Your Course of Study
The agribusiness industry has never been more global and interconnected, creating tremendous opportunities for business growth—but also unprecedented complexity. Players across the value chain must be attuned to regional and global events and shifts in market demand as well as local operating realities. Constant change has increased pressure on traditional business models—and created new possibilities for companies that can recognize opportunities, innovate, and evolve quickly.
By equipping you with a more nuanced understanding of the most important issues facing agribusiness today, the Agribusiness Seminar can help you build more effective strategies. This powerful learning experience is based on the well-known HBS case study method—an approach that puts you in the shoes of business leaders making critical decisions. Cases at the heart of the 2017 Agribusiness Seminar are drawn from businesses around the world in different sectors. Emphasizing interactions in the classroom, the case study method offers multiple levels of learning, compelling you to expand your perspective, identify the most relevant issues, and apply practical lessons to your own organization. Case discussions are often complemented by in-class visits from the executives featured in the cases.
You will emerge with a new understanding of the industry's direction, along with potential strategies for immediate and long-term growth. Topics of study are as follows:
Creating More Resilient, Sustainable Supply Chains
New competitors and business models—along with new technologies, natural resource scarcity, and volatile political climates—are disrupting traditional supply chains. As a result, business leaders are pressured to rethink their sourcing and value creation strategies. How can companies meet strategic objectives while mitigating risk, reducing waste, and controlling cost? Should they integrate vertically? What kinds of partnerships will be most successful? How can companies balance tight control and predictability with flexibility and responsiveness? How will demand for transparency and sustainable sourcing change the supply chain?
Addressing the Needs of Consumers Around the World
Food is a universal need. But while consumers and other stakeholders in some markets are transforming the agribusiness industry with new demand for choices that are healthy, sustainably produced, and transparently labeled, other markets struggle with basic food safety and the challenge of feeding their growing populations. How can today's firms design effective strategies to address evolving demand in diverse markets? How can they connect with consumers in target markets and build differentiated brands? How are new technologies changing consumer behavior?
Innovation will be critical to the industry's ability to feed the world's population in the coming decades. Today, many different kinds of novel solutions—from new business models to new food products to technology-enabled processes—are reconfiguring the industry and providing new ways to create value for customers and investors. What kinds of innovation will drive the industry in the future? Which ones are attracting investor attention? How can existing barriers to effective implementation—from business practices to government policy—be overcome? How are leading companies increasing their capacity to innovate and bring new products to market? How should companies respond to consumer demands and competitors’ innovations?
Navigating a Volatile Landscape
Faced with always-evolving conditions—from the earth's climate to regulatory and political climates—agribusiness leaders need to be able to quickly adapt their strategies and operations. For example, while political instability in developing countries has long posed risks, changes in developed countries—such as the UK’s Brexit decision—may also impact agribusiness around the globe. How can companies anticipate change, manage risk, and respond effectively? How will different countries' food security imperatives and related policies impact companies doing business across borders or globally? How can companies maintain momentum in the face of widely fluctuating commodity supplies and dramatic price swings? What other kinds of volatility will characterize the industry in the years to come?
New Cases Each Year from Around the Globe
The 2017 seminar features 12 new agribusiness-specific cases incorporating the latest trends, bold business models, strategies for success, and novel thinking about industry opportunities and challenges. Some of the cases include:
- Beingmate (China)
- Blue Sky Alternative Investments (Australia)
- Camposol (Peru)
- Elders (Australia)
- Godrej Group (India)
- Indigo Agriculture (U.S.)
- Luvo (Canada)
- Muñoz Group (UK)
- Nestlé (Switzerland)
- Ogata Village Akitakomachi Rice Producers Co. (Japan)
- Paine + Partners (U.S.)
- Pete & Gerry’s (U.S.)