I recently passed my certified exam and I am already studying and preparing for taking the advanced exam but I am wondering what the best place to work for me to prepare me for the exam. I am currently the Bar Manager and Bartender at a higher end casual restaurant that has a large BTG list but doesn't seem to have the guests that want to explore and play around too much with what they drink. I am not sure if it would be worth it for me to take a pay cut and work at a higher end place with a stronger and more classic wine program or to try to pivot my list??? Thoughts???
Work at a place where you can get mentorship and be around people that know more than you. If that's your current place, great. If not, then find mentorship somewhere.
You may also find this link to Shayn Bjornholm MS’s thoughts on preparation for Advanced very useful: “Believe it or not, the best job to have to get over this can be the one that allows you the time to study!” www.guildsomm.com/.../one-master-s-thoughts-on-how-to-prepare-for-the-advanced
Why are you taking the exam?
Kevin Parks I passed my Advanced while running a wine list for a 100 seat upscale Italian restaurant with a 150 SKU list that was mostly Italian and Washington. Working where you get exposed to the best wines out there is definitely helpful, but not necessary. DM me and I'll connect you with a friend in your area who can give you a little more advice.
Taking the exam because I have an extreme passion for providing great service and wine. My ultimate goal is to become a master (I am a highly competitive person and I have found exactly what I am looking for in the court)
Maybe this sounds too obvious, but I'd say it is important to work somewhere that actually has a sommelier position. You can pass this test while doing any job (or even "between positions..."), but it's a lot easier if you're practicing the craft everyday. If you're running a beverage program at a fine dining restaurant, service and business of the sommelier will just be like a really weird day at work!
I agree with Brandon - find someone to work for who inspires you and has something to teach you. Past that -
Keep in mind that preparing for exams and building a career are not the same thing. You should consider where to work/who to work for with an eye to growing yourself into the best service and beverage professional you can be, not what you think will help you pass a test. While the MS can certainly open doors, your skills, experience, resume, and connections are the things that will get you the jobs that you want - the pin alone will not. Passing the MS exam should be a personal goal, not a professional one.