Mathieu Meyer always dreamed of running a winegrowing estate. After completing the HEC Paris Executive MBA, he realized his lifelong ambition.
The Frenchman grew up in West Africa, in the tropical climates of Burkina Faso and the Côte d’Ivoire. After finishing school, he returned to France for his degree in winemaking and viticulture, before embarking on a career in luxury wines and spirits.
His journey took him around the wold. He distilled rum in Trinidad and Tobago, produced sparkling wine in Melbourne, Australia; he even led a team of Champagne engineers in using machines to recreate the winemaking process which has been done by hand for centuries.
After completing an EMBA at HEC Paris in 2019, Mathieu became estate director for Château de Galoupet, a major rosé winery and vineyard in Southern France and part of luxury conglomerate, LVMH.
LVMH around the world
Fond memories of his childhood meant Mathieu had always wanted to move abroad after completing his winemaking training. His first job after completing his degree was with LVMH, who offered him the rare opportunity to set up a production line in the Caribbean for 10 Cane Rum.
At just 24, he was charged with establishing an industrial scale distillery on Trinidad and Tobago, requiring him to build a network with local producers, source ingredients, and maintain the quality of the rum.
“It was a great opportunity, with a lot of freedom, but also a lot of hard work to learn things on the spot,” he says.
After making that role his own for six years, Mathieu left the island in search of a new challenge. He found it in Australia, working for Chandon, a sparkling wine brand in the family of LVMH products. There, he spent four years running operations for their Melbourne, West Australian and New Zealand wineries.
The new role found Mathieu in charge of logistics, managing the purchasing and packaging of the various Chandon sparkling wines. He relished the opportunity to grow his understanding of winemaking.
“I spent my career doing all the jobs that I would eventually have to manage if I was in charge of an estate,” he says.
Mathieu returned to France in 2010, after a decade abroad. He moved to the Champagne region for a role coordinating investment projects across six LVMH brands, including Dom Pérignon, and Veuve Clicquot.
Globetrotting gave Mathieu valuable experience and an understanding of the processes of luxury wine-and-spirit making. After 13 years, he felt he had covered the industrial side of running an estate, however, with managing aspects of business, like finances and marketing, also a major part of the job, he felt an executive MBA would help fill in the gaps and allow him to secure his dream role.
“You have to run the business, understand finance and the marketing side, and manage resources on a pretty big scale. I felt that I was missing that knowledge,” he says.
Choosing the HEC Paris Executive MBA
The HEC Paris EMBA was the perfect choice for Mathieu because of its reputation as one of Europe's best business schools. As a bonus, its location meant he wouldn't have to travel much for his studies.
The structure of the program would also allow Mathieu to balance his studies with managing a team of Champagne engineers with LVMH.
The program's ranking (the HEC Paris EMBA was ranked third in the world by the Financial Times in 2020) assured Mathieu he would be getting an exceptional business education to match his real world experience.
He felt he needed to acquire a level of understanding that would allow him to confidently cover all of the areas an estate director deals with daily, and that the program would offer him a safe space for learning.
“You really feel free to try new things, to suggest new ideas, and to speak your mind,” he says.
The HEC EMBA's luxury management specialization, which is tailored for participants interested in marketing for luxury brands, proved to be another driving force behind his decision.
“I did that specialization and had no regrets because it was one of the best classes in the whole EMBA,” he says.
Director of an LVMH wine estate
LVMH invested in Mathieu by sponsoring his EMBA tuition. Completing the program was proof he was ready to take on a role as director of one of the company’s estates in the Côte d’Azur.
With his newfound business understanding added to the wealth of experience he already had across winemaking, he is thriving in his new position.
“It allows me to speak up much more easily because I know that what I am saying is right and based on sound reasoning,” he says.
“Day-to-day, it helps me with management, and with the wider company I now understand more about finance, marketing, and strategy.”
LVMH’s investment looks to be paying off, as they have recently chosen Mathieu for a central role in a new large investment project in the region, a prospect which will see his management skills tested, and his career continue to grow.
“The Executive MBA is one of the connecting dots on the path which brought me here, so I am very happy to have done it,” he says.
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