On 23 February 2023, the Agricultural Economics Postgraduate Association (AEPA) seated in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University hosted a speed networking event to connect the department’s postgraduate and final-year students with future employers. In an event as fast-paced as the agricultural industry itself, students had the opportunity to engage with agricultural economists representing various agricultural companies. The event, based on the principles of speed dating, was divided into smaller groups and the groups had only seven minutes with each industry member to ask them anything they wanted. These seven-minute rotations made for an exciting evening where students and industry shared their mutual passion for the industry. During the evening, students had the chance to experience the dynamic nature of the life of an agricultural economist. Although the industry guests were all agricultural economists, none had the same day-to-day activities, illustrating, once again, the multitude of possibilities available to graduates in agricultural economics.
In a post-event survey, the industry participants commended AEPA for the initiative to meet future leaders and indicated their interest in future events. One of the students said, “It was a networking event unlike any other – where agricultural economists could connect with like-minded professionals in a flash.”
AEPA, founded in August 2022, is passionate about developing agricultural economics students. Their vision is to create a community for postgraduates (and, where possible, for undergraduates) in the department to connect with in academic, professional and social settings. By hosting events such as the speed networking event, AEPA facilitates engagement among fellow students, lecturers and the industry. Other events that AEPA is planning for the year include a selection of skills development workshops and brown bag seminars aimed at preparing students for the workplace.
AEPA and the Department of Agricultural Economics are grateful for the generous donations by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Kaap Agri, which made the event possible.