Hello all. So I have always been interested in equine supplements. Be they join, muscle, electrolytes, etc. I would like to pursue a career in either equine nutrition (and work to formulate feeds) or equine supplementation (and work to research/create new supplements). However, I have no idea how one gets into a career like that.
Do you need a DVM to get into a research career like that? Can you do it with a Masters/Ph.D in equine nutrition? Where are the programs for this?
I have contacted a couple of the companies that I would consider working for and all have given me an answer to the extent of "our specialists come from varied backgrounds". Help!
A supplement manufacturer might hire you as a sales rep, but you would be hard pressed to find one that hires researchers. VERY few neutraceutical companies actually have R&D divisions because quite frankly, it's easy to sell their products without any data at all.
If you are interested in equine nutrition, look into MS/PhD graduate programs. They have been discussed at length here before, try a search
"The plural of anecdote is not fact...except in the horse industry"
It depends on what you want to do. I have been selling feed for the past 12 years. I was a business major who always had horses and had worked in sales and backed into the nutrition field totally by accident. To me, science was a four letter word and I had no idea I could do so well selling feed. I am passionate about what I do and I can relate to my customers well as I have my own animals, so that works for me. I make sure I attend as many industry events as possible as well as keeping up my business and sales skills. I do sell for species other than horses, which is typical for the industry.
The major companies (I have worked for 2 of the top 10 in the world) will educate you about ways to sell their products and what their beliefs about their products are.
My husband is the director of technical services for a supplement company. He has a bachelors, masters, and PhD, all in animal science. He does formulation and provides support to his company's sales people as well as working directly with customers. He also has accounts that he sells to as well as his other duties. His job is very mixed and he enjoys that variety and challenges each side provides.
An animal science degree is helpful but not essential. An agri-business degree is not a bad thing either. Many people do not understand how the commodities markets effect the feed and supplement industry and pricing. A background in marketing does not hurt and having an understand of business and retail works to your advantage.
Sales is sales is sales. My brother sells large equipment and is a great salesperson. He knows nothing about feed or supplements but could sell either just because he can sell and relates well to people. To me, sales is about relationships and building trust more than anything else. What was mentioned above is correct- most supplement companies do not have researchers, but the pharmacuetical companies and universities do!
Last edited by cutter99; Aug. 23, 2011 at 10:12 PM.
Reason: Added more info
If you're going to be a researcher or a feed/supplement formulator, it'd be a good idea to have at least a Master's degree in something related (animal science/ ag bus/etc). Before I came home to go farming full time I spent sixteen years in the feed industry in Canada and here in the US, in sales and formulating rations for dairy, beef, and equine. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Animal Science in 1994.