Nestor Adrianzen spreads coffee beans for drying in northern Peru.

Nestor Adrianzen spreads coffee beans for drying in northern Peru.

Few understand the work that goes into producing your morning cup of coffee better than Nestor Adrianzen.

The 31-year-old Clemson University MBA candidate grew up on the coffee-rich mountainsides of Peru where some of the finest organic coffee beans are grown. It’s his desire to someday use the knowledge and connections he’s gaining through the MBA program to help improve the livelihoods of his family and friends toiling as coffee farmers.

“I worked the fields since I was a child and know what a difficult life it is,” said Nestor who has seven siblings, most of whom work in the remote coffee fields of northern Peru. “I want my decision to pursue an education to benefit more than me. Growing coffee for a living is very difficult and there are ways farmers’ lives can be improved. I believe my education can contribute to a better quality of life for them.”

How does the Peruvian son of two coffee growers end up at Clemson?

“When I decided to study in the U.S., I wanted to be in a warmer climate, so my wife, Erin, and I started looking in the Southeast,” he said. “I actually first heard about Clemson through the football team’s appearance in the 2016 national championship game. As a result, I decided to look closer at the master’s program here.”

In his second semester of the master of business administration program, Nestor said one of the draws to Clemson was the program’s emphasis on networking. Building relationships he says will be vital to him improving the businesses and the health and future of many people close to him.

“My father is 77 and my mother, 74, and they can’t stop working because like most of the coffee farmers, they have no retirement plans,” Nestor said. “I see opportunities to help provide my people with retirement plans, and also health insurance, which is scarce in the rural areas. And for younger people, there’s a need for them to set up savings plans, so if they want to further their education, like me, someday they can.”

Nestor Adrianzen

Nestor Adrianzen

But before he can establish a business that would enhance those quality of life issues, and potentially, provide much-needed technology improvements in the field, Nestor is serving as a Peruvian organic coffee ambassador while studying in the U.S.

“I’ve set up a web site and blog to create more of an awareness of the quality of organic coffee that is grown in my region of Peru,” Nestor added. “Ultimately, I want to connect coffee shops, roasters and importers of coffee with the cooperative that more than 350 northern Peruvian farmers have established to ensure fair prices for their products.”

Nestor said the emphasis Clemson’s MBA program puts on networking has helped him build relationships with business people connected to the coffee industry, and beyond. He knows his goals for helping the farmers can’t be done without a web of support.

“The MBA program is opening doors for me to meet people who could someday be partners in what I hope to accomplish in Peru. I’ve talked to a number of people around the U.S. and hope to expand on that network,” he said.

He would like to add to his list of U.S. and global contacts this summer. Nestor has applied for a summer internship at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. as well as other organizations. He hopes these opportunities will also add to the broader knowledge the MBA program is providing him.

“I came here with a passion to give back to the people and region where I grew up,” he said. “The education I’m receiving at Clemson is opening my eyes to the potential I have to help the next generation of coffee farmers so they will have retirement nest eggs, better health, more savings and better working conditions.”

# # #