City Native Finds Her Home at Purdue and in the Agricultural Industry
Name: Heidi Kwan
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Canada
High school: Hong Kong International School
Major & Concentration: Agribusiness Marketing major with a minor in Crop Science
Why did you come to Purdue: When I decided to study Agriculture was when I decided to come to Purdue, because Purdue is synonymous with Ag.
Favorite Purdue tradition: Dressing in black and gold to cheer for Purdue at basketball games.
Top three influences at Purdue:
- The women of Sigma Alpha who push me to strive for excellence by leading by example.
- Dr. Lee Schweitzer who welcomed me to Purdue and encouraged me to find the right path for me even if it wasn’t in agronomy.
- My first career fair that opened my eyes to all the opportunity in the agricultural industry.
Five words to describe Purdue:
Top five highlights of your career:
- Becoming a Team Leader for Purdue’s orientation program, Boiler Gold Rush.
- Working as a field scout for Cargill.
- Serving two terms as Sigma Alpha’s Director of Finances.
- Talking to the Women in Agribusiness learning community about how to make the most of their time at Purdue.
- Accepting a full-time position at INTL FCStone.
Something you wish you would have done at Purdue: While I travel a lot outside of Purdue, I wish I would have gone on more study abroad trips through the International Programs in Agriculture. The experiences you have, bonds you make, and knowledge you gain on these trips far surpasses vacation traveling.
Places you have been as a Purdue student: I studied abroad in Cuba, and interned in Canada, Hong Kong, and Kansas City.
Have to redo college in a major not in Ag: Computer science, because if there is one thing I have learned from interning with ag companies it is that there is a great need in this world for better and more customizable databases, customer interface programs, and internal systems.
Favorite club/organization: Sigma Alpha
Favorite Student-led event/initiative: BGR
Favorite Purdue event: Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry
Favorite place to study: The Ag Administration building (AGAD)
Over your career where were you most likely to be found on campus: AGAD
Favorite spot on campus: Loeb Fountain
Favorite thing about CoA: It’s a family, and even though the CoA is large in size it doesn’t feel like it. Everyone knows everyone from one thing or another, and it makes Purdue feel like home.
Favorite thing about AGEC: The people I’m surrounded by in my AGEC classes are the people who are going to be furthering the agricultural industry one day soon. It is refreshing to see how ambitious yet supportive everyone is.
Favorite thing about your major: The capstone classes AGEC 427 and AGEC 429 taught me invaluable skills that will help propel me in my career. The classes were well taught and exciting, making them two of my favorite classes at Purdue.
Favorite class: AGEC 427
Favorite professor: Dr. Steven Wu
Coolest project: At INTL FCStone I created a market analysis on the precious metals industry identifying important processes, needs, opportunities, risks, fit within FCStone, advise on how the precious metals business can be established and expanded, and example deals with real potential customer companies. The analysis included a 21-page report, a presentation to executives, and compiled target customer lists.
Three biggest accomplishments:
- Being on the Dean’s list every semester
- Creating a better financial system for Sigma Alpha
- Intern project with INTL FCStone
Things on your resume not listed above: My sophomore year summer I was a Marketing and Communications intern at Li & Fung, an investment holding company, which engages in the trading, logistics and distribution of consumer products.
Three words to describe you:
What are you passionate for: I’m passionate about advancing and advocating for the agricultural industry, and helping the smaller farms and ag businesses stay competitive.
What intrigues you about the Ag industry: Every single person in this world is affected by agriculture but the majority of people are not informed on its inner-workings.
What motivates you: Knowing that there is always room to better myself, and there are always ways to help others do the same.
Favorite quote: If you can’t catch a wave, then you’re never gonna ride one.
Personal Motto: Everyone is an expert in something, and it is wonderful to discover what someone’s something is.
Accepted employment: INTL FCStone as a Commodity Finance Analyst in Kansas City, Missouri
Where do you want to end up: I want to be a well-respected leader in the commodities finance industry. More importantly I want to be proud of the person I am, and happy in my job and personal life.
Advice for underclassman: Classes teach you about different subjects, internships teach you what subject you want to pursue, and being a part of clubs/ organizations teaches you how to be a leader so you can be successful in your pursuit of the subject you are interested.
Biggest takeaway from Purdue: Being a Boilermaker is a special thing, and we must uphold what it means to be ever grateful and ever true, because we are part something bigger than ourselves. We are part of Purdue.