Two international agribusiness experts will lead an inaugural
agribusiness symposium in Queenstown next year.
The symposium, from March 19 to 22, is being hosted by
AbacusBio Ltd, a Dunedin-based agribusiness consulting and
new ventures company.
Earlier this year, AbacusBio senior consultants Dr Anna
Campbell and Dr Peter Fennessy attended two international
agribusiness symposiums - the Harvard agribusiness executive
seminar in Shanghai and Alltech agribusiness summit in
Both were enthusiastic about their experiences and wanted
others in the Asia-Pacific to share in the "inspiration,
knowledge and network creation" they gained, so they
established a programme with the same style of learning to be
held in New Zealand.
The symposium will be led by Mary Shelman, director of
Harvard Business School's agribusiness programme, and Prof
Damien McLoughlin, professor of marketing and associate dean
at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Ireland.
It will use a case study approach with real agribusiness
scenarios. The case studies were selected to focus on a range
of areas of special interest to New Zealand and Asia Pacific
agribusinesses, such as new market development, dealing with
market volatilities and uncertainties, continuous innovation
and transformational leadership, new opportunities, and value
Dr Campbell found the case study style of teaching practical
and inspiring. It helped her to evaluate company strategy and
decisions with "multiple lenses" and made her realise big
opportunities were attainable.
"Some of the case studies we evaluated were of huge companies
of $US15 billion [$NZ18.5 billion] turnover, which formed not
much more than a decade ago," she said.
She believed there was a real need for more New Zealand
executives, at multiple levels within organisations, to have
exposure to "global thinking" and to be more ambitious for
Global food security was one of the most important issues
facing her generation. There were significant international
opportunities for food-producing nations and companies with a
lot of knowledge and IP concerning farming and processing,
and it was a 'matter of "how we productise some of that
knowledge", she said.
Dr Fennessy saw the need for ongoing exposure to
international agribusiness developments.
As a group, New Zealand agribusiness people were
well-travelled, but that was usually purpose-orientated and
he saw benefits in enabling them to "stop, think and reflect
A highlight of the symposium will be a trip to Mt Nicholas
Station where managers Jack and Kate Cocks will share their
business development story.