What happens on the basketball court is one thing. There it's OK to be partial and yell and scream for the team of your choice. What strengths of two state universities can bring to agriculture is quite another proposition, notes Alan Gray, a Purdue University ag economist by training, and current director of the Center for Food and Ag Business at Purdue.
Within the last couple of years, the Center for Ag Business teamed up with the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University to offer an MS-MBA program in food and agribusiness management. The neat thing about this program, Gray says, is that people with established jobs in agriculture can keep their job, stay where they are, and still get a first-class education. The program, which typically takes two years or more to complete, is largely Internet –based.
That's one reason why hooking up with the Kelly School of Business at IU was such an efficient move, Gray says. They specialize in providing distance learning, and are recognized as one of the top tier programs in business training for managers and executives in the country. At the same time, the Purdue Center for food and ag business is also a top tier, unique program. Combining forces of the two together is a win-win for students, he notes. Legislators like it because they appreciate seeing two state-funded universities work together to make better use of resources.
The program requires two one-week stays at Purdue, to one-week stays at IU, and one week abroad. Currently, the class visits Argentina for the international component of their training, Gray says.
"The ag people tend to hang together, but we feel it's important for them to spend some time on the IU campus, in classes with executives from other industries. They are exposed to more ideas in that setting."Scott Beck, of Beck's Hybrids, is currently taking the course. He enrolled after another employee took the program and was excited about what he learned, Gray says.