MBA Intern Series: "Building" Barley
By Ben Williams / August 29, 2016
Ben Williams is a MBA intern based in Leuven, Belgium, working in our Global Procurement Office. Ben is working on projects in raw materials, including assessing raw material potentiality in new global regions and improving grower engagement programs, in addition to supporting strategy development for renewable energy initiatives. Ben is currently pursuing his MBA at SDA Bocconi.
If I could sum up my summer internship experience with one word, it would simply be – wow! In true form to the value of a MBA internship, the opportunity arose to transform myself through an experience in a very new and exciting industry within Agricultural Development. I went from building bridges and infrastructure with a Civil Engineering background in a transportation company, to this summer building barley for AB InBev. Now, probably some of you are asking “Wait, I thought you grow barley? What do you mean by building barley?” While certainly the act of growing barley occurs through natural processes, many behind the scenes efforts are in motion within the Agricultural Development group at AB InBev. Our goal is to provide a consistent, resilient, and high quality local supply of barley through innovations in technology, information and education—and ultimately, to improve global agriculture. And herein lies the opportunity to build barley, through improving growing practices, productivity, and grower livelihoods.
This summer, I worked on projects related to grower engagement and support in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. Field visits to local growers, cooperatives, and distributors, in addition to our own agronomist teams, added strong value for recognizing opportunities and refining recommendations. We identified the opportunity to connect more closely with growers through direct messaging technology, as well as through the development of materials featuring best practice management tips. The end effect will be a more streamlined process for increasing the number of program participants, the ability to closely communicate with more growers, and the opportunity to scale the programs to other global regions.
Through these projects, not to mention the plethora of other projects in motion through the Agricultural Development team at AB InBev, it was clear to me that not only is barley grown, but also it is built – through tailored programs and acute attention to grower needs and opportunities. Cheers to building the best barley, with the best growers, for the best beer in the world!
Rollings hills of barley in Brazil