A Tommie, Brian Juntti ’12 MBA, is advancing communications at the Minnesota Historical Society and credits his St. Thomas MBA from Opus College of Business as a factor in his career success.
Juntti joined the Minnesota Historical Society in November as its chief communications and marketing officer after a 17-year tenure at Habitat for Humanity. Now a father to two daughters, he pursued his MBA at night while doing marketing, communications and event work at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and balancing his family life at home.
The Newsroom connected with Juntti to learn the value of an MBA and why he chose St. Thomas.
Why did you pursue an MBA?
I was working at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity at the time I made that decision. I was on a management track and wanted to understand more on how I could better leverage my career options. Immediately after my undergraduate degree, I went into video production work. I really thought of myself as a storyteller. I was working in the commercial market and starting to understand how I could apply that to a business situation.
I ended up finding myself at Habitat for Humanity. To me, as I was building my department there, my background around the practice of theater arts and practice of production translated to being a good project manager.
How did you decide on St. Thomas? The Twin Cities offers many MBA choices.
There are more choices now than when I was looking. I took my first course in 2007. St. Thomas and University of Minnesota were the bigger school options at the time. There were smaller programs. Hamline didn't have its program yet.
I tried to decide between the MBA and the communication studies program at St Thomas. The fact that the evening MBA program at St. Thomas, compared to the University of Minnesota, was a lot friendlier to the nontraditional full-time MBA student, helped. We had a kid pretty quickly after I started. It was helpful to be able to balance work, school and family life.
How does the MBA in entrepreneurship and marketing improve your talents, and support your ambitions?
I think one of the things I value most about the MBA is the approach to thinking and understanding problems that a business might be facing. I thrive most in the program trying to understand business solutions, and the ways to approach a problem.
You got your MBA 10 years ago. So 10 years later, you're at the Minnesota Historical Society. What role has the University of St. Thomas played in your successes?
I think that St. Thomas and my MBA have helped me to be a more well-rounded manager and leader in terms of my strategic thinking of business problems. [The program] gave me toolboxes I can use in different settings. Because through the program you experience more diverse fields within business and start to understand their interrelationships.
People could be very surprised that an MBA could make you well rounded.
Businesses are groups of people working on a common problem. It's about getting a group of people working together. So much of it is about human behavior. Obviously, math and science play a role in business as well. Some people maybe wouldn’t see it that way at first blush.
What surprise gifts did the MBA give you?
In 2015, I actually left Habitat briefly to try to start a venture of my own. It was a marketing agency. It ultimately ended up not working out. Had it not been for the MBA program I don't know that I would've necessarily had the confidence to try it.
It sounds as though the MBA gave you the confidence, the subject competence and chutzpah to decide, “Why don’t I do that?”
It's actually what I'm deploying here at the Minnesota Historical Society – an internal marketing agency model.
How has your MBA played a part in any community service work you do?
I think my MBA has made me more sought after as an adviser. To be honest, a lot of the advising I do isn't on my resume. People will reach out to me for my thoughts on a particular topic [and] if I can lend them an hour or two here and there just to advise.