Ian Huntley

BC Regional President, BrandAlliance

The Executive MBA gave Ian Huntley the hard business knowledge he wanted, plus a great network of peers to tap into for advice guidance and friendship.

Huntley is the BC Regional President for BrandAlliance, which is a marketing firm that specialize in promotional products. Companies like Telus, Air Canada and Blackberry come to him to create custom products from pens to jackets.

When Huntley came to Beedie he was Vice President of Wilson International Products, second in command to the owner. He didn’t want to make a career shift, but he did want to add some depth to his knowledge.

“I’ve always worked in small business, so there isn’t a wealth of people around you that you’re learning from in terms of managing practices and strategy, so this provided the opportunity to work with others and gain some skills,” says Huntley.

Huntley found that he was able to immediately apply what he was learning to his work and look at the company from a fresh perspective.

“Without a doubt it allowed me to take a microscope to my company and see new opportunities, which helped steer the company into a new direction,” says Huntley. “It was a great opportunity to get some education in managing these businesses.”

What Huntley found most valuable was a connection to a peer network who still support one another in their career endeavours.

“Over the years there has been lots of little connections that I’ve made with the people I went to school with,” says Huntley. “Some have been clients, or I’ve been clients of some of them, some have been sounding boards, some have been friends and that’s the value you get out of working with other people.”

Striking out on his own, Huntley founded his own company and built it up until it merged with the five other companies that form BrandAlliance. Now the company is one of the largest promotional marketing firms in North America.

Years later, Huntley reflects on how the EMBA changed his career from selling t-shirts to building a large firm.

“I’m sure I was a different person after the two years I was in that program,” says Huntley. “You’re just more confident in your responses and your ability to solve a problem. You may be faced with something new, but you know you have the tools dive in and find solutions.”