From winning the Farm Planner of the Year award to gaining a graduate role through his placement year, Harry Dunford’s Harper experience is full of highlights. The BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management alumnus graduated in 2018 and has been working hard ever since.
“Choosing the Agriculture with Farm Business Management route made for a really well rounded course, which covered all bases from practical farming to business management, rural law, people management, and more,” Harry began. “These are all vital skills which have set me up well for life after university.
“Coming from a farming background and having always been interested in agriculture, I was keen on all aspects of the course, especially the compulsory placement year. I felt that by being compulsory it would be hugely beneficial but not disrupt friendships, compared to if it was optional.”
Harry is currently working for Savills, a global real estates service provider, as part of the food and farming specialists team. This opportunity arose as a result of Harry’s placement year. He explained: “The role in the Food and Farming team fitted perfectly into my course, building on everything we had covered in the first two years and adding an additional layer of detail through real life situations.
“This set me up well for my final year, as I had been given the opportunity to put my knowledge into practise, benefitting hugely from working under senior staff with many years’ experience in the industry.
“As well as providing me with contacts both within Savills and the industry as a whole, which helped me significantly when completing my dissertation, I was also able to secure a full time job for after uni which was a massive bonus!
“I am working back with the same team following graduation. This coincided with another member of the team, who I had principally shadowed on my placement year, leaving so automatically generated an increased level of responsibility as I picked up his clients.
“Now, about 2 years down the line, I have completed the Savills ‘graduate pathway’ so I’m fully involved with managing a number of my own clients whilst providing help to senior directors on bigger jobs.
“Typical work encompasses a full range of farm management services, including financial budgeting and reporting; BPS and CSS work; structuring and managing a range of farming agreements; and machinery and labour planning, so it gives an opportunity to get involved with a vast range of clients!
“A typical week is mixed between time out with clients and time in the office, so there is rarely a dull moment.”
Reflecting on his time at Harper, Harry said: “Harper had always been my favoured university; having had several friends who had been to Harper and thoroughly enjoyed their time, I had no reservations and it was always my number one choice.
“My favourite Harper memory was winning the Farm Planner of the Year competition in 2018.
“As a team of five, we worked hard to continue Harper’s winning run, and with the help of our lecturers put together a business plan and presentation which came out on top when we presented in the final in Nottingham. The whole experience was a real learning curve and looking back is a great thing on the CV! Our celebration night at the pub was a good one!”
For other’s about to start their journey at Harper, Harry gave his advice: “There will be moments where you have to get out of your comfort zone - with things like presentations and approaching employers for placements - although in the long run these all pay off and help build your confidence.
“I would suggest getting stuck into as many things as possible, as looking back it is incredible how quickly the four years go.”