Saturday, 30 June 2012

Young Agribusiness Team from Massey University Competes in China

Massey University(NZ) had a team competing in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association student case study competition, held in Shanghai,China.
 The competition is in its 7th year and is held in conjunction with the IFAMA annual forum and symposium. The late "Daniel Conforte" (an inspirational lecturer at Massey University) had a long standing association with IFAMA and at the opening of the Symposium was made a fellow of IFAMA the highest honour, a well deserved tribute recognising his passion and contribution to the organisation. 
Sending a team to the case study competition had been a dream of Daniels since his arrival at Massey. This year he was to be co-chair of the competition and was the author of the case highlighting his dedication to the students and passion for the case study method of teaching.
 The competition this year consisted of 17 teams from 6 countries including: United States, New Zealand, India, Canada, The Netherlands and China. On Saturday afternoon each team was issued the case: ANZCO addressing the Chinese market. We then had 5 hours in which to read and analyse the case and come up with our strategy for ANZCO. On Sunday we presented our strategy to a panel of 3 judges made up of representatives from industry and academia. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the top 4, but it was still a great experience for us. After watching the 4 teams present in the finals we decided we had a lot to learn in terms of the ‘wow’ factor of our presentation and ability to really sell something, but academically we were on par with the others. All of our feedback from the judges was positive, as were comments from audience members, which was encouraging.
 Nanjing Agricultural University from China took out the top honours a $500 prize and the offer of an internship for each team member with Novus international (the main sponsor of the student programme). Texas A&M University (USA) and University of Guelph (Canada) were 2nd and 3rd respectively.
 As students the opportunity to attend the conference and experience China 1st hand was amazing. 
 The theme of the conference was the road to 2050: The China Factor. 
Key messages were delivered surrounding sustainability, food safety, food security and investment, so it was a great chance for us to enhance our understanding of these key areas from those on the front line of developments. Getting to talk with students, academics and industry representatives from around the world was pretty special, as we got to meet the people whose articles we constantly reference and others who share similar visions. The passion of IFAMA and the industry for supporting and developing young people in agribusiness is heartening and gives us confidence that we are in a great industry with a very bright future. They are willing to invest time and money in us and include us in their thinking to ensure we learn from past mistakes and continue to move the industry forward.
 Outside the formal conference sessions and in the week following the New Zealand contingent ensured the Kiwi spirit was upheld and shared with our peers from the other parts of the world. We visited many markets in Shanghai including a massive Carrefour supermarket and wet markets, experienced the Bund by day and night, scaled the world financial centre, explored the Yuyuan gardens and French Concession and of course watched the All Black beat Ireland! We met with Fonterra in Shanghai and heard from the head of strategy and growth for China before touring the brand new innovation centre. We got the bullet train (310 Km/h) to Beijing where we meet with Beef + Lamb and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to hear about what was happening with NZ meat in China. We visited Fonterra’s Yutian Farm and were blow away. As good tourists we wondered through Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden city and visited Olympic park to see the birds nest and water cube. We played soccer on the great wall, explored the Hutongs and meet the Dutch and American’s at the Houhai Lake area. Everyone had a fantastic time but you know the rules, what goes on tour stays on tour!(Yeah Right Sarah.....I can see the photos have been carefully selected....not to give away any secrets...Ed.Tom)
 If any of you ever get the opportunity to do something similar, grab it with both hands. It was truly incredible and mind boggling experience.
This week's blog has been written by guest blogger Sarah Crofoot, a Agribusiness student at Massey University. She was a team member competing in China. Well done Thank you Sarah!


  1. This competition should be arrange more frequently agribusiness consultant

  2. Interesting picture and engineering examples. I would love to see them, especially the China Pavilion. study in china

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