Is An MBA Enough For Blacks To Land A Job With Leading Alcohol Manufacturers???

Last month, over three thousand Black MBAs arrived at the NBMBAA Career Fair on September 25 & 26 in Orlando, Florida with half of them having the hopes of attaining a position with the world’s largest liquor supplier in the world. However, the majority are left wondering what are their odds of entering into a white-dominated industry; what it takes; and pondering if an MBA is enough to make the cut with Diageo.

Diageo booth experiences lowest turn out than previous years at the National Black MBA Association's Career Fair in Orlando, FL.

Diageo booth experiences lowest turn out than previous years at the National Black MBA Association’s Career Fair in Orlando, FL.

Diageo is the world’s leading spirits manufacturer with household brands such as Ciroc, Smirnoff, Guinness, Baileys Irish Cream, Ketel One, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, J&B, Crown Royal, and Johnny Walker. Diageo is headquartered in Norwalk, CT and failed to oblige to an interview at the conference or failed to provide response in regards to story.

One anonymous candidate was asked, “What does it mean to work at Diageo?” She replied, “I have applied countless times and have built my resume to stand out from the rest with mid-level professional sales experience, mixology, and wine certifications. Yet, I still haven’t been able to make the cut for the last five years of attending the NBMBAA Conference. I’m just not sure what it takes to work at Diageo.” Diageo, a vendor at the 35th NBMBAA Career Fair, was asked about the number of applicants that was hired from the NBMBAA 2015 Career Fair, they respectfully declined to respond. They also refused to provide any information from the number of candidates that was employed in the past from the NBMBAA Career Fair.

Though, frustrated and disappointed, most prospective candidates at the career fair were hopeful to have their dreams fulfilled to work in the spirits world. It’s no secret in the 21st century that blacks bring a fortune to alcohol manufacturers in sales. However, this is not reflective in their hiring practices, leadership, and throughout liquor organizations corporate structures. Clearly some blacks work in the industry, but they do not sit at the boardroom tables where firm decisions are made, hold financial decision-making authority, nor do they create policy for the organization. When Diageo was asked to provide their racial demographics they declined. Also, they refused to share any of their initiatives on diversity and recruitment for the benefit of this article.

Liquor organizations have invested a lot of time and money into surveying, analyzing, and dissecting black liquor consumption, making the black community a target area of their focus. The reason you see many black celebrities endorsing alcohol brands is to increase market share in the black community. If blacks decided to stop purchasing alcohol, the spirits arena would experience a horrific economic setback.

Traditionally, liquor manufacturers have only hired blacks to sell within black communities to garner trust that would drive an increase in their sales. This strategy creates a one-in and one-out infrastructure that put blacks at a disadvantage by pigeon-holing blacks to one sector. Regardless of their success in the black community, this type of systematic injustice puts blacks in a position to not be well-rounded or diverse enough to lead to other roles within a global organization.

Diageo as a vendor at the 37th National Black MBA Association Career Fair in Orlando, FL.

Diageo as a vendor at the 37th National Black MBA Association Career Fair in Orlando, FL.

A reputable source shared, “You can also find any number of whites who took short cuts, who did not work as sales representatives or who did not move about as blacks have to within the industry.” It sometimes appears an MBA degree just isn’t enough for blacks to get in the door or climb the ladder at liquor manufacturing giants, such as Diageo. For black candidates to take Diageo seriously as a respectable potential employer, it’s crucial for Diageo to show that they attend the NBMBAA to hire; rather than throw the hottest party with free alcohol. Moreover, it’s important that they track the number of employees hired out of the NBMBAA and do two things: 1) monitor and publish retention rates and 2) provide career paths and training to top leadership roles.