How to Choose Ag Education - Introducing our Kitchen Table Speakers
Upon deciding to do the Ivey Business School's EMBA, my dad asked why and I recall telling him,"if I'm not moving forward, I'm moving backward." Truly, this answer was linked more to my desire to learn and increase my own business knowledge than it was specific to the MBA. I had looked at a variety of opportunities which would strengthen my leadership skills and enhance my knowledge of business and agriculture.
Among our Ag Women's Network executive, we believe the desire to learn is more important than the actual "how" you go about it. There are many routes available to broaden your knowledge base, strengthen your skills and enhance your resume. Your personal learning style and knowing what you want to get out of higher education will help determine what route is best for you.
In addition to the institutional options, like post-grad certificates and Masters degrees, the agriculture industry is rich with programs geared towards hands-on learning of leadership and personal development. Many industry leaders have participated in AALP and CTEAM, to name a few local to Ontario. There is also the opportunity for self-directed learning, like through Nuffield.
This is the route Cheryl Hazenburg chose to pursue. "I saw the opportunity to learn about agriculture in many different parts of the world and jumped on it." She describes Nuffield as "an opportunity for agricultural professionals, mid career to step back from their operation or job, to see a bigger picture". She writes on her blog that the greatest benefit to Nuffield is you are visiting and learning from people as a friend, rather than a tourist, and it was this experience that led Cheryl to the realization she wanted to be a primary producer again.
"It was a big reason why I moved back to Ontario to start the transition of taking over my family farm. " Says Cheryl. She offers this advice to anyone considering further education: "opportunities present themselves in many shapes and forms, seize all that you can, you never know which ones will change your life."
Seizing opportunities is what we're all about, but with so many great ones how do you decide which is best for you?
Not surprisingly, I think it's always worthwhile to talk to people who have done the program that interests you. Hear why they chose the route they did and ask questions about their journey. That's exactly why we've assembled a group of women together for our next event to talk about their learning paths. If you're considering pursuing further education, you won't want to miss this event! RSVP here.
Ultimately, I decided to go the MBA route. Working in a global corporation, a former manager suggested an MBA would be recognized no matter where I traveled within the company. It also allowed me to take advantage of our tuition-assistance program. Mostly, I really wanted to learn from others' experiences and while other opportunities would allow this, Ivey's approach to teaching with case studies was intriguing because it combined the formal, classroom learning with participant sharing.
Kitchen Table Discussion - Featured Women:
Current role: Co-owner, Barn Girls Photography Account Manager, 31st Line Communications
Education: - Variety of photography courses and summer group study courses - Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, University of Guelph (2008)
Stephanie Craig Current role: Communications Manager, Ontario Agricultural College Dean’s Office, University of Guelph
Education: - Web Design and Production Certificate, Humber College (2012) - Bachelor of Design - Fashion Communication, Ryerson University (2008)
Heather Hargrave Current role: Industry & Member Relations Coordinator, Farm & Food Care Ontario
Education: - Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) Class 15 (2015) - Bachelor of Commerce in Ag. Business, University of Guelph (2007)
Alison West Current role: Dairy Brand Manager, Elanco Animal Health Canada
Education: - MBA, Wilfrid Laurier University (2012) - Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, University of Guelph (2007)