A License to Sell
Hanson Brudevold’s goal of becoming a grain buyer has come to fruition, thanks in part to a course at the University of Idaho. Brudevold will graduate in May 2021 with a degree in agricultural economics: agribusiness emphasis and a certificate in agricultural commodity risk management.
He credits an independent study course at U of I for helping him land a position as grain originator for Northwest Grain Growers.
“First job out of college, I’m going to be doing what I love to do,” Brudevold said.
Brudevold took an independent study course with Andres Trujillo-Barrera, an assistant professor in U of I’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, focused on preparing Brudevold for the National Futures Association (NFA) Series 3 exam.
The NFA Series 3 license is required for financial professionals who wish to sell commodity futures and options. The exam is typically taken after receiving a degree and within the first 60 days of employment. An employee spends that time studying for the exam and learning from seasoned brokers.
Brudevold passed the exam in January 2021, providing him with credentials before graduation — credentials that his competition didn’t have. He was offered the position with Northwest Grain Growers shortly after.
“I believe I got the job because of the license,” Brudevold said. “I was competing against a lot of people with more work experience, but I brought in credentials that they did not have.
“It is very unique that I have received this as a student because, for the most part how it ends up working at other universities is you learn all the material but you never get to put it to use. It’s essentially giving you a leg up on the competition coming out of college because you’ve already passed the exam and have the license.”
For Brudevold, the hardest part of the exam was learning about different regulations.
“In every class, everyone learns futures and options and how to calculate a basis,” Brudevold said. “Going through the regulations was the hardest part for me because it’s not really hands-on math based. Regulations is not usually something that’s taught in a classroom setting.”
Even though Brudevold has accepted a job offer, he is still receiving calls to interview for positions. Years of uncertainty in the market has resulted in a demand for graduates with experience in agricultural commodity risk management.
“That certificate is, in my opinion, like gold,” Brudevold said. “The number of places and doors that it will open for you is remarkable.”
Originally from New Plymouth, Brudevold came to U of I as an animal and veterinary science student with the intention of becoming a cattle or grain buyer. After taking an agricultural economics course from Norm Ruhoff, director of the Agricultural Commodity Risk Management program, Brudevold knew he needed to make a switch to achieve his goals. The hands-on aspects of the certificate program allowed him to apply what he was learning in the classroom.
“U of I has prepared me for my future career in an immense amount of ways,” Brudevold said. “We actually have hands-on experiences. We’re not just taking notes and not seeing it in use. And that’s, in my opinion, the biggest thing we have. We’ll teach you how to do it and then we’ll walk you through it.”
Article and photos by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Published in February 2021