Published: 29 Nov 2021
The Masterclass in Horticultural Business was launched in 2017 by The University of Tasmania, in partnership with some of the world’s leading names in horticulture. It provides current and future horticultural managers around the country the knowledge and skills to maximise farm performance and lead successful teams. In this column, we meet current student and agronomist, Zhensong (Song) Zhu, who outlines what he has learnt so far and the course benefits.
Agronomist Zhensong (Song) Zhu is only midway through his studies for the Masterclass in Horticultural Business – but can already see the benefits it will provide him and his employer.
The University of Tasmania’s Graduate Diploma in Agribusiness: Masterclass in Horticultural Business offers participants immersive study that will ultimately make them a better businessperson.
Offered through the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and developed in partnership with some of the world’s leading names in horticulture – including New Zealand’s Lincoln University, the Wageningen Research Academy in the Netherlands and Hort Innovation – the course is delivered online, with face-to-face learning and networking opportunities.
Song has recently joined Impact Fertiliser and is based in the company’s Melbourne office. Previously, he worked for Coolibah Herbs.
“Before I joined Impact Fertiliser, I was regularly traveling across farms in Victoria, checking the crop quality and giving recommendations to farmers on soil health, fertiliser application and chemical use,” Song said.
“Coolibah Herbs is a leader in the vegetable industry, and it is focused on the organic market and minimising using chemicals in conventional crops.
“As a member of the leadership team at Coolibah, I led the agronomy team for three years and ensured Coolibah products retained their position as a quality item in the market.
“The Masterclass will give me a better idea of the industry and I can read things from a different angle.”
Song studied a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science in China from 2011-2015. After moving to Australia, he furthered his studies with a Master of Agriculture Economics at the University of Western Australia (2017-2019) and saw the Masterclass in Horticultural Business as an opportunity to further his studies and increase his network.
“As I have been away from school for a couple of years, I wanted to go back to university to refresh my knowledge and look at what is new in the industry,” Song said.
“Although we are struggling in the COVID situation, it is still lovely to meet people around the country and talk about their stories among the industry.”
Song is keen to translate theory into practice and apply the learnings from the Masterclass that will benefit him, his employer, and the industry.
“As a starter in the industry, I gained practical experience and applied the knowledge from university into the field,” Song said.
“From my point of view, an agronomist helps people get access to high quality and safe crops. I can then develop a better understanding of what is the right way to approach farming.”
The Masterclass in Horticultural Business will provide current and future horticultural managers around the country the knowledge and skills to maximise farm performance and lead successful teams.
The units are typically delivered over an 18-month period with individual flexible study plans allowing participants to study during periods of seasonal workload and around personal circumstances.
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Masterclass in Horticultural Business is funded by the Hort Frontiers Leadership Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from the University of Tasmania and contributions from the Australian Government.