion, Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux and Mouton Rothschild) rose 57% in 2010, outstripping the rise in gold prices. The big price push is heavily influenced by wealthy Chinese consumers.

Investors are speculating that 2010 Bordeaux wines will be spectacular.


All the best,

Warren J. Devalier

©2011 Warren J. Devalier