Alexis Bawden, MBA ’09, was attracted early on to the industry in her backyard in California wine country. But her professional path wasn't a direct route.
Despite her love for home, Bawden, a sixth generation Californian, felt it was important to get perspective. "While California is truly spectacular, I felt I would appreciate where I was from if I understood what it was like in another area of the country," she said.
For college, she chose Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine—a far cry from sunny Napa Valley—and studied government and art history. After graduating from Bowdoin in 2004, she relocated to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to work at Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery in the Management Development Program as a Sales Associate.
The Road to Wine
Leading up to the 2008 presidential election, she headed east, to Washington, D.C. to work on the Senator John McCain campaign. She realized she could either stay in the political arena or take a chance and go to business school.
"I knew I wanted to focus on business, and in order to round out my skill set and move my career to the next level, an MBA was crucial," she said.
After researching and interviewing at a variety of top schools, she decided that Kogod was the perfect fit: small, collaborative, and engaging. "I wanted an intimate environment where I would be more than just a number," she said.
This allowed her to create close, personal relationships with professors, colleagues, university board members, and alumni. After graduating with a concentration in finance and marketing, Bawden worked briefly at Goldman Sachs in New York and California before returning to the wine industry—where she plans to stay.
She now works at Constellation Wines—the world’s largest wine company—as a Trade Marketing and Promotions Manager. "It's what I want to be doing every day," she said.
At Constellation, she works on cross-functional projects that impact brand marketing, trade marketing, promotions, channel marketing, and field sales. It's a truly diversified space, Bawden said.
"It's interesting to try and figure out which wines people like and why, and then provide it to them."
Bawden still keeps the East Coast in the mix, traveling between San Francisco and New York for her job. "It's very much a passion for me."