Name: Matthew T. Thompson
Title: Sales Analyst, Agricultural Solutions
Company: FMC Corporation

YPN_FM_May2014

Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
A: I work for FMC Corporation in the Agricultural Solutions business segment as a Sales Analyst. As a Sales Analyst for the North American Crop business, my primary responsibilities include reviewing the agricultural marketplace and giving Macro-Level views of the future space. I follow closely commodity markets, along with currency exchanges. The commodity markets that I follow the closest are Corn, Soybeans, Cotton, and Wheat. This information is critical to our business to be successful. I offer advice on where the commodity markets are headed, and give insight to the risk our business unit has to when we have a downturn in the marketplace.

I grew up in Greenview Illinois, a very small town. I think 18 students easily qualifies for the smallest high school class award! I graduated from Illinois State University, with a major in Agricultural Industrial Management. During college I became a brother of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Without this incredible experience I would without a doubt not be in my position today. One of the most critical lessons I learned in the fraternity is how important it is to build your network early and often! Coming from a small town where you knew everyone’s family, the fraternity helped me adjust to a completely new environment. I think that experience has helped me adapt to the city life in Philadelphia so quickly.

I have a tremendous passion for agriculture, and wanted to make a difference after graduation. People don’t realize that less than two percent of the US population feeds the majority of the world. We must continue to innovate and introduce new technologies to the US Farmer in order to help feed the world. That’s the primary reason why I took a chance with FMC and moving to Philadelphia. FMC has those innovations in the pipeline, and without FMC, I honestly don’t think I would be able to feel the satisfaction like I do today.

Q: How has being involved in YPN benefited you thus far?
Being involved with YPN has been a fantastic experience. I have only lived in Philadelphia for ten months, and YPN has given me the opportunity to expand my network in the city. Moving from a town of 800 residents to a large city like Philadelphia was a slight culture shock! One of the most important things I have learned is the power of networking. You never know when a fellow YPN member might be sitting across from you in a business deal.

Q: What do you think are some of the benefits of living in Philadelphia for young professionals?
A: Philadelphia is the perfect size for a young professional. There are lots of activities throughout the city, and opportunities to volunteer and meet people. Everyone has a favorite story or experience that is different than yours. My favorite YPN activity was the event with the mayor. It was really exciting to hear his remarks about the future growth of the city.

Q: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
A: I love baseball – I’m a diehard St. Louis Cardinal fan. That’s probably been one of the most difficult things to adjust to after moving to Philadelphia It’s hard to root for the Cardinals while surrounded by Phillies fans! I do enjoy watching the Philadelphia Eagles however. Last year I attended an Eagles game and which was a lot of fun. I also enjoy spending as much of my free time outdoors as possible.

Q: YPN has a professional development bookshelf. Is there a book that you’re currently reading or have read in the past that you would recommend?
A: Yes, I would recommend David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcom Gladwell. Once I finished reading the book, it made me really look at situations completely differently. It taught me to never look at a challenging situation negatively. Gladwell highlights an example of an inexperienced and undersized girls basketball team in California. The coach decided to have the team full court press the entire game of every game of the season. His strategy forced turnovers resulting in points for his team. Determined to win every game of the season, the coach utilized smaller quicker players as an advantage against the larger slower players.

Q: Do you have a piece of advice you would give a young professional looking to transition into your line of work?
A: Absolutely! Always be willing to take on a new challenge. Be assertive, willing to meet new people and try new things. Sometimes it’s ok to be outside your comfort zone, you can use it to your benefit.