Course Units

Master of Agribusiness
Core units for all courses

Students are expected to complete this unit as soon as possible in their program.

Content
  • Understanding the key drivers in a global economy
  • Australia and the agribusiness sector in a global economy
  • Understanding the macro economic issues
  • Business cycles, balance of payments, terms of trade, exchange rates, drivers of Economic growth, public vs. private sector debt, inflation
  • Contemporary managerial issues:
    • Role of government in the agribusiness sector, agricultural policy agendas of our competitors, World Trade Organisations – impact on global trade, climate change and global warming, carbon trading, water resource management and water trading, animal welfare, environmental and natural resource management, biofuels, GMO’s, food safety and environmental labelling, managed investment schemes, labour resourcing
  • Positioning the business:
    • Evaluating business opportunities, evaluating risks and developing mitigants to minimise the impact of the change, evaluating the information for decision making
Learning outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a capacity to work in a collaborative environment to develop a solution for course learning tasks
  2. Develop and document a strategic overview as a component of a strategic management plan
  3. Evaluate business opportunities which may arise from these issues
  4. Evaluate and quantify the impact of these issues on the business
  5. Identify the range of issues which may impact on agribusiness at both a regional, national and global level
  6. Identify strategies to mitigate the impact of change which these issue may impose on the business
  7. Identify and evaluate the impact of new and emerging issues as they arise
Assessment
  1. Workshop participation (20%) –only offered in Semester 1
  2. Contemporary Essays either 4 or 5 – 1500 words (20%).
    NB if you attend the workshop in Semester 1 you will do 4 essays. If you choose to do the unit in semester 2 there is NO workshop but a requirement to do 5 essays

Students are expected to complete this unit as soon as possible in their program.

Content:
  • Measuring current financial performance Using taxation records as a primary source of data for the financial analysis of a business and convert the data from balance sheets, profit and loss and taxation accounts to a system of management accounts which will then be used as the basis for the analysis of the financial performance of the business.  This data will be used to bench mark the financial performance of the business.
  • Understanding the Financial data Outlines the methods used to understand the impacts which change may have on business performance in terms of cash flow, taxation liability, credit status, and equity and risk profile. Develops key finial performance indicators as a measure of business risk.
  • Business models Develops models for the design of systems for financial control, management and monitoring of complex rural businesses. The focus of this topic is on the practical use of management accounting information in various types of decision-making situations. Development of a business plan for a case study using an approved model for business planning.
Learning outcomes:
  1. Apply the principles from this unit of study in the preparation a business plan for a Case Study business
  2. Demonstrate skills in the acquisition and analysis of financial information for decision-making purposes
  3. Identify the key drivers for a business in production and financial terms
  4. Identify and understand the environment in which the business operates and the impact which this may have on business performance
  5. Identify the level of performance which the business needs to achieve to meet current and projected business goals
  6. Use appropriate techniques to analyse the impact of variation in business performance on cash flow, taxation liability, credit status, and equity and business risk profile
Assessment:
  1. Edmodo online discussions (10%)
  2. Research and Analysis of your proposed Business Plan -3000 words (30%)
  3. Preparing a Business Plan for your proposal – 5000 words (60%)
Elective units for all courses
Content: This course focuses on the application of contemporary marketing theory and practice to agribusiness products and services.  It can be applied to all stages of the agribusiness value chain including; input suppliers of finance, fertilisers, seeds and farm machinery; primary producers of food and fibre; food processors and food retailers.

The course uses the market planning process as an integrating feature of learning and the major assignment is the production of a detailed marketing plan for an agribusiness product or service.

The course has five main sections:

  • The marketing concept
  • The marketing management process
  • Analysis for marketing decisions
  • Strategy and planning for marketing decisions
  • Implementing marketing strategy
Learning outcomes:
  1. Develop competence in the application of analytical concepts and techniques relevant for marketing decision making with an emphasis on creating, capturing and sustaining customer value.
  2. Acquire a working understanding of the important concepts, processes and managerial frameworks of marketing
  3. Develop insight into the importance of the marketing concept in the strategic direction of modern organisations.
Assessment:
  1. Marketing Foundations assignment – 2500 words (35%)
  2. Marketing Strategy assignment – 4000 words (65%)

Prerequisite unit for Agribusiness Risk Management in (ARM503)

Content: This unit is an introduction to managerial financial analysis applied in the agribusiness context.

Managerial finance encompasses the functions of budgeting, financial forecasting, credit administration, investment analysis and funds procurement for the firm. Managerial finance is the management of the firm’s funds within the firm.

Major topics include ratio analysis, time value of money, risk and the required rate of return, cost of capital, capital budgeting techniques, leverage and capital structure and portfolio theory.

The objectives of this unit are as follows:

  • Develop a critical approach to the analysis of the financial performance of the business
  • Understand and use the key financial performance indicators as a measure of business health.
  • A Identify and recommend strategic investments that will increase the owner’s wealth via a range of analytical tools.
  • Develop an overview of the theoretical and practical issues in business finance and the range of funding alternatives which may suit business development
  • Understand the optimal capital structure of debt and equity finance and understand operating and financial leverage
  • Develop and understand applications in areas of specialised business financing such as leasing and capital budgeting
  • Understand portfolio theory and the relationship between required returns and the decisions regarding capital structure, capital budgeting and capital management
Learning outcomes:
  1. Develop a critical approach to the analysis of the financial performance of the business
  2. Understand and use the key financial performance indicators as a measure of business health.
  3. Identify and recommend strategic investments that will increase the owner’s wealth via a range of analytical tools.
  4. Develop an overview of the theoretical and practical issues in business finance and the range of funding alternatives which may suit business development.
  5. Understand the optimal capital structure of debt and equity finance and understand operating and financial leverage.
  6. Develop and understand applications in areas of specialised business financing such as leasing and capital budgeting.
  7. Understand portfolio theory and the relationship between required returns and the decisions regarding capital structure, capital budgeting and capital management.
Assessment:
  1. Minor –Participation in weekly online discussion (10%)
  2. Online Test 1 (20%)
  3. Online Test 2 (20%)
  4. Online Test 3 (20%)
  5. Major Assignment (30%)
Content:
  • What is strategic management?
  • What are the alternatives to strategic management?
  • The strategic management process – shaping and implementing
  • Organisation mission, goals and objectives
  • Analytical frameworks in strategic planning and management
  • External environment and industry level analysis
  • Resource analysis
  • Strategic options and evaluation
  • The integration of strategic management processes with operational aspects
  • Financial analysis, ratio analysis, strategic cost control
  • Strategic implementation
  • Strategy, structure and culture
  • Managing change, business ethics and social responsibility
  • Contemporary strategic issues
Learning outcomes: Knowledge

  1. recognise and interpret the impact of the environment on an organisation.
  2. understand the use of critical case analysis in strategic management.
  3. identify the strategic options available to an organisation.
  4. compare and contrast the strategic direction of an organisation with its competitors.
  5. use analytical techniques to examine the strategic positioning of an organisation.
  6. evaluate the likely success of specific strategic options.

Skills

  1. use the critical case analysis method and apply it effectively.
  2. determine appropriate strategies given prevailing internal and external conditions.
  3. identify organisational cultural aspects and their impact.
  4. determine appropriate organisational direction, goals and objectives and mission statement.
  5. determine appropriate strategies, given the outcomes of strategic analysis.
  6. communicate the outcomes from the analysis in the form of a business plan
Assessment:
  1. Strategic Analysis and Options Assignment, 3000 words (40%)
  2. Strategic Business Plan Assignment, 5000 words (60%)

AFA601 Agribusiness Financial Analysis is a prerequisite for this unit

Content: This course aims to introduce students to the complex and diverse range of risks that organisations must manage in today’s increasingly global agribusiness environment.   Agribusinesses are exposed to both uncertainty and risk, thereby creating both opportunities and the risk of financial losses. Agribusinesses are characterized by high risk-taking under intense uncertainty. Risk management is implemented not to maximise profits, but merely to control financial losses. The organisations that best control their risk and losses are more likely to survive with some financial viability.

As agribusiness managers operating in one of the world’s most risky business environments it is fundamental risk management play an important part in ensuring an organisation’s ability to manage risks. This unit is designed to identify the risks in agribusinesses and food/fibre supply chains, to discover methods to measure these risks, and then find strategies to manage these risks.

Unit objectives

This Unit will enable students to develop the following skills:

  • Understanding of risk and uncertainty
  • Risk identification and understanding
  • Describe the risk management process
  • Understand the types of risk modelling
  • Able to develop and used appropriate decision making models
  • Implement risk management and control procedures through the use of products, options or by optimisation.
Learning outcomes:
  1. Develop an understanding of risk and uncertainty.
  2. Describe the risk management process.
  3. Understand the types of risk modelling.
  4. Develop and use appropriate decision making models.
  5. Implement risk management and control procedures through the use of products, options or by optimisation.
Assessment:
  1. Assessment one – 2000 words (40%)
  2. Assessment two – 4000 words (60%)
Content: In a technology driven and expanding global economy business and farming environments are become increasingly dynamic and sophisticated. Traditional forms of labour management, where labour is seen simply as a cost to be minimised, are fast becoming redundant. The new thinking is that labour is a unique resource which cannot be easily replicated by competitors in the same way as other resources; and that if managed progressively in a way that aims to train and retain it, can be a key contributor to business success.

This unit details the labour management practices that make up this new thinking.  In so doing it sets out a model human resource management programme, noting the problems and prospects of applying the programme within the context of Australia’s system of legal governance of the terms and conditions of employment.

Learning outcomes:
  1. Understand the concepts of labour management and the organisation of work
  2. Understand practices and processes of human resource management
  3. Understand Australian industrial relations’ institutions and processes
Assessment:
  1. Minor assignment – 2000 words (40%)
  2. Major assignment – 4000 words (60%)
Content: This unit examines leadership in all its forms and sets out a series of skills, attitudes, attributes and personal qualities which are required for effective leadership. The unit combines the theory behind aspects of leadership with the development of an understanding of self and others. It also includes practical tools for effective communication and negotiation.

In addition to the online learning component, there is a compulsory 5-day workshop in week1. Over the course of the workshop you will develop your leadership, communication and planning skills. During the workshop numerous formal dinners provide an opportunity to hear and debate the views of keynote speakers on a range of issues, which have relevance for rural and regional Australia. The dinners offer the opportunity to access these speakers and their views – an opportunity which may not be available in a regional or rural community.

Through personal involvement and group participation you will gain an increased understanding of your own strengths and development needs as well as having the opportunity to network with keynote speakers from a range of rural and community organisations from across Australia. The residential program is designed to connect you with prominent community and industry leaders to maximise your learning experience. Training sessions include:

  • Goal Setting
  • Developing action plans
  • Leadership and team building
  • Community leadership
  • Learning and communication including
  • public speaking and working with the media
  • Understanding self and others
  • Negotiation
Learning outcomes: The unit extends the student’s ability to;

  • Compare the models of leadership and discuss the roles of effective leaders and managers.
  • Identify and explain the learning styles and decision making tools that are required to understand how people and organisations function.
  • Analyse your leadership experiences using different approaches.

Apply leadership skills in an organisational setting and reflect on your experiences and/or decisions.

Assessment: Assessment 1

Assessment 2

Reflective Journal

Masters students must complete TLR504 and SGA704 and at least three other units from this set of units. These units are elective units for Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma students.

Prerequisite unit to Developing a New venture (DNV702)

 

Content: Entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly important set of activities to the success and continuous renewal of local, regional and national economies. As innovators, by definition, entrepreneurs bring fresh ideas, new products and services, and welcome/edifying disruption to our economies. In doing so, they build personal, family and community wealth that can transform lives. At one time, scholars of entrepreneurship believed that successful entrepreneurs possessed traits with which they were born. Subsequent research has disproved that theory. This is good news for us who aspire to be entrepreneurs. It means that the skills of entrepreneurship can be learned. However, learning how to be an entrepreneur is not only about the individual and the skills he/she must master, it is about understanding and connecting to the context within which the entrepreneur operates. This unit examines the development of the entrepreneur within a rural context. It explores the self-awareness that is essential to successful entrepreneurship. It looks at the needs of entrepreneurs and the skill set they must master to consistently meet those needs. It also examines the process that entrepreneurs use to make decisions. These are all topics that pertain to the individual entrepreneur. The unit also sets the context for rural entrepreneurship by defining and mapping rural ecosystems and examining the art of building entrepreneurial networks that support rural entrepreneurship.
Learning outcomes: The learning outcomes for this unit are as follows:

  • Understanding of the role of entrepreneurship in rural communities;
  • Self-awareness relative to the student’s own entrepreneurial propensity;
  • Understanding of the unique traits, behaviors, cognitive processes and skills of entrepreneurs;
  • Understanding the support ecosystem for entrepreneurship that exists in every community and how to navigate it;
  • Appreciating the value of planning (strategic and business) to successful entrepreneurship;
  • Comprehending the role of technology in entrepreneurship;
  • Knowing how to diagnose one’s own needs as an entrepreneur and use this knowledge to pursue resources;
  • Knowing how to build a network of entrepreneurs and use it effectively
  • Understanding how to define and distinguish between creativity and innovation and their place in the innovation process.
Assessment:
  • Online discussions (10%)
  • Self-Reflection Journal (20%)
  • Discussion of x2 Case Studies- 1,000 words (15% each)
  • Research Paper – 3,000 (40 %)
Content: The purpose of this unit is to consolidate key learnings from the units completed in the course and to apply them to an Agricultural supply chain. The students will need to connect with a chosen industry and collaborate with them on a supply chain issue/opportunity to then develop a business case study. The students will be connected with access to key stake holders in the supply chain and the issues that are being faced by these industries within the market. The students will be required to independently collect, interpret and analyse the information provided to build up their case study review. The students will be encouraged to apply ‘blue sky’ thinking to the problem/opportunity and then develop the required road map to implementing their solutions. This road map must draw on 4-5 key learnings from other postgraduate units and cover off on the required financial, human resource, marketing, risk, ethics and triple bottom line consideration where applicable.

The unit will draw on research and business minded skills and will involve a compulsory 2-3 day work shop based in Geelong/Melbourne where participants will be provided with exposure to key industry stake holders and other leaders in Australia agriculture.

Learning outcomes: TBC
Assessment: TBC
Content: The twenty first century is set for a new and dynamic period in global agricultural production and trade as the world’s population grows and incomes increase dramatically. While a long term trend in food production and trade is self-evident it is less clear how this will occur and what forces will interact to determine the outcomes. Australian agriculture is well placed to take advantage of this expansion but it will not be a simple matter of relying on demand to provide benefits to Australia’s food and fibre industries. Agribusiness operators and managers (including farmers, value chain managers, financiers and bankers, accountants, lawyers, etc.) need to have a clear understanding of the dynamics of the global business environment if they are to reap the full benefits of these opportunities. Industry organisations and government departments will also need a comprehensive understanding of the international agribusiness environment if they are to formulate appropriate policies and strategies to assist their members and constituents. This unit examines the factors affecting global food demand and supply. It investigates the efforts being made by importing countries to meet their food demand requirements and of exporters to compete effectively in global food and fibre markets. The role of culture, politics, financial and monetary systems and global weather conditions on global food and fibre production and trade are all examined. A range of prediction tools and models are also assessed for their value in assisting agribusiness operators determine the appropriate strategies for their businesses. At the end of this unit students will have a clear understanding of the market, cultural, political and environmental intricacies of conducting business in the changing and volatile global business environment.
Learning outcomes: TBC
Assessment: TBC

REC701 The Rural Entrepreneur in Context is a prerequisite for this unit

 

Content: This unit focuses upon how an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team goes about creating a new business venture. It begins by looking at the process of assessing a business idea to determine whether or not it is a true opportunity to add value to a set of customers. Once an opportunity has been identified, the student learns how to develop a business model that can take that opportunity to market. With an understanding of business modelling, the student can then develop a business plan.

Most courses about the “nuts and bolts” of entrepreneurial startup begin and end with the business plan; however, Steve Blank of Stanford University argues that business plans are more appropriate for established companies than for startups. This is because business plans represent a rational, linear approach to problem solving that relies on past experience to predict the future. Only existing companies have the requisite past experience. Startups must follow a much more organic and evolving path to get to where the founders want them to go. This is better captured by an “iterative innovation” approach.

For this reason, this unit introduces students to the “business model canvas” approach. It uses this process to help the startup entrepreneur to first create a business model before trying to write a business plan. It encourages experimentation, which is essential to successful business startup.

Learning outcomes: The learning outcomes for this unit are as follows:

  • The ability to assess a business opportunity that will add value for a collection of customers, or market;
  • The knowledge required to build a business model;
  • An understanding of how to conduct the background research for and assemble a business plan;
  • An understanding of management and governance issues in entrepreneurial businesses;
  • An understanding of the basics of operations design and management;
  • An appreciation for the use of technology in starting and growing a business;
  • An understanding of how to develop a financial plan and financial documents for a new venture;
  • An understanding of risk management;
  • A basic understanding of marketing in an entrepreneurial venture.
Assessment:
  1. Opportunity Assessment – 1,000 words (20%)
  2. Business Model Canvas – (50 %)
  3. Executive Summary of a Business Plan – 1,000 words (30%)

Prerequisite for Thought Leadership through Inquiry – Proposal Investigation (TLR505)

 

Content: The unit follows on from TLR504 and is delivered over 12 weeks to allow the student sufficient time to work on their research project. The aims of the unit are to;

1. Assist you in carrying out primary research in your chosen area of thought leadership.

2. Provide you with the necessary tools and understanding that will enable you to carry out the research and analyse the evidence that will come to underpin your claim to thought leadership in your area of interest.

The unit focuses on an investigation that will be conducted by you as the assessment in the unit. It is the processes and the outcomes of that investigation that will strategically develop your thought leadership skills.

The unit also develops skills of dissemination of research outcomes to enable you to leverage your knowledge to thought leadership

Learning outcomes: The assessment is designed to achieve the unit objectives such that, on completion of the unit, you will have:

• Developed your research and analysis skills to collect and analyse primary research data.

• Written a thorough report on your research findings, including analysis of how your work fits within the wider body of knowledge in your chosen area of thought leadership.

• Demonstrated the ability to communicate your research findings in both written and verbal channels to a variety of audiences.

• Delivered a written report that meets post graduate scholarly standards

Assessment: 1. Research presentation (30%)

2. Final Report – 5000 words (70%)

Thought Leadership through Inquiry – Proposal Development (TLR504) is a prerequisite for this unit

 

Content: The unit follows on from TLR504 and is delivered over 12 weeks to allow the student sufficient time to work on their research project. The aims of the unit are to;

1. Assist you in carrying out primary research in your chosen area of thought leadership.

2. Provide you with the necessary tools and understanding that will enable you to carry out the research and analyse the evidence that will come to underpin your claim to thought leadership in your area of interest.

The unit focuses on an investigation that will be conducted by you as the assessment in the unit. It is the processes and the outcomes of that investigation that will strategically develop your thought leadership skills.

The unit also develops skills of dissemination of research outcomes to enable you to leverage your knowledge to thought leadership

Learning outcomes: The assessment is designed to achieve the unit objectives such that, on completion of the unit, you will have:

• Developed your research and analysis skills to collect and analyse primary research data.

• Written a thorough report on your research findings, including analysis of how your work fits within the wider body of knowledge in your chosen area of thought leadership.

• Demonstrated the ability to communicate your research findings in both written and verbal channels to a variety of audiences.

• Delivered a written report that meets post graduate scholarly standards

Assessment: 1. Research presentation (30%)

2. Final Report – 5000 words (70%)

Note
  • This is not the study order required for the units.
  • The Compulsory Core units (CMI502 and ASA501) must be completed in the first four units of study.
  • ARM503 has a compulsory 5 day workshop at the College in Trimester 2.
  • LDP605 has a compulsory 5 day workshop in conjunction with the MOC Rural Leadership program.
  • Occasionally the timing of unit offerings will change. If you are unsure, please contact the Director of Postgraduate studies before you select your Trimester units. Information is correct at time of printing.b