Finding a Balance Between Business and Food Studies

Friday, November 4, 2016

Carlson School students Madeline Malone, '17 BSB, and Abbey Burtis, '18 BSB, are taking different paths with their majors. Burtis is in marketing and entrepreneurial studies and Malone is studying management information systems. What brings them together is their choice of minor: agricultural and food business management.

“My passion is in food. I love to bake and cook. I also knew I wanted to be in the food industry after I graduated,” Malone says. Her passion and interest in the industry led her to take a food science class her freshman year to meet a physical science requirement. “I loved the class so much that I began looking around the CFANS [College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences] website for potential minors in food science or something else food related.” That’s when she found the agricultural and food business management course work.

Burtis’ goal in choosing a minor was to enhance her learning from the Carlson School, and experience more of what the University has to offer. “This minor combines two of my deepest passions: food and business, so it was an easy sell, as I could both differentiate my learning and obtain industry-specific knowledge,” she says.

However, she wasn’t only attracted to the minor simply because of the courses. “When researching the minor, the faculty and staff of CFANS were incredibly supportive,” she says. “Instructors were responsive and knowledgeable, helping to guide me to the right courses based on what I hoped to gain from the minor.”

Broadening the horizons

To complete the minor, students are required to fulfill between 13 and 16 credits, four of them fulfilled by a required introductory microeconomics course. From there, students choose three or more of the 17 minor courses offered, ranging from agribusiness finance to food marketing economics. “I took a commodities marketing class and retail marketing this past year and am wrapping up the minor with an introduction to the food system class,” Malone says.

Malone was fortunate enough to utilize both her major and minor this summer through an internship with Land O’Lakes. “I’m looking forward to furthering my education in agriculture and ways agriculture can leverage technology through my full-time job in IT with Land O’Lakes.”

Burtis doesn’t know what her future path may bring, but she is driven by a desire to leverage her strengths and knowledge to help others achieve healthy, sustainable lifestyles. “I don’t know exactly what that will entail, but I do know I will do everything I can to make it happen,” she says. “In the meantime, I will be seeking opportunities that align with this goal and expanding my knowledge through education and experience.”

She also has a message to other undergraduate students: Explore beyond the realm of your major. “Even if you don’t have the time to fully complete a minor, enroll in a few classes on a subject that has always interested you,” she says. “The University of Minnesota is a knowledge gold mine—the people and research that emerge from the institution constantly amaze me. Take advantage of the resources around you—you truly have nothing to lose!”