Santa Clara University

Food & Agribusiness Institute

Food & Agribusiness Institute

Food & Agribusiness Blog for news, events, announcements, and more.

The following postings have been filtered by tag mba. clear filter
  •  Students Place 1st in International Case Competition

    A team of four FAI concentration MBA students placed first at the 2009 International Food and Agribusiness Management Association World Forum and Symposium held in Budapest, Hungary in June. The students tied for first place with University of Guelph (Canada), beating out other teams from the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Hungary in multiple rounds.

    Team members Irene Cermeno MBA ‘11, Michael Enos MBA ‘11, Andrew C.S. Tseng MBA ‘09, and Danielle Wenzel MBA ‘11 were sponsored by the business school’s Food & Agribusiness Institute, and coached by Operations & Management Information Systems Professor Drew Starbird.

    The students were judged on their ability to solve a management problem posed in a business case study, as well as the quality of a short oral presentation to the judges, a written executive summary, and their originality and creativity.

    "Our graduate students prepare to work in a global business community,” said Starbird, who becomes acting dean of the business school July 1. “The success of our Santa Clara team shows our strength as a truly internationally focused graduate business program.”

    In the first round, the Santa Clara team competed with students from Purdue University, Texas A&M, Curtin University (Australia), and others, to analyze a case involving a family-owned Hungarian producer and distributor of bottled soda water. Just four teams moved on to the final round, in which teams analyzed a case involving a Dutch venture that employed people with disabilities in an open space farming operation.

    “Because the cases involved real world events with real people and their businesses, it made the experience even more gratifying,” said Enos, who is also the chief technology officer for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. “I was humbled when the family from the Hungarian company approached us afterward and thanked us for our input into their issues,” he said. “I learned a great deal about how to apply the information in the MBA program to the real world.”

    MBA students win case competition
  •  FAI Financial Aid Available

    The Food & Agribusiness Institute Financial Aid application for 2009-2010 is now available.  The Institute awards nearly $100,000 per year in scholarships to MBA students pursuing the Food & Agribusiness concentration.  Download the application.

  •  FAI visits Ingomar Packing Plant

    Seven students and alumni from the Food and Agribusiness Institute visited Ingomar Packing Company on August 9th to learn about the tomato processing industry from FAI alumnus and board member, and Ingomar CEO, Greg Pruett. Greg started by giving us a history of the company and some information about their current acreage and production. He also answered questions ranging from issues the company is facing, such as water shortages in the Central Valley, to sustainability and distribution. After donning hardhats and ear plugs, Greg led the group on a tour that began with ripe tomatoes and concluded with tomato paste and canned tomatoes.

    FAI specialization student Satpaul Bains said, "The tour shows how many processes there are to create a product from a raw material, and it allowed students to learn the difficulties in competing with other competitors offering commodities. This trip also gave us the opportunity to actually see the process that creates value for the producer and the technology that is utilized to create a consistent product while trying to gain economies of scale."

    Ingomar produces three types of tomato products: hot break tomato paste, which includes concentrated crushed tomato paste, cold break tomato paste, and aseptic diced tomatoes in juice. Greg gave students an extensive tour of his production facility and explained how tomatoes are selected for each product, the grade necessary for each product and the machinery used for each part of the process. Students watched as tomatoes were sorted, both by machine and by hand, the heating process to strip the tomatoes of their skins and seeds and the process of packaging and canning the tomatoes or paste to be distributed to companies around the country. Mahbod Parvar, a recent alumnus of FAI, said "Living in a city, we often lose sight of where our foods come from and how they get made. Visiting the Ingomar factory in Los Banos provided a new perspective on how tomato paste is made, packaged, and shipped." 

    FAI Network President Ray Shady, who arranged the tour for the students, remarked:  "In addition to being an enormous operation, Ingomar's attention to quality, emphasis on efficiency and process control were also very impressive.  Greg was a welcoming host and generously took additional time out of his day to take us through parts of the plant not on a traditional tour."

    Greg demonstrated how a chemist in a lab tests samples regularly to ensure the quality of the product and all of the students were able to try the still-warm sample of tomato paste.

    Zach Wise, an FAI specialization student and member of the winning IFAMA case study competition team said: “The tour of the Ingomar Packing tomato plant was an eye opening experience. The sheer size and incredible efficiency of the plant was very impressive. For someone interested in the food and agribusiness industry, it’s always interesting to see how the products behind the well-known brands are really produced. Greg was a wonderful host, and was very generous with his time and knowledge of the industry. Overall, it was a great experience."

  •  Food and Agribusiness Network meeting

     Dear Graduate Students,

     We come to campus for many reasons. Meeting new people, exposure to new subjects, and exploring fresh opportunities are the top of the list.

     But did you know that there is a place that you can do all three, at the same time?  It’s the International Case Study Competition.  

     Every year, the Food and Agribusiness Institute sends a team of students to a global arena, where they compete, learn, and gain new perspectives. 

    Having been to the previous gathering in Shanghai, China, I can attest that this conference has been one of the highlights of my MBA experience.  

    So, don’t limit yourself only to the classroom!  Learn more about this unique opportunity at the following info session:

    Wednesday October 24th

    Where: Room 107



    Mahbod M. Parvar

    FAN President

     The Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) is a new club on campus that sets up events and networking opportunities for students who are interested in learning about the oldest business on this planet.  We explore anything related to food!

     *Refreshments will be served

     In compliance with the ADA/504, please direct your accommodation requests to Erika French-Arnold at or 408-554-5173.

Food & Agribusiness Institute
Printer-friendly format