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Food & Agribusiness Institute

Food & Agribusiness Institute

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

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  •  SCU Students take First Place at IFAMA Case Competition

    Congratulations to Alvin Chen, Tina Cosentino, Ngoc Dao, Michael Billikopf, and Zach Wise for taking First Place in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s Annual Case Study Competition! The team, who are all SCU MBA students, traveled to Atlanta, Georgia in June to compete in the competition.

    The IFAMA International Student Case Competition is one of many features of the IFAMA annual world conference. The Competition provides an opportunity for MBA students to participate in a simulated analysis of a business management problem. The students have a chance to apply their MBA skills and education while networking with like-minded students and businesspeople. The competition requires the students to know the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and requires independent thinking as well as teamwork and collaboration. 

    The 2013 Competition brought together students from a number of different countries, providing participants with a diverse and enriching experience. The 22 teams worked for four hours on the first case, digesting the case, developing a creative and practical solution, and building a presentation that accurately communicated their analysis and recommendations. A panel of judges deliberated over the different solutions and narrowed the pool down to four finalist.

    The final four teams included Santa Clara, University of Hawaii, Wageningen University, and Nanjing University. The top four teams proceeded to the second round and completed another case study analysis. The Santa Clara team triumphed in the second round and took home First Place! FAI is thrilled by the efforts of the SCU IFAMA team and is excited to see what else the bright students will do in the future, both at Santa Clara and beyond!

    Check out what the students had to say after the competition:

  •  Summer 2013 Updates

    Happy August from FAI!

    As the new school year approaches, we are reflecting on the exciting and productive work that has taken place at FAI in the past several months. The Food and Agribusiness Institute frequently collaborates with Second Harvest Food Bank on a number of different projects, and this summer was no different.

    SHFB Summer Internship

    Sarah Madden, a rising junior at Santa Clara, recently wrapped up her internship with Second Harvest Food Bank. Sarah's work focused primarily on assisting Susan Takalo, Director of Programs and Services at SHFB, with distributing the Hunger Survey in the San Jose area

    Sarah is now heading off for a voyage with Semester at Sea and will return in January to continue working on her undergraduate studies, focusing on her FAI pathway.

    Cost of a Healthy Meal Research Project

    It has been over two years since the inception of the "Cost of a Healthy Meal" Research Project in the summer of 2011. Our research team has conducted over 600 interviews thus far, and by October 2013 they intend to have collected and analyzed 800 primary interviews, as well as secured 100 secondary and 100 tertiary follow-up interviews. The summer research team expanded to include 16 interns, seven research assistants, and one graduate student manager. We are excited about their recent progress and eagerly await the next formal update.

    Fall Immersion Trip

    The FAI staff is gearing up for the Institute's annual immersion trip! FAI Director Dr. Gregory Baker, and Assistant Director Erika French-Arnold, will be taking 12 students to Burma in September for a 13-day excursion. The students will have the opportunity to learn about the agriculture of various areas in Burma by speaking with the locals, exploring limestone caves, and learning about Burmese traditions such as silk weaving and meditation. We wish the group the best of luck on the adventure!

    IFAMA Student Case Competition

    FAI is proud to announce that a group of MBA students took 1st place at the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association's Student Case Competition this past June in Atlanta, Georgia. We can't wait to see what else the students will accomplish during their time at Santa Clara and their future careers!


    FAI has several exciting events in the works for fall, so check back soon and get all the information!



    Five MBA students pose proudly after taking first place in the IFAMA Student Case Competition in Atlanta, Georgia this past June.
  •  FAI MBA Students Place 2nd in Competition

    In mid-June, 5 MBAs from Santa Clara University took on the competition at this year’s International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) conference in Frankfurt, Germany, returning home with the 2nd place award in hand.  Entitled “The Road to 2050: Sustainability as Business Opportunity,” the conference called teams to explore the relationship between business practice and sustainable methods for meeting global food demand.

    The team, comprised of Brian Avants (MBA, Class of 2011), Suhas Mehta (2012), Justin Porter (2011), Dylan Salisbury (2010), and Didier Tshimbalanga (2012), competed against nine other teams from agribusiness programs across the globe including but not limited to Brazil, South Africa, and The Netherlands, only being edged out by Kansas State according to Dr. Gregory Baker, professor of management and director of the SCU Food and Agribusiness Institute. 

    With coaching from FAI MBA student/previous competition 1st place recipient Michael Enos and FAI Assistant Director Jessica Gagnon, the team showed up well prepared and determined to prove that their case study analysis skills were worthy of international recognition.  In addition to group recognition, team member Justin Porter was recognized as a best paper finalist. 

    Placing in this competition is not unfamiliar to the SCU team who claimed gold in the 2009 conference held in Hungary.  Congratulations team!

    Check out photos from the event on Flickr

  •  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
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