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Dafna Hopkins

Dafna Hopkins Senior Vice President, Information Systems
Rabo AgriFinance
B.S.B.A. with an emphasis in MIS, 1982
M.S. in MIS, 1982

Dafna Hopkins is a Senior Vice President of Information Systems at Rabo Agrifinance, a financial services company specializing in Agricultural Lending. Ms Hopkins has primary responsibility for Information Systems, automation and technology. She has over 20 years of industry experience in solution design & development, project management, strategic planning, IS general controls, and infrastructure management. Prior to joining Rabo Agrifinance in 1988, Ms. Hopkins held a position with Monsanto Agricultural Products Company.

Ms. Hopkins earned a Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, Missouri. She has taught at the University of Missouri and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. And is a past member of the St. Louis chapter of the Data Processing Management Association.

We sat down with Dafna and asked her some questions.
  • Why did you decide to come to UMSL?
           The main attraction of UMSL was the excellent program in Business Administration, especially the specialities of MIS and Accounting at that time.
  • Why did you pursue a career in information systems?
           Overall interest in how information systems can differentiate a company from other companies in their field. The ability to leverage a company in ways other than the direct line of business the company is involved with. Specifically, the company''s ability to differentiate itself via the use of nimble, flexible, and intelligent information systems.
  • What college classes did you find most useful to your career?
           The technical classes, in System Analysis and Development, provided the initial "foot in the door". The management classes (finance, legal, and general management) are the ones that provided me with the foundation for advancing within the Information Services field.
  • If you were in college today, what courses would you take?
           I would focus on technical courses as well as business courses in all areas; concentrating on a solid and comprehensive foundation to operate within the business world.
  • How did you continue your education after your first degree?
           Initially I took many technical courses, covering specific technical areas the company was involved in at that time. Later I concentrated on courses that focused on people and financial management; the true enablers of business value. Business literature continues to provide another source of useful insights into the changing world of business.
  • How did you find your first job?
           I was fortunate to graduate at a time when personnel with Business and MIS focus was in high demand. I was therefore fortunate to choose a position in a large corporation that exposed me to variety of technologies, information system applications, and management styles.
  • In what non-academic activities did you participate in college that you would recommend to others (and why)?
           I worked extensively and participated in the Arts. I would recommend that personnel extend themselves in multiple areas, to demonstrate ability to focus, handle multiple priorities, and succeed in variety of areas beside academics.
  • How would you change your career if you had it to do all over again?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting in the field?
           Focus on building superb communication and inter-personal skills. No matter where your career takes you, these areas will determine how effective you can be.
  • Look into your crystal ball. What do you see changing in the IS field in the future?
           What do you see changing in the IS field in the future? I would anticipate further alignment with business objectives, and the use of Information Systems to augment business value. This may be driven by consumer-focused services (such as web site enablers) or management-focused services (such as enhanced business intelligence).
  • If you would like to ask Dafna a question, you can email her at dafna.hopkins at

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