Agribusiness at UH Hilo

AgEc 291: Agribusiness Internship/Work Experience

Dr. Sabry A. Shehata

Course Objectives

The primary objective is to foster and promote the highest standards of professional excellence in agri-marketing, part of which is devoted to encouraging marketing careers in agri-business.

UHH-NAMA students train for long hours, research Hawaiian agricultural products, and interface with professional companies within the community. The measurement of students’ success will be their commitment to the association’s goals and objectives and how well they do at the National Conference.

Course Description

In preparation for the upcoming NAMA National Competition in the spring, the students of NAMA will develop a marketing plan for an agricultural product.

Objectives, Activities, and Timeline

AgBu 291 is centered on the NAMA student chapter activities. One of their activities has been to assemble a marketing plan for an agricultural product/service and compete with other top schools among 33 universities nationwide. They then present their plan at the annual NAMA National Conference. This provides students with real life experience and an excellent opportunity to be involved in the various professional activities that NAMA National provides. The team consists of UHH students who will be selected as presenters of a marketing promotional plan for an agricultural product/service; their performance is judged by several panels of professional agricultural marketers.

Students are expected to commit to 15 hours per week for 4 months and still work within the community developing their social skills with professional businesses.

Students meet regularly from the onset of the Spring semester. They meet every Tuesday and Thursday evenings for class and actual hands-on development of a marketing plan. From January through April, preparation for the national competition takes place—NAMA students gather more data, rehearse, and mentally prepare for the NAMA National competition.

Early in the semester, clients are selected through a well-planned process in order to prepare a marketing plan for presentation on behalf of NAMA at the national competition. NAMA students present their ideas of the kinds of agricultural commodities that would appeal to anyone nationwide. Brainstorming, fact-finding, discussions, surveys, and data collection are done in the preliminary stages. Then the commodity is selected in preparation for the national competition. After the selection, more extensive and intensive data is collected, along with further research, and the team is formed.

During the preparation for the conference, all students are equally responsible for all aspects of research, product development, discussion groups, surveys, community informational meetings, etc. This is done mostly to help the students with their marketing skills, but also to emphasize teambuilding and working together in order to achieve the goal of making it to the national competition.

In preparation for the national competition, students will interface with local commodity groups, university faculty, students, politicians, friends, and family. In the national competition, there are at least 7–10 judges on the panel and several hundred people in the audience. Therefore, the impact will be tremendous for the students as far as their experience and networking abilities in the future.

Dr. Shehata’s professional staff will measure the results of the students by their class attendance, their participation in social activities, fund-raising projects, the amount of time they spend on research and preparation, along with community building, and their preparation for the national competition.

Evaluation

Dr. Shehata will conduct monthly evaluations of NAMA students who are preparing for the national competition by testing their product knowledge, marketing skills, and presentation efforts. Attitude, social skills, team building, communication, and attendance will also be evaluated.

In the months of February through April, critique sessions involving NAMA students and professionals from different industries will be held to evaluate the students’ marketing knowledge, and also to preview and comment on their presentation for the national competition.

Grading Methods

Grades will depend on student attendance and participation in NAMA activities.