Recent Updates

Take steps now to determine whether the MPS program is right for you

Posted on March 7, 2017 by

Trying to decide whether to apply to Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program?

There’s still time. Applications for Fall 2017 aren’t due until April 1. Students who meet the application deadline will have another month to complete their files. Apply here.

Unsure whether the MPS program is right for you? Don’t know enough about the program or the industry to make a good decision? Read on.

First, consider that people with graduate degrees typically enjoy:

  • Higher pay ($16,000 per year more on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and $400,000 over a lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Lower lifetime unemployment
  • Differentiation in a competitive job market
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Continued intellectual development
  • Specialized knowledge
  • More control over one’s career

Once you’ve made the decision to attend graduate school, there’s still work to do to determine whether the MPS program is your best fit. Many factors should be considered, including program cost, reputation, compatibility with your areas of interest, career goals, location, and career opportunities and salaries for graduates. But how do you gather this information?


  • If possible, visit our campus. Try to get a feel for the culture and the atmosphere. Sit in on some classes. Meet the professors and students in the program. Do you feel comfortable milling about with students already enrolled? Do students seem to like the program?
  • Talk with former students. Ask for a list of people who have graduated from the program and reach out to them. Ask whether the program met their expectations. Are their careers on track? Is the MPS degree helpful in their career development? Does the degree command respect in the industry?
  • Talk with senior-level people in the industry you would join. The program can help you connect with people who can provide a real-world prospective about what it’s like to work in the industry, what your career track will look like, and whether the degree you’re considering will help you get where you want to go.
  • Do your research. Familiarize yourself not only with the MPS program, but with the field the MPS program trains you for. Conduct internet searches. Read the news. Ask lots of questions.
  • Talk with current professors and guidance counselors. What do they think of the program you’re considering? Do they think it’s a good fit?
  • Talk with friends and family. What do they think about your choices? Can they see you going down the road you’re considering?

If you’re unsure whether Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program is a good fit for you, start by giving me a call. I can help you work through your decision and connect you with students, graduates, and professionals in the industry. Together, we’ll get you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Call, text, or email me anytime. I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope to see your application soon!

Tom Photo 2015Tom Johnson. Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell

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MPS Application Deadline One Month Away

Posted on March 1, 2017 by

One month remains until applications are due for Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program. To be considered for Fall 2017 admission, online applications must be submitted by April 1.

The program still has openings for Fall 2017 and welcomes applicants. Minimum requirements include a 2.75 GPA, scores near or above the 50th percentile on the GRE, and exposure to college-level biology and chemistry. No food or dairy experience is required.

The Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology is a one-year Masters program that trains students for management and leadership roles in the growing international dairy foods industry. The program has a high placement record with numerous industry-leading companies. Starting salaries for graduates average $65,000 – 75,000 (often higher for engineers).

Applicants who submit their online applications prior to the April 1 deadline will have an additional 30 days to provide supporting materials, including GRE scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Questions? Call, text, or email me anytime. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tom Photo 2015Tom Johnson. Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell

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San Luis Obispo Among Most Beautiful College Towns

Posted on February 17, 2017 by

Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, San Luis Obispo enjoys a Mediterranean climate and pleasant temperatures year round.

San Luis Obispo, home to Cal Poly, has been named one of the Five Most Beautiful College Towns in America by the website Travelers Today.

The ranking, which was published last week, reminds readers that studying at a fantastic university set in a friendly and accommodating college town can tip the scales in favor of an unforgettable college experience.

“Choosing where to go to college is a major step,” says writer Sheobi Anne Ramos. “The options are diverse in the US. But when considering the university you’ll spend the next four years in, you should also take into account the town it inhabits.”

Downtown San Luis Obispo is home to numerous restaurants and one of the country’s best farmers markets.

Ramos highlighted San Luis Obispo’s relative spaciousness and access to outdoor recreation. “Home to California Polytechnic State University, this California college town is sure to make any student’s life easier,” says Ramos. “It isn’t as crowded as the main cities in Cali, and the amount of activities and excursions in the area are enough to make any student stay after college.”

San Luis Obispo is well known as an adventurist’s paradise. Recreators seek out the area for mountain biking, hiking, and surfing — all just a few minutes from town. Wildlife enthusiasts enjoy whale watching and mingling with sea lions and birds along the nearby Central Coast. Cycling through the area’s wine country adds yet another dimension, as San Luis Obispo County is home to more than 300 wineries.

Picturesque Vineyards line the valleys surrounding the City of San Luis Obispo.

The town of San Luis Obispo is also a big draw, for locals and visitors alike. Named one of the country’s friendliest towns by USA Today and “The Happiest Place In America” by Oprah Winfrey and National Geographic, San Luis Obispo is a picturesque college town packed with restaurants, breweries, shopping, and entertainment.

Rounding out the top five Most Beautiful College Towns are:

  • Corvallis, Oregon, home to Oregon State University
  • Boulder, Colorado, home to University of Colorado
  • Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University
  • Bloomington, Indiana, home to Indiana University

The complete rankings can be found at The Five Most Beautiful College Towns In America.

For more information about Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program, visit or contact:

Tom Photo 2015

Tom Johnson, Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell


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Time to get started on your application!

Posted on January 26, 2017 by

If you intend to apply to Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program for Fall 2017, it’s time to make plans and get started.

  • You can begin the process by sending your resume to me at
  • Online applications are due in two months. Applicants who meet the April 1 submission deadline will have another 30 days to submit supplementary materials, including letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  • You will also need to set up an Interfolio account and upload unofficial copies of your transcripts and scores. Your references will upload their letters of recommendation directly to Interfolio.

While the majority of your application can be completed in an afternoon, don’t wait too long to get started on GRE preparations.  Most applicants benefit from a formal or informal test prep course and 30 to 60 days of review. Keep in mind that GRE scores must be submitted no later than May 1. (visit here for GRE study tips)

For complete application instructions, visit

We’re excited to see your application!

Question? Visit http://mpsdairy.calpoly.eduor contact:Tom Photo 2015
Tom Johnson, Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell

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What is “leadership” anyway?

Posted on December 14, 2016 by

fishThe MPS in Dairy Products Technology program makes a big deal out of leadership. This is no accident. Our industry partners tell us leaders are needed in their workplaces, and they encourage us to recruit leaders into the program. They direct us to seek out applicants who have demonstrated leadership through involvement in student government, athletics, clubs and organizations, charity work, employment, lab positions, and other endeavors.

We ask that our applicants show evidence of leadership experience in their applications. Once in the program, our students take a leadership class all three quarters they are on campus. They also particpate in regular group activities intended to foster leadership development. So with all of this focus on leadership, it’s surprising that there is little consensus on what leadership actually is.

A while back, I came across a piece that New York Times best-selling author Kevin Kruse wrote for Forbes, in which he deconstructed some of the prevailing definitions of leadership. Afterward, he offered his own definition, which hits as close to the mark as any I’ve seen. In the article, Kruse posits that:

  • Leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company
  • Leadership has nothing to do with titles
  • Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes
  • Leadership isn’t management

So what is Kruse’s definition of leadership?

“Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

Notice key elements of this definition:

  • Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power
  • Leadership requires others, and that implies they don’t need to be “direct reports”
  • Thereis no mention of personality traits, attributes, or even a title; there are many styles, many paths, to effective leadership
  • Leadership includes a goal, not merely “influence” with no intended outcome

If I could offer one piece of advice to prospective applicants to the MPS program, it would be to seek out opporunties to develop your own natural leadership potential — opportunities that allow you to accept responsibility for guiding and motivating others toward achievement of a goal. Learn how to empower and influence those around you. Read about leadership and write down your own leadership goals.

While rereading the Kruse’s Forbes piece, I encountered a few famous quotes about leadership that I found inspiring. This led me to assemble a list of my favorite leadership quotes. You’ll find them below. You might be able to picture yourself embracing some of these axioms. Perhaps they will help you better understand the type of leadership that would come naturally to you. I hope you find these quotes as inspiring as I do. Enjoy! (You can find Kruse’s complete Forbes article here)

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden, 10-time national champion basketball

“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell, best-selling author

“Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” – Seth Godin, best-selling author

“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.” – James Humes, presidential speech writer 

“A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.”– M. D. Arnold, American author

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan, former president

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold Glasow, American businessman

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc, built McDonalds into most successful fast food chain

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts.
It is about one life influencing another.” –John C. Maxwell


“When people talk, listen completely.” – Ernest Hemingway, American author

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” – Arnold Glasow, American businessman

“Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50 percent of your time in leading yourself–your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20 percent leading those with authority over you and 15 percent leading your peers.” – Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of the Visa credit card

“Leaders don’t inflict pain, they share pain.” – Max Depree, American businessman

leadership-woman“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren G. Bennis, organizational consultant

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” – Peter F. Drucker, management consultant

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady

“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair, former prime minister of the U.K.

“You manage things; you lead people.” – Grace Murray Hopper, American computer pioneer

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell, best-selling author

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” – John C. Maxwell

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch, fomer CEO of General Electric

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton, author

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”– Vince Lombardi, football coach

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” – Colin Powell, former Secretary of State

“A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.” – Robert Townsend

“Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.” – Harold Geneen, American businessman

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” – Bill Bradley, former NBA player and U.S. Senator

“Earn your leadership every day.” – Michael Jordan, former NBA player

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates, founder and former CEO of Microsoft

If you have questions about your qualifications or would like to discuss applying to the MPS program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to seing your application!

For more information about the MPS program, visit or contact:Tom Photo 2015
Tom Johnson, Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell

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