Graduate profile

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald

  • Studied: Bachelor of Agricultural Economics
  • Now works as: International Beef Trader, Nippon Meat Packers

Andrew McDonald admits his job, as an international beef trader with Nippon Meat Packers, fell into his lap. He wasn't really looking for a job when he applied. At his interview he was handed the job description "which pretty much ticked every box of what I did at university and what I liked. I took it that day. I have been here since."

Andrew studied for a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics, between 1998 and 2001. He was born in Grafton and grew up in the city, but retained an understanding of the role of agriculture in the economy. Andrew was interested in an economics and business-based degree, "but I also had an interest in dealing more in tangible goods and the country side of things, so agricultural economics was my first choice and I got straight in."

During his studies, he particularly enjoyed the professional placements. "I worked in a winery, a macadamia farm, a dairy farm as well as touring the Murray River Basin. You get to learn a lot and get some hands-on experience."

Academically, his focus was on economics and international trade and marketing, "and I walked into a job where I am internationally marketing Australian products."

Nippon Meat Packers is a Japanese company which exports beef products to more than 34 countries. It is one of the top ten meat processors in the world. For Andrew, who handles sales of Australian beef internationally, that means a lot of international travel. "There are regular trips to Japan. I look after the USA and Americas, so USA frequently, Canada occasionally. Europe every year once or twice, Indonesia. Australian beef is what I am working in and it goes everywhere."

He says the company provides plenty of opportunities. "If you have an idea and you are willing to work, they will give you a try. There is always something new every day, and you are getting involved in world matters."

Andrew said his studies were "a perfect fit" for his job. Several colleagues are also University of Sydney Agriculture graduates. He thinks studying Agricultural Economics gave him a real advantage. "There are probably 10,000 a year graduating with a business degree, whereas there is only 50 or 60 coming out with an Agricultural Economics degree in NSW. You automatically differentiate yourself, which is a good thing."