Why Cal Poly?











Why should you attend Cal Poly’s MPS program?

Never mind the following:

  • We’re training students for management positions in large-scale dairy processing facilities
  • Dairy experience is not required
  • There is strong industry demand for our graduates
  • Our program is designed in partnership with and guided by employers
  • Students will interface with high-level industry executives
  • Starting salaries for our graduates will be in the $60,000-65,000 range
  • Students will participate in paid internships after only nine months
  • Students will graduate with a Master’s degree in only 12 months
  • Dairy processing is technologically-sophisticated and engineering-driven
  • Dairy processing is a high-growth, international industry resistant to economic downturns

Forget all of that. You should attend because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and it’s 70 degrees and sunny in San Luis Obispo!

What makes a leader? Characteristics of an MPS student

The MPS advisory council was recently tasked with describing the type of student we seek for admission to the MPS program.

Council members felt it was necessary first to describe what makes a a successful manager in a dairy processing facility. After all, our goal is to produce graduates who can step into leadership roles at these facilities. Here’s what they came up with:

“The successful manager in dairy production is a dynamic combination of leader, problem solver, teacher, and technician who draws from this or her collective skill set to mobilize the production process.”

So what is this collective skill set they refer to? What types of traits are we looking for in an MPS student?

  • The MPS student should have a unique set of skills, personality traits, and background.
  • Grades, while important, will be less essential to the success of an applicant than other traits that are possessed by successful dairy manufacturing operations leaders.
  • Candidates for the MPS in Dairy Products Technology should be multitaskers who can quickly process several pieces of information efficiently to formulate solutions.
  • Candidates will be able to take input from those around them and synthesize alternatives.
  • In addition to the ability to think analytically and critically in a fast-paced environment, the ideal candidate will be operationally- and manufacturing-driven.
  • He/she will embrace the opportunities and challenges of the large-scale industrial dairy foods manufacturing environment.
  • Ideal candidates for the program will have held leadership roles in organizations such as college clubs, academic governance, social groups, volunteer groups and others.
  • To be successful as leaders in operational roles, candidates will have self-awareness. They will know where their strengths lie and what characteristics and knowledge they need to develop.
  • Candidates will exhibit a strong work ethic with a desire to teach and inspire others.
  • Candidates will demonstrate the ability to be empathetic to the needs of those around them and will respect the value of diverse opinions.

Do these traits resonate with you? Can you picture yourself utilizing your skill set to lead a team of coworkers in a large-scale dairy processing facility? If so, we would love to see your application.

If you would like to learn more about Cal Poly’s MPS program, please visit http://mpsdairy.calpoly.edu/application.html or call me at (805) 756-6148. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tom Johnson, Program Manager
Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology

Industry Advisory Council delivers hands-on guidance

One of the unique features of Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program is our close relationship with the dairy processing industry.

Our program was funded in part by a generous financial contribution from Leprino Foods. But Leprino’s involvement goes deeper.

A representative of Leprino Foods also chairs our program’s Industry Advisory Council. Together we have assembled an all-star cast of advisors that helps ensure we’re a) recruiting the right students to our program; b) teaching those students what they need to know to become effective leaders in the dairy processing industry; and c) helping those students secure internships and employment when they finish their studies.

Our advisors weigh in on recruitment, curriculum development, and internship development. They provide tour opportunities at their plants. They also offer guest lectures on topics as wide-ranging as Production Management, Leadership Development, Quality Control, and Conflict Resolution.

The MPS program’s  Industry Advisory Council member list reads like a Who’s Who of dairy processors. We benefit from the guidance of important companies like Leprino, Kraft, Hilmar, Schreiber, Land O’Lakes, Tetra Pak, DFA, Dean Foods, and Foster Farms.

These same partners recruit directly from our program. And this makes sense, since we’re in the business of training the next generation of industry leaders. Our partnership is a win for all involved – the program, our industry partners, and especially for our students.

If you’re seeking an opportunity to become a leader in the food industry, consider Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program.

Feel free to contact me with questions at (805) 756-6148.

Best regards,

Tom Johnson, Program Manager
Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology

Now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 School Year

Cal Poly’s Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology program  is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year.

If you think you might be who a good fit for our program, please contact me as soon as possible. We seek 15 qualified students for the 2014 cohort and will begin reviewing applications in the coming weeks.

To learn more, please visit http://mpsdairy.calpoly.edu/application.html or call me at (805) 756-6148.

Good luck!

Tom Johnson, Program Manager
Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology

Fall is in the air!

MPS students at Madox Dairy

Greetings from beautiful San Luis Obispo! Fall is in the air, which means we’re all getting back to work – and for our new MPS students, that means hitting the books!

I’m excited to tell you that Cal Poly’s Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology program is now in full swing. Our first cohort of students started classes in September and is already showing great promise.

During the first weeks of the school year, our students have juggled classes and lab sessions, attended guest lectures and taken field trips to California’s Central Valley – home to America’s premier dairy herds and processing facilities.

This quarter, our students are focused on learning Dairy Chemistry, Dairy Microbiology,  and Dairy Foods Manufacturing. Class time has been supplemented with regular visits to Cal Poly’s creamery to learn about the equipment used in dairy processing.

We’ve also had the opportunity to tour Maddox Dairy – a 12,000-cow dairy farm in Riverdale, California, and Leprino Foods’ Lemoore, California facility – the largest Mozzarella production facility in the world.  At this one plant, Leprino Foods produces more than a million pounds of cheese daily!

In the coming weeks, I’ll introduce you to some of our students and faculty. Please stay tuned.


Tom Johnson, Program Manager
Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology