Course Units

Master of Agribusiness
Core units for all courses

Upon the completion of this unit graduates will be able to:
1. Develop competence to apply advanced knowledge and application of analytical concepts and techniques relevant for marketing decision making, with an emphasis on creating, capturing and sustaining customer value.
2. Acquire specialised technical and cognitive skills to demonstrate advanced knowledge of the important concepts, processes and managerial frameworks of marketing as a discipline.
3. Demonstrate insight and apply independent judgement into the importance of the marketing concept in the strategic direction of modern organisations.
4. Compare and contrast various marketing theories and practices and develop recommendations for strategic action.

This unit is an introduction to managerial financial analysis applied in the agribusiness context.
Managerial finance is the firm’s funds within the firm, from a single farm through to an integrated agribusiness. It encompasses the functions of budgeting, financial forecasting, credit administration, investment analysis and funds procurement for 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.

This unit will consider managerial accounting practices of gathering information that inform the decision maker of two processes; financial analysis and business planning. The efficiency and effectiveness of decisions for future investment choices is dependent upon understanding the operations of the business now, and its capabilities in achieving future goals.
Financial analysis is the process of evaluation of finance-related matters that determine performance; stability, solvency, liquidity and profitability for monetary investment decisions. In order to undertake financial analysis, data is collected and presented through financial statements; income statements, balance sheets, budgets, cash flow statements. This data is manipulated to produce ratio’s, vertical and horizontal analysis in order which inform the decision making process.
Business planning is the consideration of viable investment decisions generally over a five year period for a business. Whilst business planning is often considered a coincident of start-up ventures its relevance and importance for existing ventures is critical in the examination of a proposed investment decisions. A business plan is a written document that is constructed to identify, compare and contrast, review and evaluate current and proposed marketing, financial and operational factors of the business.
Financial analysis is one critical component of business planning and should be found to be linked throughout the construction of the plan; marketing, operational and financial elements.

Gain knowledge of macro-economic issues in agribusiness, including business cycles, balance of payments, terms of trade, exchange rates, drivers of economic growth, public versus private sector debt, inflation, etc.;
• Gain a deeper understanding of the key drivers in the food and fibre industries in the Australian and global economy;
• Gain a firm understanding of the challenges and opportunities for the Australian agribusiness sector;
• Evaluate business opportunities, determine risks and develop strategies to manage the impact of change, as well as identify quality information for decision making;
• Describe and analyse examples of contemporary managerial issues in agribusiness, such as: the role of government in the agribusiness sector; agricultural policy agendas of Australia’s competitors; roles of global trade organisations and trade agreements and their impact on global trade and investment; climate change; water resource management; animal welfare; alternative production technologies; food safety and security.

This unit is an introduction to strategic management in the agribusiness as well as to management and human resource management. The provides a broad and foundational overview of:
• Strategy, structure and culture
• Organisation mission, goals and objectives
• Analytical frameworks in strategic planning and management
• The strategic management process – shaping and implementing
• The integration of strategic management processes with operational aspects
• Financial analysis, resource analysis, ratio analysis, strategic cost control
• External environment and industry level analysis
• Managing change, business ethics and social responsibility
• Contemporary strategic issues in agribusiness

Core units for Masters

This unit is delivered over 12 weeks to allow the student sufficient time to work on their research project. The aims of this unit are to;
1. Assist you to identify an area of your work where you would like to become a thought leader
2. Provide you with the necessary tools and understanding that will enable you to research and analyse the evidence that will come to underpin your claim to thought leadership in your area of interest.
Thought leadership is achieved through the systematic development of ideas, expertise and knowledge, and the effective communication of those ideas and knowledge to others. The Unit takes the view that these achievements are most importantly the result of research in its various forms.
The unit should generally be taken towards the end of your Master’s program because it will draw on content that you have learned from other units in the course as well as drawing on your work experience.

This unit follows on from TLR504/TLR905 and is delivered over 12 weeks to allow the student sufficient time to work on their research project. The aims of this unit are to;
1. Prepare you to carry out research using secondary data sources 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, and use the findings to underpin your claims to thought leadership in your area of interest.
The unit focuses on an investigation using the research design and literature review developed in TLR504/TLR904.
It is the processes and the outcomes of this investigation that will strategically develop your thought leadership skills, You will also develop skills of dissemination of research outcomes to enable you to leverage your knowledge as a thought leader.


AFA601/AFA801 is a prerequisite for this unit.

Note: This unit is offered only in blended mode with a 5-day compulsory intensive workshop on campus, 30 September – 3 October, 2019

This unit introduces 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.

REC901 is a prerequisite for this unit.

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. This involves determining whether or not it is a true opportunity and provides value to customers. Once an opportunity has been identified, the student learns how to develop a commercial 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.

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. Part of this is the ever increasing need to make decisions with full regard of the varying priorities and demands of the many stakeholder groups that now impact on global agribusiness.
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. Overlaying this is to develop a robust understanding of the roles, objectives and outcomes of key global institutions and forums etc.
The role of culture, politics, financial and monetary systems, climate and policy 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.
There is a focus on what issues (e.g. market, cultural, political and environmental) a business might need to be aware of when operating globally – especially compared to only operating in its home market. This extends to what strategies a business might need to implement when operating in a global agribusiness context – being an effective and responsible global agribusiness citizen.

This subject is under review, information below is based in the 2018 offering of the subject.
This unit will be offered only in blended mode with a 5-day compulsory intensive workshop on campus, 30 June – 5 July 2019

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. 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

Note that the content for this subject is currently under review and an updated handbook entry is expected in June 2019.

This unit is a prerequisite for DNV902

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.
Finally, the unit uses an extensive range of case studies that enable learning from the philosophy and practice successful Australian rural entrepreneurs.

Note that the content for this subject is currently under review to be revised to use a taught case approach, and an updated handbook entry is expected in June 2019.

The purpose of this unit is to reflect upon key learnings from the units completed so far in the course and to apply them to a global agricultural business.
Students will be required to independently interpret and analyse the information provided to build up their case study review.
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 at least 3 key learnings from other postgraduate units and cover off on the required financial, human resource, marketing, risk, and triple bottom line consideration where applicable.

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.