As a Wine & Spirits expert and professor at INSEEC MSc & MBA, Gabrielle Vizzavona is teaching in the MBA Luxury Brand Management Food & Wine program. Passionate about wine and teaching, Gabrielle is a well-recognized figure in the wine industry as a consultant, wine critic and sought-after speaker. She collaborates with luxury brands and worldwide tourism professionals.
“I trained as an economist and then pursued studies in oenology, wine tasting and wine management. My professional activities are wide-ranging, but all related to wine.
I carry out special events such as tastings, lectures and debates in the wine sector for several luxury brands, professional associations, tradeshows and wineries. I am also in charge of selecting French wines for a retailer network in the UK. I also write about wine. My involvement in the higher education sector takes a third of my professional activity.
From a professional point of view and my own personal opinion, teaching is quite rewarding. I am passionate about teaching, for many reasons: for instance the intellectual commitment required to develop and update the courses in the program is very stimulating. At a human level, discussing and sharing information that could be of benefit to students is a way to convey knowledge, technical skills and subjects I feel passionate about. Moreover, when you manage to capture the attention of your audience, it is somehow very gratifying, because knowing what and how to teach is an everyday challenge, especially when you have to hold a 3-hour training class!
One of my responsibilities as a professor at INSEEC MSc & MBA is to improve constantly the content of the courses with the management team in charge of the MBA Luxury Brand Management Food and Wine program. We provided advanced and brand-new topics such as “Wine tourism and wine regions” that aims to give a deep understanding of wine tourism from a global perspective, along with focusing on the fundamental characteristics and problematics of the main wine growing regions in the world. “Oenotourism” which means travelling for the main purpose of wine discovery, is a fairly new field, and therefore lacks theory and research elements which made it challenging for me to build the class. I always illustrate the theory through concrete examples and case studies. As a fast growing field, wine tourism has become a priority for the development of numerous wine regions and offers interesting and diverse work opportunities for graduate students.
The second course I deliver is devoted to “Business Plans” which is applied to wine and gastronomy sectors: each student has to hand in a start-up project. Entrepreneurial skills such as independence and multi-tasking are sought after in all industries. It is the opportunity to awaken entrepreneurial inner-selves, develop a sense of creativity, and learn how to pitch efficiently. I put special emphasis on personal development.
My advice to students, aside from developing their strengths and skills, is to love what they do. If they’re passionate about what they do, they will be good at it. Versatility, personality and creativity will clearly make the difference. Also, they must be aware of the importance of building a professional network when starting a career while keeping a genuine approach. They should always bear in mind that social media is nowadays of the outmost importance. I encourage all my students to start to develop a professional networking online and to be always connected by creating accounts in both LinkedIn and Twitter. The world is communicating more and more in a virtual way, which means faster, so it is an invaluable skill to master this new technology.
I think that students who have the opportunity to be in a business school such as INSEEC MSc & MBA (that has more than 70 different nationalities) will enable them to open themselves up to the world and to grasp many opportunities. My last piece of advice for my students: be knowledgeable and feel confident when you start your career.”