Blog •  04/04/2024

Life at Corteva with Jess Clark

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Across Corteva we are fortunate to have interns, like Jess Clark, providing a fresh perspective and learning what #LifeAtCorteva is like, working to support farmers and enrich lives.

Jess joined the Marketing Communications & CRM team in October 2023 for a six month internship. In this article we hear more about Jess’ experience working at Corteva UK & Ireland.

What can you tell us about yourself?

Although I have no background in agriculture, I feel most at home when clambering from field to field over the dry-stone walls of Yorkshire, my home county. I have spent a lot of my time in the Yorkshire Dales volunteering for environmental causes, from assisting research on peat bogs to collecting silt samples from the River Skell. I am passionate about environmental stewardship and how we can work with nature to ensure both food and environmental security. Therefore, it came as no surprise to my family that I ended up studying an MBiol degree in Biological Sciences at Durham University.

The pinnacle of my academic journey was my master’s thesis in which I created my own rhizobox - a method designed to measure root growth in situ. My research focused on investigating how a plant’s root interaction with microbial communities influences its ability to access soil nitrogen. My findings revealed that plants cultivated with non-species-specific microbes demonstrated a faster root growth response to soil nitrogen, enabling them to deploy a greater surface area of roots compared to plants grown with their native soil microbial community!

What inspired you to apply for the internship at Corteva?

If there's one thing us Yorkshire folk are renowned for, aside from our stunning national parks, it's our pride in local produce from Wensleydale cheese to Yorkshire Tea. And it was my fascination to learn more about the journey from farm to fork, combined with a curiosity on how we can future-proof the industry in light of growing environmental challenges, that led me to join the Management Development Services (MDS) graduate programme back in October. This scheme fosters learning and development through work placements with up to four different companies. For me, MDS provides an excellent platform for learning outside of your comfort zone from the best in the industry.

I am fortunate to have been allocated a role at Corteva as a CRM & Digital Assistant for two reasons: First, there is so much to learn from the agrochemical industry and lots of opportunity on the horizon. The expansion of Corteva’s biologicals range within the short six months I have been with Corteva has been exciting to watch and I have had many interesting conversations with colleagues about how we can enhance the sustainability of farming. Which brings me onto my second reason: Corteva’s people.

As soon as I stepped into Corteva’s head office in Cambridge I was warmly welcomed by everyone who works there. The team at Corteva are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about what they do and always have the time for a chat over a brew. I owe much of my development to their continued support and expertise.

What has a typical day at Corteva been like for you?

From day one you are trusted and empowered to fulfil a role with real responsibility and reward. In the morning I could be working with the marketing team to create content for our website, but by the afternoon I am presenting to our area managers and forage specialists, training them on our best practice for our CRM software. Naturally, this has meant that no two days at Corteva have been the same. As a result, I am always learning at Corteva, something I find incredibly fulfilling.

I have been encouraged during my time at Corteva to explore ventures beyond my role as CRM & Digital Assistant. Knowing my background in biology, my manager put me forward to help report on our UK trial data for one of our biological products, BlueN. I have also been fortunate to have the opportunity to attend our trials site in Wellesbourne where much of Corteva’s innovative product development occurs.

What have the highlights been of this role?

Since setting foot in the Corteva office, I have been taken aback by the ever-changing dynamics of an industry in which each seasons brings different challenges to adapt to. By nature of this dynamics, Corteva is a company filled with opportunity for learning and development. I have been fortunate enough to have had many opportunities at Corteva, from analysing and presenting our 2023 Farmer Survey to the UK and Ireland team to redesigning webpages for key product portfolios. But if I had to select one of my favourite days at Corteva, it was when I attended a product briefing with one of our Area Managers, Tom Rouse. Here, I was able to converse with some of our customers to learn more about their perspectives of the industry. In having these conversations, I was able to bring their perspectives into the customer relationships aspect of my role. 

Do you have any advice for people wanting to enter the agricultural sector?

As the phrase goes: Never work with children or animals, but both of which I have experience with. However, I have learnt that it is not just children and animals that require care due to their unpredictable nature; the growth of a plant from a seedling to harvest is dependent upon on the ever-changing seasons. The past six months have taught me how vulnerable farming is to the weather. But with great challenge comes great opportunity. If you are someone who enjoys innovating and want to feel proud in what you do, I can highly recommend the industry, and Corteva, to anyone wanting to join the sector, regardless of your experience. I for one am excited to see what is in store over the next 10 years for agriculture and I look forward to seeing Corteva rise to the challenge. 

If you are looking for an internship with a difference, Corteva is the right choice, providing valuable learning experiences. Find out more about our careers and internships at Corteva and join our talent network here.

Jess Clark

MDS Trainee and Corteva Intern - CRM & Digital Assistant

Connect with Jess on LinkedIn.

Find out more about careers and internships at Corteva here