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Prepared to Succeed

by Kristyn Childres

 

When Garrett Baldwin began looking into MBA programs two years ago, he expected to enroll in a full-time program with 500-1,500 other students. But then he discovered the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management, offered jointly from Purdue University and Indiana University. The 27-month program allowed him to keep gaining work experience while earning an MS in agricultural economics from Purdue and an MBA from Indiana University’s highly ranked Kelley School of Business.

“I was hesitant at first, since most of the part-time programs I researched didn’t have the same quality of faculty as the same school’s full-time programs,” Garrett says. “I also thought I would be missing out on full-time programs’ expansive network of alumni who are interested in helping new graduates reach the next stage of their careers.”

But when he began the MS-MBA program in 2011, his concerns were quickly eased. “I have access to the same professors and the same coursework that a full-time program offers, built around my career, my family and my schedule.” Eighty-five percent of the coursework in the MS-MBA program is delivered online, with five one-week residencies spread out over the course of the program. Two of the residencies are at Purdue University, two are at Indiana University, and one is held internationally, in order to help students grow in their awareness of the global business climate.

An Amazing Cohort

 

Garrett is completing the program with 23 other students, professionals in the food and agribusiness sector with significant roles in their organizations, including Pfizer, John Deere, DuPont Pioneer and Anheuser-Busch.
“Each quarter, I work with my cohort on intensive real-world projects,” Garrett says. “I get to know my team members — their families, their work styles, and their strengths and

weaknesses — just like I would in a professional environment.” That work has quickly translated into success for Garrett and other members of his cohort.

 

“Over the last two years, I have watched my teammates take their academic knowledge and translate it into promotions, team leadership opportunities and real advancement in their careers. “

An Impressive Alumni Network

Garrett has also taken advantage of the MS-MBA’s powerful alumni network to help him understand the opportunities that exist for program graduates.

“Just two months ago, I spoke with an MS-MBA graduate who is at the executive level for one of the world’s leading financial companies,” Garrett says. “This financial executive took an hour out of his busy schedule to provide me with guidance on how to find the right opportunity and helped me think of alternatives that I had never before conceived. It was one of the most valuable and insightful conversations that I have had regarding my career progression.”

“From there, Garrett says, an entire world opened up. He has access to numerous graduates who have been instrumental in helping him find his next job following graduation, all of whom understand the rigors of the program and the capabilities that Garrett will have following graduation.

“As graduation approaches,” Garrett says, “it’s just a matter of using these tools in the real world. Soon enough, I’ll find that perfect opportunity as more employers quickly learn about how Purdue’s agribusiness program generates powerful leaders and prepares its students for success.”

Pioneering a New Educational Environment

“The program continues to set me apart from other candidates coming out of full-time programs,” Garrett says. “I have the same education, the same test scores and the same business acumen, but I also now have two more years of professional experience, evidence of excellence both in and out of the classroom and a track record of better balancing my time than professionals in full-time environments.”

Garrett sees the MS-MBA program as being a pioneer in graduate education. “As the cost of education continues to rise, and prospective students are less willing to trade 18 months of no paycheck for tens of thousands in student loan debts, graduate programs are going to need to build their programs around the students, and not force students to build their lives around the program,” Garrett says. “For now, Purdue and its MS-MBA program sit on the cutting edge of thought leadership in this new educational environment.”

For more information about the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management, visit

www.agecon.purdue.edu/agribusiness/.