Hamline News

Critical Thinking, Confidence, Credibility: Jim Juaire ’20 on Takeaways from Hamline’s MBA

Photo of Jim Juaire '20

Jim Juaire ’20 thought he’d graduate from his MBA having all the answers. Now, he’s instead gained another skill: the ability to ask better questions.

Already, it’s an ability that has caught the attention of Juaire’s boss and coworkers.

Juaire, who works in human resources, took on the challenge of analyzing employee turnover at his company. The surface level answer was about pay, but Juaire’s new skill set told him the numbers might not have the full story. Instead of asking, “Why are they leaving?” Juaire instead asked, “How can we make them stay?” This led to identifying opportunities for increased leadership opportunities or engagement.

“My boss said he noticed that I’m approaching problems differently and asking better questions to really solve that root cause problem,” said Juaire, who also has a BBA with a focus in human resources.

Along with these critical thinking skills, Juaire identified other benefits that round out what he calls the “3 C’s” of the MBA: confidence and credibility.

“My confidence has increased, and my credibility has increased,” said Juaire. “It just shows that you’re a lifelong learner, and you’re looking to learn and continually grow your career.”

Juaire also noted that he’s become a stronger presenter and communicator throughout the program. Along with elective classes in marketing and leadership, he’s also gained new skills in finance and analytics that he now uses to build stronger solutions in his human resources work.

Outside his work, Juaire also noticed how his thinking has shifted, seeing ways these skills apply to current events like COVID-19 and widespread protests. It’s a time when leadership is more important than ever, both to manage situations and instill confidence, and it’s helped Juaire see how these skills have implications both for individual businesses and the larger community.

“Two years ago, I would’ve been looking for the answers, but it’s not about the answers,” said Juaire. “It’s about the process and how we’re going to get through it.”

Why did you choose Hamline?
“I came to Hamline for an open house, and everyone just made me feel welcomed. I was surrounded by other business professionals who were working. Everyone in the classroom can tie it back to real-world business experiences.”

How else have you applied your new skills?
“[For our capstone], we’re partnering with 3M. They’re saying, 'What should we do with this? What direction should we take it?' ...You’re taking everything you’ve learned over the past two years and trying to determine the best way. It’s a cool way to cap off your program.”

What will you carry with you after graduation?
“The business network that you can leverage into the future is tremendous. You might think you’re smart when you go into an MBA program, but everyone there is smart. Steel sharpens steel. You’re constantly challenged, which makes you a better leader, a better business professional.”