Ryan Clifford (EMBA F&A cohort 2020)

Published on
January 1, 2020

The Executive MBA in Food & Agribusiness is followed by ambitious and talented professionals. What motivates them? How do they manage work, private life and study? And why did they choose for this specific MBA? Learn all about it by reading their testimonials.

Name: Ryan Clifford
Job title: Assistant Manager - Product Technology at Unilever
Previous degree: Nottingham Trent University / BSc Food Science & Technology

Why did you choose the Executive MBA in Food & Agribusiness?

The opportunity to learn from world-leading industry experts within a forum of professionals, from across multiple industries, creates a community where topics can be confronted, questioned, and challenged, together. The opportunity to participate in this community, to externalise issues, to bring the outside in, aligns with my interest in collaborative approaches and made this EMBA particularly appealing.

TIAS business schools’ future-forward focus on the positive role businesses can, and should, play in society pairs well with my belief that longer-term sustainable business strategies and models, along with stakeholder engagement and purposive innovation are key in the, now essential, transformation of the food and agribusiness sector. The immersion program, delivered by Wageningen, offers the unique opportunity for learnings in practical, real life business scenarios, to be deeply embedded, enabling an in-depth understanding of the processes involved in this complex socio-technical transformation.

Finally, the opportunity for a two-year personal development program, aimed at impact, sets this course apart. The opportunity to develop key skills in the leadership trail, including personal coaching, negotiation training and time for critical reflection are differentiators which will propel me as a leader of the future, to enable impactful change toward sustainable food systems.

    What is your future goal?

    My experiences working for Unilever have given me insight into the complexities of, and necessity for, food industry leaders that take inclusive and collaborative approaches to actively challenge and develop industry power-structures, stakeholders and consumers through purposive innovation, entrepreneurial business development and thought-leadership. It is my ambition to be such a leader. To catalyse positive change in our world by transforming business, with a specific motivation toward the achievement of sustainability in our food systems. My goal is to fully equip myself with the knowledge and tools to navigate myself and others within this field, through high-quality academic, critical, and practical study.

    How did people around you react when you shared/decided to embark on an MBA?

    Most were extremely positive and supportive; I sensed an appreciation for my ambition and desire to have a positive impact, and a proudness from loved ones for taking accountability for my future. The immediate response from my closest friend, as only he could, was, “Ryan, why do you love stress?”. In my opinion, there is little stress if you pursue your passion and enjoy the process.

    What is your impression about your MBA peers?

    My expectations were far exceeded. Prior to attending the first class, the mere idea of collaborating with senior leaders from across industries gave me a gentle apprehension and a little anxiety. This was put to rest the very moment I was greeted with warm smiles from peers and tutors, and the realisation that everyone in the room were like-minded individuals, of diverse backgrounds, pursuing their ambitions of personal development, and above all, change for the better. The positivity and energy was incredible.     

    How will you manage to balance studying with work and personal life?

    Balancing the commitments of work, study and a personal life is not something to take lightly, nor is it a simple task. My approach is to be structured with my time, with studying planned in for a few hours, a few times a week. Thus far, this has worked well. It can be difficult to always juggle priorities, so being honest with myself and loved ones upfront, as well as ensuring a positive support network has been key. 

    The Executive MBA (EMBA) in Food & Agribusiness is developed for
    mid-career professionals, with the ambition to grow further in an executive function in the Food & Agribusiness sector.

    Interested in the EMBA in Food & Agribusiness, click here for the full overview on all content, or download the brochure.

    For more information you can
    contact programme adviser Agnes Kiss.