F O R F U T U R E F A R M I N G L E A D E R S

W H Y S T U D Y F O R A N M B A ?

A personal viewpoint from Sean Rickard, Chairman of the Agri-Farm Scholarship and former Director of the Cranfield MBA.

W H O I S T H E P R O G R A M M E F O R ?

The Agri-Farm Scholarship is aimed at people working in the UK agricultural industry which for this purpose is defined to included not only all types of farm business but also closely associated businesses such as contractors and processors. Traditionally very few farmers considered studying for an MBA.

Perhaps this was due to the nature of the job where a great deal of the skills of farming can be learnt by doing though my experience of farmers and MBA students suggests that many famers considered they had little in common with younger managers in other industries. This would be a serious error. Farmers have a great deal in common with other managers and like them have much to gain from studying for a world class MBA.

T H E B E N E F I T S OF A N MBA

All of the Agri-Farm Scholars have gained an MBA and all have gone on to build on their success in their post-Cranfield businesses. See for example their endorsements on this site. Very quickly they find they have much in common with their fellow students, that the lectures and exercises are well within their academic abilities and that they are fully integrated into student body both within and outside the classroom.

I firmly believe that the agricultural industry is entering a new era where successful farm business will not only become key to a sustainable food chain but also much more integrated with other businesses in the food chain. Put simple, farmers must be able to think beyond their farm gates, to understand how business in conducted by their suppliers and customers and most importantly to be able to engage on equal terms when discussing management and strategic issues. As farms get larger and technologies more sophisticated so the need for people skills will grow and farm business have much to gain from knowledge of marketing, strategy and finance to name but a few of the subjects that are studied on the MBA.

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