Ever consider doing one or more of the following:
- Learning a new language?
- Moving to another country
- Starting a new profession in a whole new industry?
- Following your life’s passion?
I will be doing ALL of these in 3 months! But first, some background.
An Unknown History
The Marketing Lush blog was launched for a number of reasons, but one of them very few people know.
In December 2013, I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – a movie where the main character travels, unexpectedly and on a whim, to several foreign countries in order to track down a missing photo negative. It was at that moment, sitting in the theater, that I knew that my dream of traveling the world needed to become a reality.
I was working full-time as a marketing manager in Atlanta, Georgia. I was also entering year four of my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, which seemed to drag on endlessly due to a slew of unplanned changes with work, as well as my own procrastination. My significant other was likewise completing a degree of his own. I put travel plans on hold until both were complete.
In the meantime, I wanted to start a blog, thinking blogging about my eventual travel experiences might be fun (and potentially lucrative). I already had 8 years of marketing experience and enjoy sharing that expertise, so it made perfect sense for the blog to first focus on marketing.
The first article for The Marketing Lush, What to Do in the Event of a Brainstorm, was awesome. Several articles later, however, I realized that focusing on marketing alone wasn’t enough to keep me blogging. I wanted to include a huge passion of mine: wine and beer. Ultimately liquor got thrown into the mix, too, and by July 2014 I started writing about marketing and alcohol.
Around the same time, I began looking into other ways that I might become further involved in the alcohol industry. I wanted to know if there were marketing opportunities I could pursue, even though I had limited experience in the industry. One day I discovered a unique program that would ultimately change my life.
A Chance to Study Wine Marketing
INSEEC Wine & Spirits Institute, an accredited university with three locations in France and one in England, was offering an MBA in Wine Marketing & Management at their university in Bordeaux, France.
Let me get this straight: I can travel abroad to earn a degree in exactly what I want to know more about (with classes taught in English), get real experience as part of the internship program, and land a job in wine marketing? All in just one year?! SIGN ME UP!
I applied for the program, wondering if I even had a chance to get into the exclusive curriculums offered. At that point I had only completed a basic wine certification (Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s Level 1 Award in Wines). While I’d visited a number of wineries and wine regions in the U.S., and certainly drank A LOT of wine in my life, I wouldn’t have classified my knowledge any higher than “enthusiast”. On the plus side, I already had a lot of marketing experience under my belt, albeit in other industries. In addition, I was more than halfway through my MBA. Would it be enough?
I was selected for the next round in the admissions process – a Skype interview. The interview entailed questions about my work experience, education, and… of course… wine knowledge. I bombed a few wine questions outright, which was upsetting, but overall the interview went well. Then the waiting began.
After what seemed like an eternity, I heard back from the school administration. I’d been ACCEPTED! I was ecstatic, and quickly spread word to my family and friends. Planning came shortly after, and lists upon lists began to grow.
At some point in the midst of the excitement and the planning, it suddenly hit me – I was going to leave the country I’ve lived in my entire life, where my family, my friends, my everything was… and move to a whole new place with a language that I was struggling to learn.
This was the difficult time. There were sleepless nights. There were calls to family and conversations with friends. There was a lot of soul searching, and an endless stream of questions: Had I made this decision too quickly? Was I going to go broke in the process of living my dream? Who the heck needs two MBAs in Marketing? What was I doing??
I think my mom ultimately gave me the best advice: find out more. She encouraged me to talk to other students that had participated in the program in the past, and ask them about their experiences. So I started reaching out, via LinkedIn and email, to anyone I could find that seemed to have been a part of this program. I asked them a slew of questions about their experience, their concerns, and more.
I was amazed at how quickly they responded, and how much great information they were able to share. Both American students and the students from other countries were happy to share more about the classes, life in France, the internships, the benefits of the program to their career, and tips for surviving. (Special kudos to the author of Cuvee Appeal, who has been blogging about her experiences in Bordeaux, and is a font of knowledge in this area.)
I was reenergized, and felt confident that I was making the right decision.
Now that you know the backstory, it’s time to announce the next stage of The Marketing Lush’s life. After thoughtful consideration and support from my peers, I’ve decided to begin using this blog to chronicle my adventures of following my passion (to France, and beyond), with some marketing-related lessons about wine (and probably beer) thrown into the mix, too.
Many thanks to the loyal followers of The Marketing Lush over the past year. I have greatly appreciated your readership and input, and hope you will continue with me in the next chapter of The Marketing Lush’s life. I’d also like to thank our guest writers and staff writers, who have toiled over endless drafts and revisions to bring you the very best content about marketing and alcohol.
I hope you will enjoy hearing about my upcoming experiences, and maybe, just maybe, become inspired to follow the direction of your own dreams as a result.
Marketing Professional, Blogger, Wine Enthusiast