Louis Garcia, a member of The Consortium’s fourth class (Indiana ’72), says the power of the MBA is what carried his career from coast to coast and from universal as bingo and as sophisticated as wine-making.
“Safe to say without the MBA and The Consortium, a lot of the jobs I had wouldn’t have been possible,” Garcia said in a recent interview with The Consortium. Now retired, but working part-time for a wine-barrel distribution company, Garcia stays in touch with other Consortium members and his alma mater.
In fact, he’s part of the team organizing a class reunion and a celebration on Indiana University’s campus to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Consortium and the school’s involvement. Organizers scheduled the celebration for Oct. 7-8.
Easy Transition from Undergraduate School
Even though he entered grad school and the workforce in the early 1970s, Garcia called himself fortunate. He said he never felt any discrimination or bias as he made his way.
“I actually think the climate has changed over the years, but maybe not the way you’d think,” Garcia said. “I think back then, diversity was looked on as a very positive thing. Nowadays, everyone thinks diversity is a negative thing, that everybody should be treated totally equally, that you shouldn’t get any benefits because you’re a minority.”
As “the kid” in his class of Consortium recruits, he began his MBA program immediately after undergraduate school in Cincinnati.
At the time, the Orientation Program ran eight weeks on the campus of Washington University. Garcia only had to stay for the first week. He credits his recent college experience and a business major for avoiding the additional seven weeks. Only five schools were members of The Consortium back then, too: Washington University in St. Louis, Indiana University-Bloomington, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Rochester and the University of Southern California.
He knew he had to leverage the power of the MBA to take his career where he wanted to go.
A Great Career
From Indiana, Garcia worked in a variety of finance positions for companies in a wide variety of industries, starting with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, to North American Van Lines, to Pepsi. He took his first shot as a CFO for Lancaster Bingo Company in Ohio, eventually running a new division developing electronic bingo games.
He caught the urge to buy a winery while living again in Ohio, but ended up moving to California for another job. There, he shopped around and, with his wife, bought a winery in Placerville, Calif., east of Sacramento. That led to a full-time job as CFO and general manager for another winery.
Now (mostly) retired, Garcia stresses the importance of continuing to give back to The Consortium to help future generations. He recruited prospects for many of his employers, often recommending Consortium membership for prospects seeking an MBA, and he credits himself for two Consortium alumni that he referred and recommended, Beverly Smith Malone (Indiana, ’09) and Irving Moses Jr. (North Carolina, ’78).
“That’s probably one thing that’s critical—for alumni of the program and very important for future alumni. Make donations to the Consortium and to your business school,” Garcia said. “You don’t have to give thousands of dollars every year. But if every student would give a couple hundred dollars, that would be a lot of money. It would generate a lot more fellowships.”
Garcia’s Memories of Sterling Schoen and Wally Jones