Why did you choose to pursue agriculture at postgraduate level?
I chose to pursue postgraduate study because the course fit in well with my previous study (a bachelor of agricultural science). I also found that I am more interested in agribusiness than animal and crop production. Farming these days is not what it used to be — it’s more business-oriented, with marketing, economics and accounting playing extremely important roles in everyday farming activities.
Is postgraduate study a requirement in your chosen field?
My work at the moment is in agricultural equipment sales, so this doesn’t necessarily need any further study. That said, to progress any further, some postgraduate study would be very useful. Also, if I chose to change careers, I could potentially enter a field that would require a higher qualification.
What does your course involve?
My course is completed through flexible delivery. It is based online with occasional residential school attendance. The online work involves assignments, forum-based discussions and group work. There is a time limit on each unit, so it is important to keep on top of everything as due dates come up. This is a good way to study as I’m able to maintain a full-time job and gain experience in the workplace while I am studying.
How do you balance your study with other commitments?
Finding the balance is the most challenging part. Often I find myself very busy at work right at the time that an assignment is due, although the course coordinator is generally quite understanding about extensions being required. One of the ways I have been able to manage my commitments is to set aside a time each week to get some work done. This is often an early morning or an evening. If this consistency is maintained then the balance usually works.
Do you think postgraduate study will assist your career progression?
I haven’t found my course to aid career progression just yet, but I envisage that when I graduate I will be able to search for a position that would only be possible with the study I have completed.
What advice would you give to students considering postgraduate study in agriculture?
If you are considering postgraduate study I would advise you to find work while you are studying. Some graduates who continue with study have difficulty finding work after finishing their course due to not having any workplace experience. It is hard for an employer to offer a job based only on a university qualification, especially for jobs that are high up on the ladder.