[article] Business Because: MBA Students Develop Taste For Innovation In Food And Drink Industries

16 December 2014

Business students are hungry for a bite of the global food and drinks industries, and a number of business schools are catering to new appetites. Read an abstract from the article.


“Nested on the cusp of small towns bordering the Adriatic Sea south of Bologna, northern Italy, is a business school trying to marry a centuries old industry with new innovation. The ancient services of producing, marketing and selling food and drinks are ripe for an update with the disruptive influences of globalization and tech.

Students at Bologna Business School are raising a glass to the global drinks industry. One of a growing number of European institutions to offer specialist MBA degrees in consumables and agriculture management, its 12-month MBA Food and Wine program is catering for managers at the intersection of the tourism, consumer goods and luxury sectors.

Business students are hungry for a bite of the global food and drinks industries. Since the financial crisis, managers are increasingly moving into industries that adopt the newest innovations to drive growth and many are now developing an appetite for sectors that satisfy life’s more basic needs. But there are many challenges that these industries most overcome. In the drinks sector this includes the fragmentation of the value chain, small company sizes which push managers to aggregate and collaborate with competitors, and globalization.

“The demand from foreign markets for Italian products increases every year but Italian companies still struggle to catch this opportunity,” says Ludovica Leone, co-director of the MBA Food and Wine program at Bologna.

Now in its fourth year, the course, which costs €27,000 in tuition, attracts both entrepreneurs and those who share a personal passion for the fermented grape.

In European countries like Italy wine is still one of the major drivers of exports and is seen as an affordable luxury among consumers. Students recognise the importance of the industry to Italy’s GDP, according to Ludovica. “Food and wine represent local heritage and local roots,” she says. Increasingly, students are coming from Asia, South America, Africa and the US.

Schools like Bologna are expanding to deal with the increasing influx of students prompted by renewed interest in food and drink management. Students are finding careers in companies such as SABMiller, the brewing and beverage giant, and Unilever, owner of a number of food and beverage products.”


Read the full article here.


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