Strategic Thinking for Agrifood Management Programme (STAMP) – Applications open now

Ensuring our future leaders are equipped to take on the challenges facing the agrifood sector is a big part of what AGMARDT does.

So, we’re thrilled to be a major sponsor and business partner of the Strategic Thinking for Agrifood Management Programme (STAMP), which supports the development of emerging leaders from all areas within New Zealand’s agrifood sector.

Developed and piloted by New Zealand food innovation hub FoodHQ in collaboration with Massey University agribusiness academics, Professor Nicola Shadbolt and Dr Elena Garnevska, over the past three years, the programme focuses on accelerating emerging leaders’ strategic thinking, broadening sector awareness and helping build local and global personal and professional networks.

“The young people who have come through this programme are so inspiring and appreciative,” says FoodHQ Chief Executive Dr Abby Thompson.

“They realise the status quo is not an option and that there are a lot of opportunities waiting to be opened, to build on our strengths like meat, dairy and kiwifruit and introduce greater diversity and innovation.

“It’s so great to have AGMARDT on board to ensure we can continue to help accelerate the skills they need to make change. Without AGMARDT that wouldn’t happen.”

The core approach with the programme is case study analysis based on the time-honoured Harvard Business School methodology.

“Case study analysis not only stimulates the mind to think strategically but gives students some insight to discuss and reflect on real-life situations, the kind of management problems they are likely to face in their careers.

“They get to understand the many different considerations involved, the approach leaders have taken and to learn analytical and problem-solving skills techniques to come up with their own recommendations.”

Another core focus of the programme is extending students’ awareness of the agrifood sector through exposure to its different disciplines and components. This happens through case study work as well as site visits, meetings and panel discussions with those who have knowledge and expertise.

Integral to these activities is bringing participants together with their peers from across the sector and sector organisations to help build networks and relationships.

“Diversity in the cohort is really to ensure we’re getting those different cross-sector perspectives from different aspects such as science, markets and industry on and off-farm, sharing ideas and building relationships.

“Ultimately, collaboration and partnership are fundamental to the future of food, helping build the innovation ecosystem in agriculture, food and technology that New Zealand needs to take to ensure our nation’s future success.”

The programme invites applications from New Zealand based young professionals and postgraduate students (under 30 years of age) from any part of the agrifood sector.  Diversity is a key part of the programme’s success, and current participants include people working in various parts of industry, government and research; and across the whole of the value chain from farming and growing through to consumers and everything in between. It’s not an easy choice with on average 70-100 applicants per year – limited to an annual intake of approximately 10-15 new participants who can participate for up to three years.

“We have between 30-35 participants at any given time, with a current cohort of 32 ranging in age from early twenties to early thirties, with around half of them female.”

The programme is designed not to be an onerous commitment for these often very busy young professionals, with just three to four weekend events a year – and the opportunity to attend the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) conference – and participate in the IFAMA Student Case Study competition.

In fact, in June 2022, three teams were sent to IFAMA in Costa Rica, two of which won first and second place in the case study competition for young professionals.

To apply, please complete the application form and forward with a 2-page CV to [email protected]m by 9am on Monday 22nd August 2022.  Please send any questions about the programme to this email as well.