The MBA Agrifarm Scholarship - Leaf Image


The pioneering Agri-farm Scholarship was the brain child of John Beckett, inaugural Chairman of Genus plc, one of the world’s leading applied biotechnology companies. His extensive experience in senior management positions with Genus and other agricultural related businesses convinced him that UK farmers deserved access to highest levels of management education. He formed the view that while UK agriculture is technically and scientifically excellent the culture and instinct for business management is less developed. Acutely aware of the changing business environment facing agriculture John recognised the importance of the industry generating highly qualified business and industry leaders, particularly as farmer controlled businesses grow ever larger and more complex in a global, high risk, food and energy industry.

Farming today is a very different industry than it was just 50 years ago. The average farm is now much larger and success increasingly depends on successful management: not only of increasingly sophisticated mechatronic and biotechnological systems; but also of a set of relationships stretching up and down the food chain. If farmers are to capture the full value of their contribution they need to be able to engage on more equal terms with managers operating at other stages in the chain. They must learn the language and capabilities of modern management and this poses a challenge for younger farmers and agricultural professionals who have the ability and enthusiasm to learn but lack access to sufficient funds.

John’s vision was to offer such farmers and agricultural professionals the opportunity to attend the highly ranked Cranfield MBA programme and to learn alongside other potential business leaders from the UK and around the world. The Cranfield MBA is consistently ranked amongst the best MBA programmes in the world by reputable judges such as the economist, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. The value of studying alongside ambitious executives from many of the world’s leading companies, fast growing SMEs, the public sector and charities is that students learn how others with very different experiences approach and solve problems. The Cranfield learning environment offers younger farmers and agricultural professionals an invaluable learning opportunity.

Unlike the younger executives working for corporations or entrepreneurs with novel business propositions, an MBA has not been a priority for farmers, yet there is no better preparation for a career in business management. Management is about more than acquiring practical skills in areas such as accounting, finance, marketing and strategy. In addition to high quality teaching in these areas from world class faculty, Cranfield is renowned for its development of leadership skills. At the heart of the Cranfield MBA is the focus on personal development where students learn: how they are perceived by others; how to inspire and motivate their colleagues; and how to be an effective team player. These are the pillars of successful business leadership upon which are built the confidence to be decisive, persuasive and communicative.

John’s was only too well aware that studying for an MBA involves a significant financial burden and in launching the scholarship he sought to remove this obstacle for younger farmers and agricultural professionals who would benefit greatly from the opportunity. The scholarship meets the Cranfield MBA fees which are currently £33,000 and students can choose to study either full-time over 10 months starting in September or part-time over a period of 22 months starting in January. Click the appropriate link to learn how to apply for the scholarship as well as the attributes Cranfield and the Scholarships trustees will be looking for in successful applicants.

We believe the Agri-farm Scholarship is the pinnacle of management education in UK agriculture and a source of inspiration for younger farmers and agricultural professionals who believe the management of contemporary farm businesses should be ranked alongside that in other UK business sectors. It follows that the trustees in awarding the Scholarship will be looking for individuals who will repay the debt by taking every opportunity to raise the awareness of good management in agriculture and who by example will become ambassadors for a modern, well managed agricultural industry comprising of highly productive and efficient farm businesses operating on equal terms with other businesses in the supply chain.

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