At Harper Adams, we’re advocates for applied learning - we love teaching the theory and making it practical for the working world. Whether you’re learning about soil, food or machinery, what you learn in the classroom has relevance to the real world. 2017 graduate Charlotte Garbutt is proof of this, sharing with us how her degree has helped her achieve a rewarding career three years after graduation.
Studying BSc (Hons) Agri-Business, Charlotte had always been passionate about business studies. She commented: “I wanted to combine my passion and background of farming with my interest in business which I had studied from GCSE level. The course at Harper is great because the modules cover such a wide range of subject areas and provide you with so much knowledge, opening up a diverse number of career options.”
Initially thinking she wanted to live the city life, it was only after coming to Harper that Charlotte realised she wanted something a little more like home. She explained: “After coming to Harper for my interview, it was within ten minutes of being there, I knew it was the place for me. The students and the staff were so down to earth and friendly and it felt like a ‘home from home’.
“I grew up on the family farm of arable beef and sheep on the Yorkshire Wolds. My childhood revolved around the farm and this has had a big part to play in why Harper felt like the right place for me.”
With practical learning in mind, the BSc (Hons) Agri-Business degree seeks to apply business skills and knowledge to the agricultural sector. Theories and concepts are delivered in the first two years at university which are then applied in third year, seeing students head out into the working world to put their knowledge to the test and discover for themselves how best to manage an agricultural business.
Charlotte thoroughly enjoyed her placement year, explaining: “I spent 15 months with KWS, a plant breeding company whose UK base is in Thriplow. It was a great experience to see a different side to farming, learning about the plant breeding cycle from the initial crossing of the varieties all the way through to harvest and assessment. There is so much work that goes into breeding the varieties for farmers to grow.
“My placement year was also a good life experience to live and work away from home in an area I wasn’t familiar with. It helped me to feel confident in pursuing different roles after graduation and expand on my working experiences.”
These experiences for Charlotte have been vast and key to helping develop a range of skills. Charlotte shared what she had been up to since graduation, commenting: “I was fortunate enough to be elected as Student Union President which meant I got to spend an additional year at Harper. I decided to stand for the role as I had thoroughly enjoyed my four years at Harper and wanted to give back.
“I loved the 12 months spent organising events, working with the student body to develop and improve student life and the experience it gave me of running a business and managing staff. My experience of being Student Union President has helped me in my career and given me better opportunities as a graduate.
“I have since then joined Syngenta, a global agrochemical company, as an Area Manager covering the Lincolnshire area. This role has put to the test everything I learnt throughout my degree and the managerial skills I developed with the SU.”
Alongside her working endeavours, Charlotte has an additional project: “I also have a small herd of Pedigree Limousins that I established with my partner last year when we purchased a smallholding together.” You can see Charlotte and her cattle pictured below!
With all of this to keep her busy, Charlotte’s career is thriving. With all of her success, we asked Charlotte for her advice to students looking to study business at Harper Adams. She said: “You get out what you put in - and that is particularly true at Harper. There is so much to get involved in and so many opportunities out there that Harper presents you with. If I hadn’t have come to Harper, I never would have had the chance to give a reading in front of Princes Anne, or to be awarded the financial scholarships that opened so many doors.
“You will make friends for life and have experiences you will always cherish so make the most of your time. It’s such a close-knit community where everyone looks out for each other - you’ll always meet someone in your industry who knows of, or has been to Harper.
“Harper teaches you to work hard, play hard and if you work hard to achieve your dreams, it pays off in the end.”
If Charlotte’s story has inspired you, you can find out more about our business courses here. To speak to a student about their time at Harper and discover more about our degrees that matter, click the link below.