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