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Master of Agribusiness

MAB Alum reflects on strategic alliance evaluation

This is the third in a series of articles celebrating 20 years of the Master of Agribusiness program. As part of the year-long celebration, the MAB program will publish articles highlighting alumni and research conducted by students throughout the program. #MABTurns20

Twelve years ago, Tyson Chick completed his Master of Agribusiness thesis Strategic Alliance Evaluation and Development for Specific Assets of Agri Cooperative and AGP.

While in the program, he was the General Manager for Siebert Cooperative in Siebert, Colorado and then relocated to Holdrege, Nebraska to work as the Grain Department Manager at Agri Co-Op. As his interest area was in strengthening the cooperative system, Chick conducted research to determine the profitability of a possible alliance between Agri Co-Op and another local cooperative, AGP Grain Marketing LLC (AGP).

"Agri Co-op and AGP have grain elevator facilities and other assets that are in close geographic proximity and have the potential to operate more efficiently and profitability through some form of coordinated operations," Chick said.

Using a competitive environment model, a series of several key questions regarding the atmosphere the companies operate in were answered. Next, a five- forces model of competition was used to evaluate the competitive pressures associated with the local market. From this examination, further research was done regarding factors driving industry change, strategic group mapping and strategic rival techniques. Chick also discussed the benefits and consequences of a full joint venture and potential lease agreements.

Based on his extensive research, Chick provided recommendations to build trust and open opportunities between the two organizations without formal contractual obligation. "Building trust between the organizations was expected to enable and encourage movement to full joint venture alliances, in the future. While economic factors of local markets become the driving force for the needed awareness, there was still an underlying trust factor that needed to be solved for any business alliance to work," Chick said.

About completing his thesis and the Master of Agribusiness program, Chick said, "The MAB program really helped me get more comfortable with evaluating business performance and strategic planning.  My career up to the point of starting the program had all been focused on trading. My thesis topic helped me to do much more than work through a potential merger.  It taught me how to evaluate a business, its potential, and long term viability. While the thesis project was a daunting capstone to completing the MAB program, I can now say that I am very proud and grateful of the opportunities and practical application to use, what was learned in the program, that it gave me."

Today, Chick works as a General Manager for a Business Unit of CHS in Central Washington. "More than 10 years after the MAB program I am still finding ways to incorporate it into my daily work," Chick said.