Master of Business Communication
Meet Jane Austin
I never dreamed I’d find myself at a business school. I’m a life-long liberal arts-nonprofit junkie who stumbled across this program by accident. I found the MBC via a web search for graduate communications programs when I was living in California and preparing for a move back to the Twin Cities. The UST MBC was exactly what I was looking for – a hands-on program where I could gain great PR and marketing skills while also grounding this work in the broader context of how organizations function – both businesses and nonprofits.
I’ve done a wide variety of nonprofit communications and fundraising work over the past 20 years, ranging from print and electronic communications to public relations, donor relations, grant writing and public radio reporting, so the MBC was a natural next step for me. I started with the business communication certificate and took the courses I needed at that point in my career – PR practice, media relations, strategic writing and marketing communications. After seeing the tremendous benefit I was gaining through these studies, I decided to enroll in the master’s program to take advantage of broader strategy courses such as corporate communications management, economics, research and data analysis.
I knew little about St. Thomas before I discovered the MBC, even though I had previously lived in the Twin Cities. Through my application process I started paying closer attention and gained a new appreciation for the business school’s high visibility and great reputation. I often heard St. Thomas business experts on NPR, for example, and my L.A. brother-in-law spoke very highly of a national business conference he had attended here. I began to see the benefits of this strong reputation as a student and alumna. As a student, I came to value the school’s focus on practical application and ethical practice, the connections its faculty have with top Twin Cities organizations and its commitment to providing professional development resources for the local nonprofit and business communities.
The MBC has really transformed my work and my career. I’m a much stronger strategic thinker and writer, and more skilled in grounding communications in the larger, more complex picture of an organization’s external and internal context. I feel like I’m a player now. I’m much more confident in working with nonprofit senior staff and boards in creating and leading programs, providing communications and fundraising advice, and collaborating with colleagues and consultants.
There were some key aspects of the program that have proven invaluable. Hands-on practical courses such as marketing communications, media relations or corporate communications management provided skills I could use immediately on the job. Broader business-related courses such as economics, accounting, research or data analysis helped me better understand and ground my communications work in a more complex market context and stronger strategic thinking. Professors and teachers who bring years of real-life experience and connections to the classroom helped me push my professional edge. Some of them continue to be great resources for me. And MBC colleagues from a wide variety of businesses and organizations expanded my thinking about opportunities available for professional communicators, provided great new perspectives and offered ongoing support and connections.
As a UST MBC alumna, I’ve seen a clear benefit to my career. I’m getting interviews and offers that I wouldn’t be getting without this degree, and invitations such as nonprofit board leadership. I just landed a new job as marketing and communications manager at AchieveMpls, the strategic nonprofit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools, and find that my UST MBC training, connections and support from former classmates and professors continue to be an incredible resource. I know I can count on St. Thomas not only as a student, but as solid support for my work as a professional communicator for years to come.
|Graduated:||UST MBC ‘11|
|Position:||Marketing and Communications Manager|
|Undergraduate Degree:||St. Olaf, B.A., '82|