Seed Business Management
Graduate Certificate Program

The objective of this Seed Business Management Graduate Certificate is to provide students with core graduate level management and leadership skills that will enable them to better serve seed and agricultural biotechnology businesses and regulatory agencies, their customers and their stakeholders, in an increasingly complex environment. In addition to mastery of the business analytical procedures, the students will learn how seed value is created and delivered in market economies, and how government regulation impacts the delivery of value to customers, the appropriate scope of effective regulation, and various ethical approaches to regulation. The introductory course will introduce certain economic and ethical topics that are useful in the understanding of seed and biotechnology regulation and policy. Regulatory issues will be considered in depth in the capstone course on Seed Trade, Policies and Regulation.

The Seed Business Management Certificate requires 16 credits to complete. The certificate may be either the final objective of the student or an intermediate stop on his/her way to a master’s degree. The content of the course on Seed Trade, Policies, and Regulation will be unique to this program. This material will provide the basis for strategic thought about the seed industry from either the viewpoint of a participant or a regulator.

Seed Business Management Courses

Strategic Management (2 cr. Hrs.) — Critical analysis of current practice and case studies in strategic management with an emphasis on integrative decision making. Strategy formulation and implementation will be investigated in the context of complex business environments.

Information Systems (2 cr. Hrs.) — Introduction to a broad variety of information systems (IS) topics, including current and emerging developments in information technology (IT), IT strategy in the context of corporate strategy, and IS planning and development of enterprise architectures. Cases, reading, and discussions highlight the techniques and tactics used by managers to cope with strategic issues within an increasingly technical and data-driven competitive environment.

Marketing and Logistics (3 cr. Hrs.) — To remain competitive in today’s complex business environment, firms need to coordinate marketing, production, and logistics activities not only within the firm but with outside suppliers and customers in the supply chain. This course integrates the business functions concerned with the marketing and movement of goods along the supply chain with the primary goal of creating value for the ultimate seed customer.

Organizational Behavior (2 cr. Hrs.) — Will teach understanding human behavior in organizations and the nature of organizations from a managerial perspective. Special emphasis will be placed on how individual differences, such as perceptions, personality, and motivation, influence individual and group behavior in organizations and on how behavior can be influenced by job design, leadership, groups, and the structure of organizations.

The objectives of the course are: understanding the value of science in studying human behavior in organizations; investigating individual differences in order to better understand your own behavior and the behavior of others in organizations; exploration of means to manage individual differences in order to influence behavior in organizations; looking at basic organizational processes and how they affect behavior in organizations; accepting tolerance for ambiguity in situations where best practice has not yet been determined; and understanding why, and how, people are an organization’s greatest asset.

Accounting and Finance (3 cr. Hrs.) – The primary goal of this course is to provide a survey of the fundamental topics in finance and accounting. The course will also provide the student with the technical knowledge to utilize financial accounting information in support of business decisions.

The accounting portion of the course will cover seed industry financial statements, corporate governance issues, e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley, financial statement analysis, and valuation of seed firms. Students will be required to evaluate financial statements of publicly-traded seed or other agriculture-oriented firms. Additionally, critical issues that confront financial reporting in the industry will be addressed.

The financial portion of the course will show students how to apply the valuation, risk analysis, and other financial analysis techniques used to make and evaluate the major financial decisions facing the firm. These decisions revolve around two questions: 1) Which of many possible investments should the firm undertake (the investment or capital budgeting decision) and 2) How should the firm finance its investments (the financing or capital structure decision). Students will estimate the costs of the different capital components in order to determine the cost of capital for a project. The financial section of the course will also begin by familiarizing students with the basic tools and techniques used in financial management. It will then cover stock and bond valuation and use this process to introduce the process of estimation of the cost of capital. In the cost of capital segment, it will also discuss financing decisions. Finally, students will learn how to make the most important decisions facing the firm — the firm’s investment decisions, capital budgeting. Students will assess and use the primary capital budgeting methods to evaluate proposed investments.

International Seed Business Practices, Policies, & Regulation (3 Cr. Hrs.) – The course focuses on regulatory environments shaping an organization’s business strategy; the role of certification schemes in facilitation of trade; and national quality regulation including truth in labeling, variety registration, certification (germination, physical purity, genetic identity, genetic purity, and moisture content). It emphasizes the difference between process standards and output tests; process improvement; and product liability. In the area of biosafety regulations, it includes restricted testing, food safety, commercial seed use. Students will be introduced to the ethical basis of the use and regulation of biotechnology.

Students will understand the conventions facilitating international trade: OECD, ISTA, the WTO, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Agreements; and the conventions restricting trade: International Plant Protection Convention, Convention on Biodiversity and the Cartegena Protocol, CODEX. Students will understand the precautionary principle and its relation to the WTO trade agreements.

Special attention will be given to intellectual property protection: trademarks; industrial secrets and contract law; plant breeders’ rights and UPOV; patent protection for varieties; patent protection for genetic information; patent protection for biotech processes; and the impact of IP protection on variety development, variety testing, and the dissemination of performance information by businesses. The appropriate roles of public and private research and extension will be discussed.

The international business segment will focus on cultural, financial, economic, social, environmental, political, and legal environments shaping an organization’s international business strategy. Topics pertain to entry and repatriation of people, firms, goods, services, and capital.

Introduction to the Seed Industry (1 Cr. Hr.) This introductory course is a quick overview of the academic program and the seed industry. It describes how the STB program components relate to the seed industry scope; the role of the seed industry in global agriculture and society;  public and private institutions involved in seed research, development, and regulation; quality management for seed products . Current issues including industry consolidation, ethical and economic issues related to biotechnology, and incorporation of digital technology in the seed business will be discussed by course instructors and guest lecturers from the seed industry.

Admissions Procedures

Similar to our master of science candidates, we will require certificate candidates to fill out an application for admission and submit a resume and essay answers. See our Admissions page for more information.
For information about tuition and fees for this certificate see our Tuition and Fees page.