A Global Perspective 

Jaime Saavedra
STB Alumnus

Rancagua, Chile
Site Enablement Leader
Bayer – Crop Science

Jaime Saavedra is a perfect example of why an online graduate program is critical to training the next generation of seed leaders. Located in Chile, Jaime was able to study at a distance, working on his course work in his own time. One of the visions of the STB program, when it was conceived, was to train seed leaders from all over the world. By finishing his final creative component project in the spring of 2019, Jaime is on his way!

What made you decide to apply to the program? 

I was looking for a part-time MS program but there was no program in my country focused on my main interest, which was to have a broad knowledge of the seed business industry. I wanted a program that was not only oriented to sciences but also was focused on learning about the global seed industry. The MS in Seed Technology and Business program was perfect for me. The fact that it was online and was one of the most prestigious agriculture schools in the world was very exciting. In fact, a professor who wrote a recommendation letter for me to get into the program said: “Iowa State has a stamp of quality, it is like the Coca-Cola of agriculture schools.”

Do you think the STB program helped you move forward professionally?

Yes, it has and will continue to, I’m sure of it. It really helped me gain confidence in my decisions and improved my “way of thinking” in a more holistic way and also improved my business acumen.

What advice do you have for students considering applying?
I would tell anyone, but particularly international students, they should go for it! This program is great for improving your vision of the seed business. For international students the program can be a great challenge.  Studying and delivering in a different language and learning from experts in their field will open your mind to different ways agriculture has been developed in other countries. You learn how different solutions can be applied to different cultures, countries and regulatory frameworks.

What was the biggest strength of the program?
The biggest strength of the program for me was the extensive content of the courses. They were designed to allow different points of view on the different cases presented. The professors were very open minded to different propositions and solutions to problems. They embraced diversity of thought and did not only subscribe to the “American way” of thinking.

How did online learning work for you?
It worked great. I had to manage my own time but with a lot of guidance. The instructors do set deadlines and you have to stick to a semester schedule, so you stay on track but can work in your own time. There were times when it was really hard and I missed out on sleep but the amount I learned made that very worth it.

Now what? Once you complete the program what is your next step?
After so much effort to complete the course work, I feel I need to go there face-to-face and give my final oral exam at the seed science center! I finished my program in the spring of 2019 and am excited to visit the faculty and staff on campus.

I want to keep constructing my career with the aim of being in a place where my work makes as much of an impact as possible. All of us who have worked their way through this program are prepared to make such an impact.

Jaime made the decision to explore a master’s degree program that he could do online! The flexibility of the STB program makes it so you can make this happen anywhere in the world! 

Become a #seedleader today!