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Student Blog Series: My Experience as an Agricultural Business Major

Student Blog Series Matthew Kunerth

My Experience as an Agricultural Business Major

Matthias Kunerth 

During my senior year of high school, I was asked over and over again, “Where are you going to college? What are you going to major in?” and “What do you hope to do with your degree?” Thankfully, I knew the answer to the first question, but the other two were always up in the air. Hi, my name is Matthias Kunerth, I am from a small agricultural community in southwest Minnesota, and am currently a senior pursing a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business and an accelerated Master’s of Economics at South Dakota State University (SDSU).

Before coming to SDSU, I did not know what I wanted to study or career I wanted to pursue, but I had always enjoyed business courses and remember telling my advisor, Kayte Haggerty, that I was seeking direction and searching for a degree. She recommended I go through the list of all the majors SDSU offers and cross off the ones I knew I was not interested in. Eventually, it came down to three: Agricultural Business, Business Economics, and Precision Agriculture. I ultimately decided to pursue a degree in Agricultural Business as I believed it offered the widest array of career opportunities and best matched my personal interests and professional aspirations.

Fast forward to nearly three-years later and I could not be happier with the decision I made to pursue a degree in Ag. Business. No doubt at first there were considerations and reconsiderations of a different major; still, it was not until taking several of the higher-level courses, including, Introduction to Agricultural Marketing, Agribusiness Management, and Agricultural Policy that I realized I found the right major for me. It was through these courses that I was challenged to learn more about commodity pricing strategies and public policies affecting the entire globe’s food production. These courses have heavily influenced my outlook on my career aspirations and educational goals that I have set for myself. Ultimately, it was because of several of these courses that I decided to pursue a Master’s of Economics degree following graduation.

In addition to pursing a degree in Ag. Business, I am involved in numerous extracurricular opportunities which have allowed me to take my knowledge and apply it outside of the classroom setting. My involvement in Investment Club gave me the opportunity to learn more about the other trading sectors outside of the commodities—I was even fortunate enough to take a trip to the Harvard Business School Investment Conference to hear from several esteemed hedge fund managers. Another Ness School organization I joined was the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Quiz Bowl team at SDSU. This allowed my competitive spirit to flourish, as myself and several other SDSU students take an annual trip to compete in a Jeopardy style game with agricultural economics related questions. I also quickly felt myself gravitate to Fraternity and Sorority Life and soon became a pledged member of the FarmHouse fraternity. Being an active member of a brotherhood at SDSU among 50 men, we continually push each other in an effort towards excellence.

As I finish my last semester of my Agricultural Business Bachelor’s degree and begin my graduate coursework, I look back and reflect on the countless opportunities and experiences I have had throughout my classes and extracurriculars. I am grateful to have had several internships, been involved in numerous extracurricular organizations, and have had professors and peers along the way who have helped guide me into a career path that I feel is right for me. Looking back, it was through the Agricultural Business degree core curriculum that I found the topics and careers that interest me. I am excited for the future knowing I will use the foundational knowledge learned at SDSU to propel me further in my graduate courses and career aspirations.