Finding Unexpected Career Paths in the Agriculture Industry
“The world is your oyster.” “The sky is the limit.” “You can be whatever you want to be.” These quotes suggest there are more careers available to you than you might think. This is especially true in the agriculture industry, where many opportunities can lead to career paths you hadn’t even thought of.
With her extensive knowledge of agriculture, McComish
is a voice for farmers in the banking system.
Meet Megan McComish, a business account manager at the Royal Bank of Canada in Stettler, Alberta. McComish helps RBC’s business clients by providing them with financial advice. With her extensive knowledge of agriculture, McComish is a voice for farmers in the banking system. She also helps farmers complete their credit applications to get their loans approved.
McComish’s agriculture journey began on her family’s cow/calf farm in Buckingham, Quebec. The only thing on her mind growing up was farming. “I was only four years old when I started consistently doing ‘little safe jobs’ with my dad on our family farm,” says McComish.
After high school, all McComish wanted to do was help run the family farm that she thought she would eventually take over. But her dad insisted that she get at least three years of higher education after completing high school. Her only interest being agriculture, she says, “My high school guidance counsellor found the Farm Management and Technology program at McGill University in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”
McComish says the FMT program opened her eyes to so many other career opportunities in the agricultural industry. This led her to move from Quebec to Alberta where she enrolled in the Bachelor of Applied Science Agribusiness degree program at Olds College. This program includes two semesters of classroom learning and two semesters of applied learning (an internship).
“This internship allowed me to marry my love and knowledge of agriculture
with finance and help farmers who don’t have a financial background.”
While still attending Olds College, one of McComish’s teachers connected her with a previous student working as a commercial account manager at RBC. “We went for coffee and talked about agricultural career options at RBC.” Shortly after that, RBC participated in a Career Fair at Olds College where the bank announced an internship position. “I landed this internship position at RBC’s Red Deer branch, where I interned as a business and commercial account manager. This internship allowed me to marry my love and knowledge of agriculture with finance and help farmers who don’t have a financial background.”
McComish credits landing her job at RBC with networking. After McComish finished her agriculture program at Olds College and her internship at RBC ended, there were no job openings at RBC in Stettler. While looking for her first job, McComish worked on her husband’s family’s farm near Stettler. “While I was working on the farm, I kept in touch with my former classmates at Olds College and my former co-workers at RBC.”
Eight months later, a former co-worker at RBC, who was the business account manager in Stettler, got in touch with McComish. “He told me that he was changing positions and that he was going to recommend me for his previous position because of my agriculture education and experience.”
Now, at twenty-four years old, McComish has almost three years of experience as a business account manager and is working toward the role of commercial account manager. “In the commercial account manager role, I would be responsible for completing more extensive duties for larger agricultural clients.” McComish says she would then like to take on a leadership role managing other business account managers in central Alberta.
“I was able to find a job in the agriculture industry that I absolutely love!”
And what advice would McComish give students who are interested in a career in agriculture? “When I first thought about what I wanted to do for a career, I didn’t know that a career in agriculture finance even existed. But thanks to having an open mind, and a great career guidance counsellor, I was able to find a job in the agriculture industry that I absolutely love!”
By Diane L.M. Cook
For more information on careers in agriculture explore our Nourishing Minds publications here.