Video: From the Wine Industry to an Executive MBA, Opening New Doors


Working in the wine industry, Matt Wood decided to pursue an Executive MBA to take his career to the next level.

At Hess Collection Winery in Napa, Matt Wood works in the wine business as Vice President of Operations. “I oversee everything from fruit sourcing and production, to warehousing and logistics, through customer’s order fulfillment,” Matt says.

As an undergraduate,he earned degrees in agricultural business and in wine viticulture at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He then went on to work for 10 years in the wine industry, specializing in manufacturing and supply chain.


In 2014, his interest was sparked when his boss enrolled in the Executive MBA at Berkeley Haas.

“I kind of got to ride along with him, and see what he was able to bring back to our company,” Matt recalls. “Once I saw how impactful the EMBA was for him and his career, I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue for myself.”

For Matt, the most important element in choosing a business school was the culture. When he visited classes at Berkeley, it quickly became  clear that Haas was the right match for his vision.

“The defining values at Haas really spoke to me. They were being lived every day in how the school goes about their business. I knew right away – that really connected with me.”


Now enrolled in the Executive MBA program, Matt most appreciates the exposure and repetition in many different business settings. Working in the safe space of the program, students are encouraged to take on new and diverse business challenges. “With very supportive colleagues and faculty around to you, it fosters a learning environment where you can get the most out of each of the exercises."

At first, he felt cautious, getting to know new classmates and beginning classes in the program. However, it took just a couple of months for him to fully let down his guard and settle into the challenges and opportunities of the EMBA.

“From there, I was in a position where I could be vulnerable," Matt says. "Testing my own capabilities, experimenting with leadership styles, and ultimately walking a path that has made me a better leader today."


In addition to working and attending classes, Matt also committed to keeping his family as a top priority. “The time that you have for everything you do in a normal pace of life starts to diminish,” Matt affirms. “You really have to make prioritization decisions about where you spend your time.”

Marie Wood, his spouse, nods in agreement. "As long as you really communicate with your spouse about what the expectations are – like how much time’s going to be spent on things," Marie says. "The program goes by really fast. There’s so much good that comes out of it, that it’s all worth it in the end."

"It’s definitely been a challenge, but everything that’s come out of it has been really positive," says Matt.


Coming out of the Executive MBA, Matt recognizes that Berkeley Haas has opened additional doors in pursuit of his career goals. On a deeper level, the program has also helped to build his confidence in pursuing those goals.

In the future, Matt looks forward to taking on the challenge of general management of a company. “That’s my ultimate goal, and the program is helping me achieve that… Ownership from top to bottom – with operations, profit and loss accountability,” he says. “Really being a steward of people and process.”

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About The Author

Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.