Smith advised students on how to succeed in his presentation Transitioning from Academics to Industry, which coincided with the International Poultry Expo, sponsored by the USPOULTRY Foundation.
“CEOs are not born with silver spoons in their mouths. I went to the University of Tennessee as a pre-vet major; however, that field was not for me. That’s okay. A lot of things I’ve learned in leading this company, I learned through my work career,” said Smith.
He advised students on how to deal with job interviews and encouraged them to “enjoy the process” and not to worry about “making mistakes along the way”.
Smith sent out an inspirational message to students by claiming: “Who we are is a lot more important than what we do. Integrity, innovation, interpersonal skills, resilience and servant leadership are some of the important things that are necessary to be a good leader and are integral to success in business.”
The Student Career Programme gives students a chance to interview for jobs and internships with different sectors in the worldwide industry.
Smith further stressed: “By the year 2050, the world’s population will increase by two to three billion. In the next 40 years, we will have to produce as much food as has been produced in the last 8,000 years with limited resources. Feeding the ever-growing world is a daunting task.
“Your generation is going to have to be the people that help grow twice as much food in that short amount of time. It is important to note the significant difference agriculture makes in the world and the difference that each of you can make in agriculture,” Smith added.
The annual Frank Perdue Scholarship Student of the Year Award was given to Ann Margaret Dietrich from North Carolina State University by Smith.
Additionally, Club of the Year went to Auburn University and Scrapbook of the Year was awarded to Penn State University.