Chris Bonacci, Professional Evening MBA
“In a relatively short time period, I have been able to learn things that could have taken years of on-the-job training.”
Even at a small brewery, beer is big business.
Chris Bonacci has seen the future, and it is beer.
Bonacci has worked at craft brewer Harpoon Breweries in Boston for a decade. For nine of those years he was in sales, but he recently transitioned into a new position as Brand Manager. His responsibilities—which now cover sales, marketing, finance, production, and include a team of more than 200 people—made him realize that an MBA would be a smart addition to his resume.
“After years in sales I had developed an interest in the business of Harpoon as a whole,” Chris says. “I had learned a lot through observation and on-the-job training, but I felt that an MBA would best prepare me for a general management career in craft beer in general and Harpoon in particular.”
Chris chose BU School of Management after doing a lot of research. Yes, he thought the professors were great. Yes, the curriculum synced nicely with what he wanted to accomplish. But for him the icing on the cake (or the head on the beer) was the student population. “The faculty and reputation were impressive, but I came to BU because it was the only place where I truly felt invigorated by class discussions after a day of work and three hours of class. I cannot speak highly enough of my fellow students. While I have spent time with unbelievable professors—some of whom showed up unexpectedly at the Brewery!—it’s spending time with and learning from my classmates that I will remember the most. Beers at Cornwall’s may never be the same after I leave BU!”
One aspect of BU that Chris enjoys is that he’s able to take what he’s learned and apply it at work almost immediately. “What I have discovered at SMG is a more holistic approach to the business of craft beer. I have been able to translate a class in social media and marketing into a successful promotion for Harpoon IPA, but I have also folded practices from operations courses into our design review process and an understanding of business law into a challenge of franchise agreements and wholesaler territories.”
As for the future? Chris thinks he knows what’s on the menu. “Craft brewers are just starting to consider succession plans as the first generation of owners considers retirement,” he explains. “The industry is in need of people who will continue to pursue the passion not only of great beer, but also of the indescribable pleasure of enjoying great beer with people we care about.”
Cheers to that.