Nils Teissier du Cros enjoys a smooth glass of wine as much as the next Frenchman, but what really excites him is the science behind the bottle.
"I grew up in the South of France surrounded by vineyards," he says. "So when it came time to think about how to use my degree in biology, winemaking was a good fit. I've always been interested in the genes of the grapes, growing methods, and the molecules that go into making wine."
But, after earning his masters in agriculture, and working on four continents for some of the biggest names in the wine industry, he had a professional epiphany: in order to advance his career, he needed an MBA.
"I knew a lot about wine, but I needed to learn more finance, how to work within a budget, and how to read a balance sheet," he says.Nils began researching top business programs in the Massachusetts area-he is married to a native Bostonian-and was immediately drawn to Brandeis International Business School (IBS) because of its vibrant international student body. "I wanted to be surrounded by people of different cultures and nationalities," he says. "I didn't want to go to business school and be part of a 30 percent international student community. I wanted to be part of 70 percent international student body."
Nils chose Brandeis IBS's Global Green MBA, a concentration that integrates environmental issues and corporate governance into the core management program, because he wants to help ensure the future sustainability of the wine industry. In recent years, he has focused his professional career on experimental winemaking: testing out different grape varieties and winemaking methods.
"This is a big moment for the wine business," he says. "The industry is dealing with huge losses right now because of the downturn in the economy, and industry leaders are starting to think differently. They are thinking about how to grow plants without harmful chemicals, how to control the energy consumption at the wineries, and how to send bottles around the world in a sustainable way. I want to be a part of those changes."
Nils says that the classes he's taking at Brandeis IBS are giving him insight into how environmental considerations shape business decisions, and helping him recast the current business model in the wine industry. "I am learning how the wine business can become more efficient and save money by going green," he says.