MBA for farmers: applications open

Applications for Rabobank’s 2015 Executive Development Programme are open until Friday 29 May 2015.

Often coined the ‘mini MBA’ for farmers, the programme gives leading farmers, from across New Zealand and Australia, the opportunity to enhance their business management skills and take their enterprises forward.

Applicants for the 2015 programme will be accepted from a wide range of commodities and geographical locals in New Zealand and Australia. The first module will be held in Sydney from 16-21 August 2015, with the second module taking place in July next year.

Simon Saunders
Simon Saunders left pictured with Rabobank Australia & New Zealand chief executive Thos Gieskes.

Southland sheep farmer, Simon Saunders, graduated from the programme last year and says the programme was the catalyst for his ‘change in mindset’, which has had positive ramifications for his business.

The experience gave him the skills and impetus to pull together a strategic business plan, which has become the blueprint for his family’s operation near Lumsden, which runs 10,000 stocking units: mainly prime lambs, but also a focus on dairy heifer grazing, beef and forestry.

“It sets out both our short and long-term goals and action plans of how these will be achieved,” he says, adding that since the short-term goals have been implemented the farm has started to see some very positive results.

“We have put a cap on our stocking rates for the next three years and are focusing on capitalising our stock, rather than carrying more stock.”

He also learned to work more ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ the business, he said.

Saunders is chair of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, which operates the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and is also a committee member of the Beef + Lamb NZ Meat and the Future Monitor Farm programme in Southland.

Producers interested in an application form or any further information, read more  or contact Rabobank Business Programmes manager Nerida Sweetapple on + 61 2 8115 4139 or email

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