Taking a Leap and Landing on Success

Author: Dr. Allan Gray

In a crowded marketplace that’s only getting smarter, how do you set yourself apart? As a young professional, GW Fuhr had a passion for agriculture and aspirations of becoming a sales leader. Surrounded by other young professionals with the same level of education and experience, he was looking to broaden his skill set and knowledge base to set himself apart.

With a wife and son, time outside of his full-time position for professional development was limited, but he knew he needed to build skills outside of the sales arena. In 2000, after finding Purdue’s Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program (now known as the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management Program), GW seemed to have found his answer. But what pushed him to take the leap?

For GW, the idea of an online master’s degree program taught by top-tier agribusiness faculty cemented his decision. The business topics and concepts taught allowed him to do more than just expand upon his sales knowledge, but also gain an increased understanding of other disciplines, such as finance, HR, supply chain, strategy and more. Although his life was busy, his cohort of classmates were facing similar challenges. Together, they became a more disciplined group of professionals.

Brittany Schaefer was led to the MS-MBA program by a family tie, but the depth of the cohort and programming is what led her to take the leap. Uninterested in leaving the workforce, Brittany was able to successfully complete the program while continuing to excel in her full-time position. The practical tools and subject matter taught allowed her to translate her learnings to the real world and immediately implement them in her daily operations. She gained an increased understanding of the inner workings of a business in a way that was specifically tailored to the food and agribusiness industry.

Since graduating in 2002, GW has been able to see success in several positions and says the program “provided him with capabilities he needed in his toolkit and instilled a hunger for continuous learning.” He now works for Syngenta Seeds as the head of U.S. branded sales and biofuels. Brittany gained valuable analytical skills and became an empathetic but decisive leader, receiving three promotions that led her to her current position as logistics manager at Bunge North America since starting the program in 2014.Ready for a quality education you can manage while juggling work and other responsibilities? The MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management Program is two degrees, spanning over 27 months and is 85% online. In partnership between Purdue and the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, students earn an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business. Find more information on application deadlines, requirements and plans of study at agribusiness.purdue.edu/degrees/ms-mba/.

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