Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business - Graduate story

Youssey Lak 1

Youssey Lak

Recent graduate of our Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business (MGFAB) program, Youssey Lak has secured a job as a Technical Advisor with the leading German international development organisation GIZ. Youssey will be working on a project titled "Support of Regional Economic Cooperation in Asia". We caught up with Youssey recently to ask about his experience of studying with us at CGFAR and University of Adelaide and learn about his future aspirations.

Why choose the Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business?

I wanted to upgrade my skills and get a qualification of an international standard. After graduating from the Royal University of Agriculture in Cambodia, I spent over six years in agriculture and rural development sectors. My jobs involved many management roles from an individual project as a Project Coordinator to coordinating a research program as a Project Development Program Team Member and eventually to the organisational level as a Steering Committee Member, who helped overlook overall performance and management of the organisation. Within these years, I worked in five projects (four of them I coordinated and managed myself), including three mega projects and two international projects. Hence, I was inspired from my work and international development colleagues who I worked with to acquire internationally recognised skills and qualifications, which in turn, could help me contribute to Cambodia’s agriculture and food sectors.

Why choose the University of Adelaide?

The University of Adelaide offers a Master Program in both Global Food and Agricultural Business while the other Australian universities offer only a Master in Agribusiness. My past work involved more in production but less in the market side, which limited my abilities to develop interventions for the sector I was in. Hence, I was interested in understanding more about global food system dynamics while acquiring agribusiness skills. I was also influenced by a senior student taking the same program at the University of Adelaide who provided me some insights about the program during my decision period. The other two important factors on why I chose Adelaide were relatively lower living costs and more jobs available for students’ dependents. These were the four major reasons why I chose the University of Adelaide.

What do you enjoy about your degree/time at uni?

I did enjoy my time during my study. The whole campus, facilities and classrooms are welcoming to students from diverse backgrounds in terms of cultures, lifestyles and academic settings. I highly appreciate lecturers and professors in the Centre for Global Food and Resources (CGFAR) who are approachable and supportive with highly professional skills and knowledge in their specialised fields. I like the fact that there are many industry placements and internship opportunities available through the program, the Faculty of Professions and also through the University. Placements helped me to develop necessary industry skills and helped me to familiarise myself to real work environments.

Outside the university, I got the opportunity to participate in many social activities. I was involved in some volunteering work both on and off campus, which allowed to meet new people and make new friends. I am so grateful to be awarded the Australia Awards Scholarship for my Master Degree here. I really enjoy the green space and the calming and relaxing environment of Adelaide. Importantly, I could not get enough of how much nature has to offer in South Australia, from beautiful beaches, diverse and unique wildlife and flora, spectacular outback areas, among other things. I absolutely enjoyed the food culture, local ceremonies and festivals, and vineyards.

One of the most cherishing experience of my time in Adelaide is that I made a very good friendship with a local Australian family through the Experience Adelaide Program. We keep in touch, share moments and stories and a lot more. I am confident out friendship will remain strong even after my departure from Australia.

What do you hope to do once qualified?

I have two big dreams, which I am passionate to pursue after my graduation. First and foremost, I always want to work in international projects or work for international companies or organisations, where I can showcase and demonstrate my skills and full potential to make an impact on small and big businesses, producers and consumers regardless of geographical borders. As I have planned and followed my pathway to be an internationally competitive graduate from an Australian university, I am committed to go further to achieve my ultimate goal. I also look forward to take part in projects of the Centre of Global Food and Resources too, if they are to be implemented in Australia, Asia or the Pacific regions.

My second goal links back to my passion I have brought along from Cambodia which was a strong motivation for me to undertake this program. I want to contribute to the development of agriculture and food sectors in Cambodia. I envisage to establish an Agriculture and Food Innovation Centre in Cambodia with three main objectives: 1) to increase productivity through technology, research and development; 2) to add value where possible to agricultural commodities through increased export and encouraged food business related entrepreneurs; 3) to raise competitiveness of Cambodia’s food brands regionally (Asian) through branding, PR, improved quality control systems. I believe I can achieve this big dream by starting with a small step at a time. I am in process to develop this concept by putting ideas together, doing research and talking to former lecturers and like-minded friends.

Congratulations to Youssey for his exciting new job and wish all the best for his future career. 

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