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Áron József Borda’s PhD story: “I feel honoured to influence future leaders at Corvinus”

2024-02-21 09:51:00

Áron József Borda is a real veteran, having also obtained his Bachelor's degree at Corvinus. He wants to prove that agriculture and agricultural economics have a place in a university of economics.

Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

Áron Borda is currently a third-year PhD student. He previously completed a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness and Rural Development Management, a master’s degree in business development and then chose to specialise in Agricultural Economics within the Sustainability Management Doctoral Programme.His choice was motivated by the fact that he is part of a small family business, which he can easily manage alongside his university studies. 

“I had a good relationship with colleagues in the Department of Agriculture because of my background in the student union,” said Áron, explaining what other factors encouraged his decision. He was also a board member of the Agribusiness Club for several years, organising conferences.”In the beginning we had 20-30 members, and now we are talking about a national student organisation with hundreds of members. With this expansion, I was keen not to lose the relationships I had developed with academics and market players,” he explains, “as they can be channelled into the doctoral programme through education. 

Áron also owes his previous research experience to his colleagues in the department. During his undergraduate studies, he was asked to contribute to a research project on strawberry growers. He used his work in TDK and OTDK competitions, as well as in his thesis. His success motivated him to later apply for a PhD, an idea that came to him during his Master’s studies. He wrote his master’s thesis on agricultural start-ups. Although he initially wanted to continue working on this topic for his PhD, he eventually switched to researching generational transition in agriculture, which he says is much closer to his heart. 

“There are fewer and fewer farmers, and often large family farms disappear because there are no suitable successors,” said Áron, outlining the problems of an ageing farming community. He stressed that this is a problem not only in Hungary, but across Europe. This situation can be explained by several factors, such as the fact that farming is no longer popular enough with young people, or that they do not see it as a viable option due to their urban lifestyle. 

As well as the negative aspects, his research also reveals some positive examples. His aim is to find out what it takes to make a successful generational change and how to motivate young people to take family farming forward. 

Áron is helped by the fact that he has met young people in similar situations, both in the doctoral programme and in the master’s and student organisations. His experience has also encouraged him to run his own family business in the future. “Now I have different ideas, but I’m really fascinated by this world. That’s why I’m happy about this doctoral programme, because being a researcher gives me a lot of freedom and it’s compatible with this kind of business,” says Áron, who plans to continue teaching and researching at the university for a long time to come. 

“One of my strongest motivations for joining the doctoral school was teaching. I have always been interested in broadening the horizons of young people. If they take away just a few ideas, then I can say that I have influenced future leaders”. According to Áron, this is a great opportunity because in the competitive sector there are very few opportunities to influence young people’s perceptions towards sustainability or more conscious food purchasing and consumption. 

Another advantage of doctoral studies is that you can get close to academics and experts you look up to. Conferences are a chance to meet people with similar interests and views. Also, because of the small number of students, the supportive environment at the Department of Agricultural Economics is even more important and training can be very motivating. 

As well as his own research, he has been involved in other research, for example on agricultural employment. He has helped organise conferences and competitions, some of which include travel opportunities. Áron believes that these opportunities are definitely worth taking advantage of as a young person. 

“He sums up his thoughts: “All in all, I am doing what I love and I can talk to the future generation about what I am doing, which is my life.” 

Written by: Fruzsina Máriássy 

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GEN.:2024.04.19. - 15:06:42