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Matt Carton
I found it interesting to be on the other side of the fence and be a part of the development team and trying to understand what it takes to make a GMO possible.

Profile: Matt Carton

Undergraduate Student

Internships are becoming an increasingly important part of career preparation for college students looking for an edge in the job market. In addition, international study experiences are highly recommended for students. Recent University of Illinois graduate Matt Carton of Atkinson experienced both when he interned with BASF.

Carton, an agricultural and consumer economics student, served as a Value Chain Management Intern with BASF Plant Sciences GmbH in Limburgerhof, Germany. 

He learned about the internship through his participation in the International Business Immersion Program (IBIP) during the summer following his sophomore year. The program consisted of a two-week long field trip in Europe and a tour of businesses, including BASF, in five different countries.

“They wanted an intern from our class to work for them during the next spring semester,” Carton said. “I applied and was fortunate enough to be selected.”

Carton’s internship lasted four months. He was a member of a team that developed business strategies for various genetically modified crops.

His main project was to develop a cost-of-production model for a specified crop in different growing regions. Carton also screened available market data needed to construct his business model and to coincide with his expected tasks. In addition, he learned the dynamics and potential of a particular market sector, aquaculture, and how to contribute to the development of a business model. 

Much of his work centered on canola. Carton analyzed a potential market for EPA/DHA canola oil in aquaculture. He investigated various feed companies to see if there was a fit for BASF canola oil. He determined the total costs to produce and deliver canola in four regions in the United States and two in Canada. He also calculated potential revenue, profit and net present values for BASF.

Carton’s internship taught him how to develop, embellish, and grow business strategies. It provided him with a better understanding of the trait development process. Living and working in a different culture gave him more acceptance for different cultures and lifestyles.

Carton said the best part of his internship was experiencing a new culture in an atmosphere that was very different from home.

“Coming from an agricultural background, I was used to the farmer perspective on genetically modified organisms,” he said. “I found it interesting to be on the other side of the fence and be a part of the development team and trying to understand what it takes to make a GMO possible.”

Perhaps the most challenging part of Carton’s internship proved to be the best part.