Spanning the planet from produce to plate
Introducing Dal's new International Food Business program
Stephanie Rogers - February 13, 2013
The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) has formally accredited Dalhousie's International Food Business (IFB) degree, allowing program grads to receive degrees from both Dalhousie University and CAH Vilentum University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.
The program, offering an international business education in managing food value-chains, enables students to study and complete job placements in both North America and Europe.
“The food industry is a global business phenomenon,” says the project’s lead professor, Steve Russell, part of the Faculty of Agriculture’s Department of Business and Social Sciences.
“This double degree program equips graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience to be successful in such a dynamic environment. Studying and working in both North America and Europe and graduating with two degrees is real educational value.”
Building bridges in an international market
Students like Ross MacNeil will graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Agriculture in International Food Business, with six months of work experience combined between Europe and North America.
“I chose the IFB program because I believed it would help me discover and create a dynamic career in agri-food business,” says MacNeil, adding that the dual degree helps him “build a bridge if I want to work in an international environment.”
The four-year degree actually begins in Europe, with a one-week orientation in Iceland where students from both campuses get to know one another while exploring the Icelandic food industry.
Having completed two internships, MacNeil has already been offered a full-time job from his second placement once he graduates.
“I'm in my fourth year now and I can say one of the most rewarding things the program gave me was the life experiences that I shared with my fellow classmates,” he says. “We all went to the Netherlands together and created some invaluable memories and met so many wonderful people from all over the world while living on a unique international campus.”
Matching industry needs
The program is designed to prepare graduates for a wide range of careers in international food organizations either as entrepreneurs or employees, bringing together a foundation of business and management theory and skills with practical, hands-on training.
“The IFB program is taught following the competency-based model of education,” explains the program’s coordinator, Heather-Anne Grant. “For IFB students, this means a direct link to the real world on a daily basis. The curriculum that students learn in their lectures is based on the competencies the agri-food industry wants in new hires... business theory is synthesized, reinforcing to students that solving problems on the job is interdisciplinary.”
At a time when there is a growing appetite (so to speak) for food strategy, connecting the parts and the players in the food system and guiding and stimulating efforts to change it, Dalhousie’s IFB grads will be ready to be part of the solution.
For more information on the program, visit its new website.