Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Sean Thomas Lundy, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Sean Thomas Lundy

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

“I am an introvert who has learned to embrace an extrovert lifestyle to accomplish my goals.”

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak French and have never seen Pulp Fiction.

Undergraduate School and Major: I graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Global Resource Systems and a B.S. in Nutrition.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: I am currently an Officer Candidate with the Minnesota Army National Guard. Before that, I worked as a recruitment specialist for the American Red Cross.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? There are three reasons I chose Carlson over other programs, all based on the Venture Enterprise (CVE) academic route offered to MBA students. First, CVE provides a solid basis for understanding the fundamentals of building successful businesses. Through an analysis of the business model, founders, traction (revenue, customers, growth), competitors, product stickiness, valuation, and interactions with customers and suppliers, I am receiving keen insight into how startups are born from ideation to raising capital to becoming profitable.  These are all key factors in understanding and building a successful business – knowing what to look for and knowing what to avoid.

Second, CVE allows me to think as the futurist I am. Venture Capital seeks to understand trends and consumer behavior before they become mainstream, thus getting ahead of ideas and businesses that are only making incremental improvements on what already exists. I believe in big ideas, and CVE is pushing me to identify and invest in game-changing ideas that will create an outsized return on the initial investment. CVE is empowering me to match a given business strategy with my own personal investment philosophy.

And third, CVE demands intellectual curiosity and social entrepreneurship. Venture Capital places me at the center of the founding ecosystem – investing in startups. What better way to understand the skillsets, drive, and motivations of a founder? CVE puts me in a position to ask hard questions, learn from dynamic individuals, and surrounds me with the best and brightest who are passionate about improving the world around them. I thrive off the social connection and use this as a comparative advantage in the business world.

At Carlson, you are part of one of the most dynamic business environments in the country. What has made the Twin Cities such a great place to live and learn for you? I was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, but left for 10 years after graduating from high school thinking I would never come back. I felt I had outgrown the Midwest and wanted to see the world. During all my travels, I kept running into Minnesotans, and they were consistently the most inviting, curious, and kind people around. When it came time to apply to graduate school, I felt myself pulled in the direction of Carlson. It was not just because of the top-notch education, but also the need to be amongst Minnesotans again.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I would describe my MBA classmates as extremely hard-working, intelligent, and passionate. I am very proud to be included in this Carlson class of 2022 – each one of my classmates brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to the table and sees their MBA degree as a vehicle to inflict positive change in the world around them. It is very exciting.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have three accomplishments I am proud of so far in my career. First, as an intern at the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, I helped write Public Law 480 of the 2013 Farm Bill. When the legislation finally passed, I knew that I helped change how international food aid is dispersed around the world. Second, I am proud of the fact that I decided to extend my Peace Corps service for a total of 3 years in the field. This allowed me to finish the work I had started and solidify long-term impacts. And lastly, I graduated from Basic Combat Training and am now headed to Officer Candidate School with the U.S. Army. I am proud to serve my country again in another capacity.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far was my selection as a Sands Social Venture Fellow at the Carlson School of Management. The fellowship aims to provide students with the opportunity to create a transformative social venture that contributes to the local community. Grants are awarded to students who propose new ventures that provide tangible benefits to the local community in the form of community and neighborhood economic development, housing, health, and reducing poverty. Together with a classmate, I am partnering with local NGOs to develop work opportunities for homeless teenagers in the Twin Cities.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My rationale for applying to Carlson business school is layered. I first received encouragement to apply in April 2016 from a USAID Administrator at a Peace Corps training camp in Senegal, West Africa. He felt strongly that the international development field lacks strong managers who can balance people, timelines, and budgets. He told me that the biggest difference I can make is in successfully bringing a project across the finish line in a timely manner. My experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer reinforced this line of thinking – poor project management and fiduciary oversight were consistently my biggest barriers to success.

After Peace Corps, my work as the Special Assistant to the President of the World Cocoa Foundation gave me a front-row seat to the power of superior business leadership to push strategic business objectives. My office was deftly navigated rocky staffing situations and competing priorities in order to push fundamental change in the global cocoa sector. I came to appreciate the power of vision in bringing an organization to the precipice of success. As I returned to Minnesota, applying to Carlson business school became my top priority.

I am also serving as a Commissioned Officer Candidate in the Minnesota National Guard. The leadership training I am receiving pairs extremely well with the MBA curriculum and is setting me up for success in the private sector. Through Officer Candidate School, Infantry Leadership training, and as a student at the Carlson School of Management, I will excel as a leader and use my skills to inflict positive change on the world around me. Before me is an opportunity to build on past successes, and lessons I learned in good governance, project management, and leadership.


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