I am agribusiness advisor for Agriterra in Peru. I advise agricultural cooperatives in the development of their business plans and the effective and efficient management of their businesses. The objective is to demonstrably improve; financial management practices, the relationship between the cooperative business and its farmer members and their involvement at governance level, access to capital, productivity, market access, and business processes. I work in all the regions of Peru, coast, Andes and Amazone, and with different agricultural products: coffee, cocoa, cotton, alpaca, quinoa, palm heart, palm oil.
Role of MLE in Career Development
During the MLE I did my internship with the coffee cooperative union KNCU in Tanzania, supporting them in improving the management of a tourism project run by the coffee farmers. I got more interested in the cooperative business model which has the potential boost sustainable development of rural agricultural communities. My thesis research I did in the Dominican Republic which enabled me to improve my Spanish. The interest in agricultural cooperatives and my knowledge of the Spanish language combined with my prior education in accounting and finance, enabled me to reach my current position.
Key Turning Points Career
After graduation I started to work at Philips Healthcare. I had an interesting position but I kept on looking for job opportunities that offered the possibility to contribute to the development of entrepreneurial people in developing countries. All positions require more relevant work experience than just internship and thesis research. Agriterra was the first organization inviting me for a job interview and them hiring me changed my professional career.
Advice for Future Graduates
Perseverance is very important. It is not easy to find a job when you just graduated. You will receive a lot of rejections because of the lack of work experience. Combining the MLE with another study might open more opportunities. In my case, my BSc in accounting and finance was very useful.