When did you join the RAU and what brought you here?
I joined the RAU in 2014. After 20 years of practical farming, advisory and consultancy work I decided I wanted to give more to the next generation.
I started as a part-time lecturer in farm business management but loved teaching and the RAU so much I quickly decided to commit to full-time. I now teach diversification, rural tourism, agri-marketing, and sustainable agriculture alongside farm business management, I am also the course manager for the MSc in Business Management.
How did you get into Farm Business Management?
I grew up on a family farm in Nottinghamshire, studied rural resource management at university, and then became an agricultural adviser working on farming, food, and environmental projects. I also run my own farming business in the Cotswolds.
What made you go into teaching?
I am passionate about sharing knowledge and ideas. I have worked with lots of student and farmer groups at my farm over the years, so coming to the RAU as a formal lecturer was a natural extension of what I had been doing.
What do you enjoy about it?
I love working with, and inspiring students, and seeing their development over time. I also enjoy getting them out and about and getting their boots muddy. Working with, and challenging, diverse postgraduate groups is a particular highlight.
What’s the most challenging aspect of teaching/learning about Farm Business Management??
The financial management concepts and maths can be daunting at times so I try and keep it simple, fun, and practically focused. To balance the less exciting elements I mix in lighter sessions on entrepreneurship, diversification, and sustainability.
A good farm business manager must be good at the figures but they must also manage their environmental and social assets too, and become leaders. There is a lot to cover!
What would be your top three tips for anyone thinking of studying business at the RAU?
There are huge opportunities out there for graduates who have good business management skills, and a passion for food, farming, the environment, and enterprise. If you come to the RAU, be ready to:
- Engage from day one – attend lectures and farm walks, read lots, ask for help, and get involved with our excellent enterprise programme. Make the most of your time here.
- Think differently – keep an open mind, question and explore new concepts, and be creative. Who knows where it will take you.
- Show passion – students who love what they do stand out in a competitive job market. Find your area of interest and go for it.
How would you describe life at the RAU/Cirencester?
The RAU is relaxed, friendly, and supportive. There is plenty to do but you also get time to explore your subject and future career path.
What makes it distinctive/special?
The RAU is a beautiful place full of people with passion for food, farming, the countryside, and business enterprise.
What’s your favourite spot on campus and why?
My office. I get a lovely view of the campus and it’s a calm sunny space. My door is always open so colleagues and students are always popping in.
What are your top Cirencester recommendations?
There are lots of wonderful Cotswolds villages within a few miles of Cirencester with excellent pubs, restaurants, farm shops, and country walks. Cheltenham, Oxford and Bristol are not far away for a dose of city nightlife