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K-State Today

April 15, 2013

K-State Master of Agribusiness program now available, tailored for animal health professionals

Submitted by Mary Bowen

Kansas State University's award-winning Master of Agribusiness distance degree program is now offering a master's program tailored to individuals working in the animal health industry.

The Master of Agribusiness combines a master's of business administration and a master's in agricultural economics with a focus on professionals working in the animal health and agribusiness industries. The one-week on-campus portions of the program will be at K-State Olathe in August and October of each year.

"We are pleased to offer the Master of Agribusiness program at the K-State Olathe campus to those working in the animal health sector. The goal of the program is to take people who work in the industry and allow them to learn business and management skills from instructors who understand the animal health and vet medicine industry,” said Allen Featherstone, professor of agricultural economics and director of the program. “Students in the program will learn from faculty with extensive experience in the animal health industry. They will benefit from the opportunity to research the industry more deeply, and will also benefit from the knowledge and experiences of their classmates who work in the global animal health industry including the companion animal segment, all while developing a network of contacts at the same time.”

The program has been a leading provider of business and management skills for food and agriculture professionals since 1998 and is expanding to add a focus on the animal health industry. The program includes courses in finance, economics, risk management, management, marketing, strategy, policy and others with each course geared toward application to the animal health and agribusiness industries for maximum applicability. 

Master of Agribusiness alumnus Todd Marsh, who owns a multi-doctor large animal veterinary practice in Reserve, Mont., said the program enhanced his business management skills and his knowledge of the broader food system on both a national and international scale.

For most of the program's students, the thesis is a company-related issue, so companies in the animal health industry benefit. In essence, while completing the thesis, the student is solving a problem for his or her employer. They both gain from the direct application of business and economic skills to everyday work situations.

Don Hecht, retired director of sales and marketing with Elanco Animal Health, said he believes the company-related thesis sets the program apart from others.

"Having worked in the animal health industry for over 25 years, I found that the K-State Master of Agribusiness offers some really unique professional growth opportunities for people in our industry," he said. "There is no other master’s program with the proven track record of students integrating their business and economic coursework into a professional thesis which is targeted to be of value to their own business or employer’s business issues."

The distance program allows students to continue working throughout the program. Course work is covered in the first two years, allowing the third year for completion of the thesis. The first two years, students study at the K-State Olathe campus for one week in August where they begin their courses. They return for a second week in October to take finals, interact with industry leaders and give presentations. The rest of the year, course work is fit around family and work responsibilities and is completed using content delivered through the Internet, DVDs, podcasts, email and interactive recitation sessions.

Applications are now being accepted for the class starting in August. For more information on the K-State Master of Agribusiness Animal Health cohort, please contact Deborah Kohl at 785-532-4495, dkohl@k-state.edu or go to the MAB Animal Health website.