Finding yourself at Guelph: Brianna Giger's journey to becoming a leader in agri-business | Ontario Agricultural College

Finding yourself at Guelph: Brianna Giger's journey to becoming a leader in agri-business

Posted on Thursday, November 30th, 2023

Brianna Giger standing outside near a wooden fence

Brianna Giger (BComm, majoring in Food and Agricultural Business ’22)
Agricultural Relationship Manager, RBC
Hometown: Mono, Ontario
Passionate about: Family, community and volleyball!

Navigating the intersection of finance and agriculture, Brianna Giger shares insights into her unique career journey at RBC. After transferring from another university where she majored in general business, Brianna discovered her passion for agriculture at the University of Guelph's Food and Agricultural Business program (BComm). In her role at RBC, she is combining her love for the agricultural industry with financial expertise at RBC. Brianna's story highlights the diverse career paths that students can develop through OAC's business major.

What do you do in your role at RBC?

At RBC, I provide value-add financial advice and solutions that are tailored for each of my primary producer and agri-business clients through all stages of farming, whether they are just starting out or passing the farm to the next generation. Ultimately, I manage my client’s relationship with the bank and ensure they receive the right expertise and the best client experience possible.

I work with a team of individuals to provide a holistic client experience, with experts in cash management, investments, business ownership planning, etc., however my area of expertise is in credit underwriting and lending. Each day is something different. I am required to think critically and quickly to come to a conclusion based on the information available and the industry specific knowledge that I have to mitigate risks and help set my clients up for success not only for today but more importantly for tomorrow. 

My average weeks consists of financial analysis to support the underwriting of credit requests, hosting client meetings in office or on the farm, attending team meetings, participating in community events, and advocating for my clients to our adjudication team through the credit negotiation process.

Why did you choose the University of Guelph and the Ontario Agricultural College for your undergraduate degree?

I actually started my undergraduate degree at McMaster University where I was in a general BComm program with an undeclared major. I learned very quickly at McMaster I wasn’t headed in the direction that I wanted to be post-graduation so I started to explore other options. I was actually considering going into the trades after my 1st year when I came across the Food and Agricultural Business program at U of Guelph.

Growing up in a rural community, my neighbours and many friend’s families were farmers. I had developed such a love and appreciation for them that the option to continue my business degree while specializing in an industry so near to my heart was appealing. The employment opportunities were also so vast which really left the door open for me to explore and determine exactly what I wanted to do.

What I really love as an alumnus is working alongside my classmates in our various roles across the sector. Industry events are almost always an informal "aggie" reunion!

students in a classroom listening to a professor teach while tv's above the room present information

How did U of G and the Ontario Agricultural College help you in your career launch?

I didn't grow up on a farm, so I didn’t have the same exposure to the agricultural industry as some of my classmates. The University offered an immersive experience combining business knowledge with a practical agricultural education. The program is structured to teach the management principles and theories early on in the program, while building a strong foundation for more hands-on, practical application in the later years. Critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, and leadership are just a few of the skills that I feel were sharpened with the help of my professors.

What are some of your favourite courses?

The Financial Management course (MGMT 3320) allowed for applied, practical financial analysis using foundational accounting knowledge which I believe gave me a leg up when I started with the bank. I had already been handed financial statements and been asked to tell the story from the numbers – which is part of what I now do everyday. 

Advanced Agribusiness Management (FARE 4220) with Mike von Massow was when it really all came together. Mike always brought real and current challenges from the agri-food industry for us to research, debate, and analyze in real time for farmers and employers. 

Futures and Options (FARE 4240) and Personal Financial Management (MCS 2100) are also both classes that I also regularly draw knowledge from.

What made you interested in pursuing a career in this field?

I always had a passion for financial management and I truly loved the agricultural industry and its people. In my first year, I attended an information session focusing on agricultural lending, hosted by RBC. I was intrigued. Growing up outside of the industry I didn’t even know that you could specialize in farm financing! I was drawn to the fact that I could work with financials and still get to be on the farm everyday which really was the best of both worlds.


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