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MSc in Cognac & Spirits Management

Business Education in Top French Exports

In France, we practice Art de Vivre (the art of living) – an approach to daily life that incorporates beauty, culture, flavour and connection. This is such a core part of our culture that France is recognised by UNESCO for Intangible Cultural Heritage in gastronomy (the art of food and drink). This programme teaches you how to translate the tradition of Art de Vivre into a thriving business as is done in Cognac – the only region in the world where Cognac is made, and the heart of the distilled spirits industry. 

Gain the operational focus and experience you need to run a successful business embodying French Art de Vivre. During the programme, you will:

  • Gain knowledge in fields needed to run an international business such as finance, marketing, strategy and intercultural management
  • Develop expertise in the production process, including distillation, aging and blending
  • Learn how to market a luxury lifestyle, weaving together customer experience, story, branding and the senses
  • Build knowledge of distribution practices and regulations, including import/export markets and trade • Master the culture and flavour of premium French spirits, learning to create mixed drinks, food pairings and other products that resonate with key markets
  • Acquire training in a well-established market with huge potential for international growth

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Key Information

  • Degree earned: Master of Science in Cognac and Spirits Management
  • Language: English
  • Duration: Classes from September to May followed by a 4-6 month company mission
  • Eligibility: Proficiency in English
    Master of Science: 4-year bachelor’s degree in any field,or exceptionally, a 3-year degree with experience or honours,or successful completion and validation of the 60 ECTS
    Pre-MSc programmeo Pre-MSc + Master of Science: 3-year degree in any field
  • Programme start: September
  • Location:
    Audencia Business School in Nantes, France (term 1)
    Village of Segonzac, within the Cognac-producing region of Charente (term 2)
    Anywhere in the world for internship or company mission (term 3)
  • Tuition: (scholarships available)o Master of Science: €16,000 o Pre-MSc + Master of Science: €21,000

Programme

The Master of Science in Cognac and Spirits Management is delivered in partnership between Audencia and the Cognac-producing region of Charente. You’ll split your time between these two partners for a combination of academic, cultural and on-site industry training.

Audencia Business School : Triple accredited, internationally recognised provider of innovative, collaborative and responsible business education in Nantes, France

Cognac-Producing Region of Charente : The Silicon Valley of premium spirits, where Cognac and other well-known distilled spirits like Grey Goose and Cîroc are made

The programme includes:

Foundational business and management training

  • Courses in French Art de Vivre
  • Specialised operational courses in spirits management
  • Luxury marketing education
  • Tasting and pairing workshops
  • Master’s dissertation on an issue in Cognac and spirits management
  • Internship or company mission 
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Finance
  • International Strategy
  • Global Marketing
  • Managing Across Cultures
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics
  • Managerial Coaching
  • Research Methods in Business
  • French Art de Vivre, Myth or Reality?
  • French Terroir: Products and Brands
  • Optional: French language courses

Through this course you will gain an overview of the diversity of distilled spirits marketed worldwide. You will also develop a distinguished palette (through smell, taste, etc.) to recognise and differentiate distilled spirits.

Activities include: field visits, meeting distributors, tasting workshops with renowned professionals and more.

This course provides you with an analysis (customs, distribution system, consumption and culture) of the current key markets for distilled spirits: Asia and the United States. It also gives you insight into emerging markets. 

This course will give you an understanding of how the distilled spirits industry is financially structured (international groups, investments, etc.). You will then go further, developing your knowledge of how this structure affects employment. 

You will have the opportunity to work with famous producers throughout the cycle of this course. The curriculum includes hands-on workshops with world-famous Cognac producers and visits to their properties. During the course, you will acquire in-depth knowledge of Cognac, both the spirit and region, including:

  • Historical and cultural significance
  • Evolution of production
  • Key selling points of a range of products bearing the brand
  • Upcoming challenges
  • Planned changes for this premium spirit 

In this course, you’ll take your introductory training in French Art de Vivre and further develop it specifically within the context of spirits. You must know your product before marketing it or creating an experience with it. This hands-on experience helps you get to know the key selling points of these luxury spirits – and how to innovate with them to best address customer needs. In these classes, you will learn to:

  • Build skills in the art of tasting
  • Master the techniques of cocktail
  • Learn the pairing of fine food and cocktails as a uniquely French gastronomic experience
  • Experience cocktail and food tastings with renowned professionals

Master marketing strategies and codes specific to the luxury industry:

  • Brand marketing: learn what a brand brings to your business, particularly within the context of distilled spirits and, for comparison, other elements of Art de Vivre
  • Customer experience: learn how to create appropriate customer experiences in France and in other countries to personify distilled spirits as part of Art de Vivre
  • Storytelling/history telling: learn to convert product and service information into stories and histories that connect with your audience – and how to adapt these stories to the environment of another country

"Made in France" is a sign of success, quality and premium product. Learn how France has been able to specialise in luxury goods (niche markets) and how to leverage this when marketing French products in other countries. 

Learn how to apply business techniques using digital tools to help develop a business. We’ll also cover channels and styles of communication specific to the distilled spirits industry. Topics include:

  • Online marketing
  • Big data management
  • Online brand management
  • SEO/SEA
  • Social networks
  • "Virtual" experiences
  • Special events
  • Disruption
  • Innovation

Working within the business of distilled spirits, you’ll need management knowledge of the wider industry of French Art de Vivre. Learn how to:

  • Manage a multicultural team in the Art de Vivre and spirits industries
  • Work with “stars” (such as top chefs) around the world
  • Work with French producers, distributors and other stakeholders within the wider French Art de Vivre industry

Master’s dissertation

Your project is the culmination of your programme experience. Through this written work, you will demonstrate the techniques and principles you’ve learned in the form of a research project, frequently linked to the internship/company mission. Previous Audencia graduates have presented their dissertations to convert into full-time employment with the company of internship/mission. 

Purpose

Through this project, you’ll address a particular business/management issue in the Cognac and spirits industry. Your written work have an international focus. This master’s dissertation will show that you can design, conduct and report on a piece of practice-related research that combines academic research methods with practical recommendations.

Personal guidance

You will be matched with a supervisor who will provide personal guidance throughout the life of your project.

Independent learning

You will have tutorials with your supervisor, but the bulk of your work will be self-managed. Your project is a substantial piece of individual work that requires extensive initiative and independent learning.

Format

Your research or consulting project will consist of a proposal, literature and methodology review, written dissertation and final oral defense.

The bulk of your master’s dissertation (also known as a “thesis” in the United States) will be in written form. The oral defense will take place after you’ve submitted the written dissertation.

Internship or company mission

The last four to six months of your programme (from June to January) will take the form of an internship or company mission (in coordination with the writing of your master’s dissertation). 

Audencia has built a strong network of corporate partners in the spirits management industry. You have the option of going to work in a relevant company as an intern, where you’ll learn how to do a specific job. Another way to accomplish this part of your programme is the company mission, in which you’ll join a team and work on a consulting project for a company under the supervision of an Audencia professor and consultant. Audencia and partner companies will propose a number of consulting projects on real-life business and management issues in international spirits management. 

The Cognac region is truly the Silicon Valley of premium spirits, with 1,000+ companies in a 5,000km² area. This is the place where Cognac, Grey Goose, Cîroc and a wide and ever-growing selection of luxury liquors, gins and whiskies are made. It is a place of tradition and innovation. A wealth of opportunities are available to you within this area. 

Worldwide

You’re not limited to France. We welcome you to intern in any country of interest!

95%
Employed students hired within 2 months of graduation
15,000 +
Internships and job offers per year

Audencia & Cognac

This powerful partnership provides you with training from the best in both industry and academia. The knowledge, experience and vast network you’ll gain will prepare you to enter or climb in the exciting spirits management industry.  

Quality

Audencia is amongst the elite 1% of business schools worldwide to hold triple accreditation from EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. A world leader in corporate social responsibility, we were the first French business school to adhere to the UN’s Global Compact and sign the Principles of Responsible Management Education, which we also helped define. We bridge the gap between passion and business, pairing creativity with meaningful and effective action.

Network

Through our network, you’ll work with faculty members who have extensive industry experience, researchers who specialise in a diverse range of fields and corporate partners in need of real solutions. We’re constantly developing innovative collaborations that expand our network, such as our alliance with other leading institutions in Nantes that unite and enrich engineering, management, architecture and creativity. Our partnership with the Cognac region gives you access to premium partners in the industry.

Life

A well-connected modern city with old-world flair, Nantes, France, is recognised by the EU for quality of life. The entire Loire Valley region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn more about life at Audencia.

Experience

There is only one place in the world where Cognac is made – and you’ll spend the second term of your programme here. First made in the sixteenth century, Cognac has climbed to luxury status. Built on centuries of craft and tradition, this region is the perfect place to learn the secrets of what happens when Art de Vivre meets international trade.  

Resources

Known as the Silicon Valley of distilled spirits, this region is home to 1,000+ companies, representing 1,200 direct jobs and 8 billion euros annual turnover. Furthermore, from an operational perspective, the region is booming with cork manufacturers, cooperages (makers of wooden casks/barrels), printers, designers, glass manufacturers and more.

Growth

The Cognac region is a hotbed of creativity and growth in the distilled spirits industry. The most iconic examples are vodkas like Grey Goose and Cîroc, but there is also growth in liquors, gins and whiskies. The Cognac region is rich in tradition and practice, as well as being an exciting location for innovation.

Life

The Cognac region of Southwestern France is steeped in the tradition of Art de Vivre. Here, you’ll build your hands-on knowledge, as well as your understanding of the importance of craft and experience. You’ll have the chance to explore this storied region and its idyllic scenery while housed with a local family, for a completely authentic experience. 

Audencia Faculty

Faculty members at Audencia are incredibly diverse, with 50% of professors representing 27 countries outside of France. Many have backgrounds in industry; their work is published in internationally recognised academic journals and business publications and they regularly act as consultants to a wide range of business entities, including start-ups, non-profits, NGOs, SMEs and multinational corporations.

All faculty members work within the frame of corporate social responsibility (CSR), advancing responsible best practices for the business world. Areas of expertise are many and typically fall into one or more of the following research departments:

  • Business and Society
  • Communication and Culture
  • Finance
  • Management
  •  Marketing 

Meet Audencia faculty members

Career and Alumni

The Master of Science in Cognac and Spirits Management gives you training and experience in the French Art de Vivre industry, such as distilled spirits. Depending on the direction of your thesis and internship or company mission, this programme prepares you to climb within your current company, accept a management position at another company or start your own company as an entrepreneur. 

  • French Art de Vivre
  • Spirits import/export 
  • Luxury goods and services 
  • Distribution
  • Business
  • Advertising

Examples of positions this degree prepares you for include:

  • Brand ambassador
  • Export manager
  • Trade marketing manager
  • Business developer
  • Product marketing manager
  • Marketing and communication manager
  • Master blender
  • Trade manager

Through the Master of Science in Cognac and Spirits Management, you’ll build a global network of peers and potential employers. Audencia is highly international, boasting partnerships with 169+ corporate partners and 190+ global academic partners. At Audencia, 34% of students come from outside of France, representing 100+ countries.

During this programme, you’ll meet and work with professionals in a range of other French Art de Vivre/luxury and related industries. In addition to your internship or company mission, a roster of guest speakers and industry partners will contribute to your learning and assessment activities. This offers you the chance to network with industry professionals and meet potential role models and mentors throughout your stays in Nantes and the Cognac region.

 

 

An international professional network

Throughout your programme and after graduation, you’ll have access to the large, international, professional network of Audencia’s Career Services Department.

Audencia’s Career Services team – with international corporate backgrounds – will help you throughout the entire career development process. You will have access to:

  • Individual career coaching and advising
  • 15,000+ employment opportunities posted each year on our dedicated intranet
  • Employment fairs with 120+ companies
  • CV workshops
  • Interview preparation and mock interviews
  • Panel discussions with professionals and alumni
  • Assessment centre preparation
  • Personal development programme on topics including leadership skills, communication skills, ethics, intercultural management and networking
  • Auditing sector fair
  • Information resources and online tools
  • Access to 100+ career events on various topics

Audencia also has a business incubator available to programme graduates interested in pursuing entrepreneurial goals.

Audencia Alumni

Join the nearly 22,000 Audencia alumni working in 110 countries. Audencia Alumni includes 22 professional and cultural clubs in France and 29 international chapters. Furthermore, over 2,000 of our alumni have become CEOs.

The alumni association will help you connect with other professionals and provide additional development and networking opportunities to support your career.

Admissions and Finance

Apply now

Join us! Here is a breakdown of everything you’ll need to make it smoothly through the application process. Admissions are open until the programme is full; however, we strongly recommend applying by the early-application deadline of 31 January.

Master of Science in Cognac and Spirits Management

  • Proficiency in English
  • Master of Science: 4-year bachelor’s degree in any field, or exceptionally, a 3-year degree with experience or honours, or successful completion and validation of the 60 ECTS Pre-MSc programme
  • Pre-MSc + Master of Science: 3-year degree in any field

Note: you can apply during the last year of your bachelor’s studies.

Admissions are based on a point system tied to a set of objective criteria.

GPA (55%)

  • Converted to US system of 0-4.0

English proficiency (40%)

  • Test (up to 40% possible, depending on score)
    TOEFL: 60-120
    TOEIC: 600-990
    IELTS: 5.0-9.0
  • English-taught programme for bachelor’s degree (up to 20% possible)
  • Native speaker (40% automatically awarded)

Professional experience (5%)

  • 1-12 months (1%)
  • 13-36 months (3%)
  • 37+ months (5%)

Essay and interview (15%)

  • 0 – Not adequate (0%)
  • 1 – Room for improvement (5%)
  • 2 – Adequate (10%)
  • 3 – Excellent (15%)

We award bonus points for ranked and accredited schools, diversity and high GMAT or GRE scores.

Recognised school (5%)

  • Ranked (ARWU/QS/THE)
  • Accredited (AACSB/EQUIS/AMBA/ABET)

Diversity (5%)

  • Countries not represented in the class in the past two years (contact us to check your eligibility)

French (5%)

  • For B2 language levels

GMAT or GRE (5%)

  • GMAT: 500+
  • GRE: 300+

You may begin your online application at any time; you can save it and make changes before submitting. Admissions are open until the programme is full; however, we strongly recommend applying by the early-application deadline of 31 January for the September intake.

In addition to the online application, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • CV and cover letter in English
  • Copies of diplomas and academic transcripts
  • English test score (TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS; DUOLINGO)*
  • Copy of identity document (e.g. passport)
  • Photo (jpeg, 346 x 366 pixels)
  • Online interview (scheduled shortly after submitting the online application if you qualify)

*English test scores are not required for native speakers or applicants who have completed their undergraduate degrees in English. Contact us if you have a different English test score or are planning to take a test later in the year.

1. Submitting your application

Complete the online application (recommended by 31 January for the September intake). Upon completion, you’ll pay the €100 application fee using any major credit card. If you cannot use a credit card, you may contact the Office of International Relations for alternatives.

Your application will be evaluated within seven days. If you qualify, step two will also occur within seven days of your application.

2. Admission interview

At a prearranged time, you will have a 15 - 20-minute exchange with an admissions counsellor to assess your level of English and make sure that you are a good fit for the programme.

3. Admission decision
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. You should have a decision immediately following your interview. If your application is borderline and requires further review by the programme director, you will have an admission decision within 8 days of your interview. Please do expect some delay during holidays.

4. Acceptance
Congratulations! If admitted, you’re invited to officially join the programme. You’ll sign a contract and pay the first instalment of the tuition fees- €1,500- which is non-refundable.

Please contact our admissions office with further questions.

You may begin your online application at any time; you can save it and make changes before submitting. Admissions are open until the programme is full; however, we strongly recommend applying by the early-application deadline of 31 January for the September intake.

Master of Science in Cognac and Spirits Management

Master of Science€16,000
Extended Master of Science €20,000

Other costs linked to school fees

  • Application fee: €100.
  • Costs such as visa fees, CVEC, complementary health insurance, transportation, accommodation and meals are to be paid directly by the student. Visit Student Life to learn more.

Audencia’s commitment to excellence and diversity is shown through the variety of scholarships we give out each year to students of merit from different backgrounds. We award over €500,000 in scholarships per year, giving students around the world the opportunity to study in a world-class environment.

Our aim is to open up the best business education to students who show the skill and motivation to be the leaders of tomorrow.

ScholarshipAmountDetails
Early application€1,000For candidates who submit their application before 31 January
Excellence ScholarshipUp to 50% of tuition 

Awarded to an international student in recognition of their achievements.

To apply, submit a motivation letter to showcase your achievements and the quality of your application to the programme. This letter should be 300-1,000 words and be distinct from the personal statement you provided in your application form. It can include your personal, academic and professional achievements and describe why you think you would be a particularly exceptional student. 

Note: The awarding of scholarships is subject to availability of funds and final decision from the Department of International Affairs. The scholarships are awarded in the form of partial tuition fee waivers to students who are admitted but who have not yet started the programmes. Scholarships, waivers and awards are not cumulative. If two are awarded to the same student, only the one with the highest amount will be kept unless otherwise stated.

In addition to an Audencia scholarship, you may be eligible for funding by other public or private bodies. You will find some examples here.