Unconventional graduate study fields : Agriculture

 

Agriculture1The most important graduate degrees are not only those which are popular today; they are those which will be popular in 10, 20 or 30 years down the line, driven by the way the world moves. Those which are popular today are perennial favourites: those which are yet to come into their own, but which will soon explode in popularity, are often seen as unconventional – but they have huge potential! We at Jamboree coach hundreds of students to realize their dreams in Computer Science or Aerospace Engineering or get to do a Master’s in Engineering Management, but we also assist those who have starkly different graduate degree targets.

One such field is definitely agriculture. Food security for every human being on Planet Earth is one of the big problems today, and it is going to grow in importance in the future. As a fundamental human need, Food comes well before Clothing, Shelter or Smartphones. The top agriculture professionals in the world are responsible for policies that seek to feed 7 billion human beings adequately every year, and expand our capability, as the human race, to feed the billions that will be born in the coming decades, so that no child knows want or hunger.

To become one of these top agriculture professionals in the world, you will have to complete an undergraduate or post graduate degree in Agriculture, or one of its many allied fields (from Engineering in Agriculture to Forestry). As is usual when evaluating any career option, here is our perspective on why studying in the field abroad is fundamentally a good investment, and likely to improve:

Supply of qualified agricultural professionals is much higher than Demand for them in the current job market

Every year, the market demands more qualified professionals from the top institutes in the world. This is reflected in the numbers applying to and enrolling for each program; there has been a 20% to 40% (e.g. Penn State) growth in every big university in the US, largely independent of the recession that hit other sectors. Given how important food security is, and the crying need for experts to increase crop productivity, the demand is at an all time high, and the supply is definitely much lower.

As we get closer to 2050 AD, the demand will explode

By 2050, most experts estimate that we will need to produce twice the amount of food that we do today, in order to feed 2.4 billion new human beings, in addition to the 0.8 billion who are malnourished today. This is a gigantic task. In a world that has already seen a Green Revolution, the incremental impact needed to double food production will need innovative ideas, sustained efforts and flawless execution. Only the best agriculturists in the world can make this happen.

You need to head abroad, because the 100 best agricultural universities in the world are outside India

If you look up any credible worldwide ranking – for example, the QS ranking of the top universities in Agriculture, you will see 100 Agriculture Programs from 29 different countries – from the USA to the Netherlands to Australia. All of them are outside India. There is great potential for someone who has studied the latest and greatest in enhancing agricultural productivity, and applies it to the Indian context. If you want to train at the best places in the world, you need to look abroad.

The market for Agriculture graduates is very attractive – both in terms of breadth and compensation

Historically, the placement rate for Agriculture majors in the US has been close to 100% – with many lining up jobs up to a year before they graduate. Even when the market went through ups and downs, all the top programs consistently managed to assure more than 95% of their students a job before they graduated. The worldwide market is vast, and the job opportunities in India are very attractive as well: you could become an independent consultant, work in the public sector with the Government, or move to the private sector with a global giant like DuPont or Monsanto. 

The salaries are very competitive, as well

Agriculture specialists with a Graduate degree are offered salaries that are comparable to tech developer salaries, and the growth in salary through taking up consulting projects can be up to 100% year on year. This is, of course, assuming a predictable rate of increased based on year on year increase in the past. If an explosion of demand happens, as predicted elsewhere in this post, we could see an even higher rate of growth, with agriculturists becoming some of the mostly highly paid, and most sought after, professionals in the world.

History is on your side

If you study abroad and return to India, you will be doing work that makes a difference. The original Green Revolution made its mark first in India, more than half a century ago. Norman Borlaug lifted hundreds of millions out of potential famine, and showed us the potential of innovations in agriculture.

Today, we stand on the brink of another food disaster – with hundreds of millions suffering from hunger, and countless unborn children who will struggle unless we discover an answer. As an Agriculture graduate, you could be responsible for Green Revolution 2.0 – your life will have more meaning than it possibly could have otherwise.

There is great variety within the sector

If you’re looking at Agriculture as an option for Graduate studies, you should know that there is huge diversity of options within the field; in addition, there is much scope to bring in inter-disciplinary learning. If you were a B.Tech., you could be a great Agricultural Engineer; if you had studied Economics, you could work in Agricultural Planning or Food Security, with a potential career with one of the UN agencies that works in the field.

No matter what your undergraduate degree was in, you will be able to contribute to the Food Security problem in the world. This is different from the case in any other graduate degree

You are guaranteed practical experience

Can you imagine a field in which your Master’s Project focussed on transforming a 100 acre stretch of land, and potentially feeding a community for decades? Can you imagine being able to test every theory you had on real, tangible setups? Don’t you want to spend a substantial chunk of time in the great outdoors? A degree in Agriculture will give you more practical experience than just any degree out there; you will always be able to see exactly how you are changing the world, and lifting large groups of people out of hunger.

If you have the will to work hard in your chosen field, nothing can stop you

There are graduate fields in which illogically high levels of competition sometimes hold back hugely talented people, and where it’s hard to grow beyond a point, from a career point of view. Agriculture is definitely not one of them. Since the supply demand gap is so huge, and since there are so many diverse opportunities to excel in the field, you will never hit a glass ceiling, or find yourself with too few choices.

As long as you work hard, and have a genuine passion for solving one of the biggest problems the world faces today, you will always be able to build a strong career in the field, and be recognized by your peers as someone who is a respected professional in the field. You will go to work every day knowing that you are making a difference, being more than adequately compensated for your work, and that you have only scratched the surface in terms of achievement potential. You will be satisfied, always.

If you think that Agriculture could be your calling, or if you just want to know more about the hundreds of unconventional – but hugely high potential – graduate degrees out there, you need access to someone who has worked across the breadth of every field, and counselled students on fresh graduate choices.

For example, if you just want more information, you can get in touch with your nearest Jamboree centre – just have a discussion with a graduate career expert who can reduce your confusion about the best courses abroad, and help you choose the path which is right for you, by arming you with the best weapons – knowledge and information.

If you have already chosen your graduate degree and want to make your dream come true, you can look up our different GRE coaching programs – and counselling services – on our website, and set up an appointment for you to come and sign up with us. Either way, we’ve got you covered. All the best!

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The Jamboree In Depth look at unconventional graduate study fields: Agriculture
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The most important graduate degrees are not only those which are popular today; they are those which will be popular in 10, 20 or 30 years down the line, driven by the way the world moves.
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