Student - November 17, 2016

WUR and Tilburg start MBA programme for agrifood managers

Albert Sikkema

WUR is going to work together with TIAS Business School in Tilburg to set up an MBA programme in food and agribusiness. This part-time management programme will begin in September 2017.

The champagne toast after signing the collaborative agreement between WUR and TIAS on this MBA programme. Photo Guy Ackermans

According to Miel Hooijdonk of Wageningen Academy, who was involved in setting up the MBA, this new programme is for managers in the agribusiness who have had at least five years of work experience.'This includes, for example, plant breeders who have risen to a management position in a company even though they weren't trained for that.' The cost: 45,000 euros.The instructors will come from Tilburg and Wageningen, and various company managers will also share their insights. 

This is a two-year, part-time programme that will be centred in Tilburg, Hooijdonk said. Participants will meet once a month for three days to study business cases and discuss their own projects. The MBA group will consist of 50 participants; hopefully, 10 to 15 of them will come from the agribusiness.' It is important that the participants work in various sectors because we want them to learn from one another. In the programme, they will discuss specific cases with the instructors, cases that have more than one solution. The MBA programme will deal with so-called 'wicked problems', problems that are difficult to resolve and that cause dilemmas for the manager.' The programme will be taught in English.

WUR previously tried to start an MBA programme. Wageningen Business School, the predecessor of Wageningen Academy, wanted to set up a European MBA in the area of food together with the Danish Aarhus University, but that was not a success. ‘There is currently no programme in this area,' Hooijdonk added.

The advantage now is that WUR is joining an existing MBA programme, Hooijdonk explained. He thinks that TIAS is a good partner for WUR. 'TIAS has no hardcore business programme that focuses only on returns. TIAS takes a wider approach, which also includes social challenges and sustainability. That is well suited to Wageningen.'