Michael Bruny MBA’18—aka Mike Ambassador Bruny—is a renaissance man, someone with much knowledge and experience and many talents. Bruny has a diverse background that includes work in athletics, coaching and training, digital media, and technology, but that only scratches the surface. He has written a book, served as a professional speaker, created presentations, became a certified life coach, involved in leadership development, designed bow ties and websites, raised money for charities, created a podcast, and so much more.
Now an employer brand strategist and learning & development strategist at Babson College, Bruny earned his bachelor’s degree from Hartwick College, where he was a two-sport athlete in football and track & field, an actor, peer counselor, and more, before earning two master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Babson.
You went from digital content manager in executive education to your current role in Human Resources. How was that transition, and how have your primary responsibilities changed?
“The transition was pretty seamless based on a number of transferable skills. Oh, man, regarding my primary responsibilities it is really different. I’m focused on strategy for things related to employer branding (basically focused on our brand as an employer and not as an educator). My first project was building out the HR Intranet (hr.babson.edu), and currently, I’ve been working on our onboarding programs and overall employee engagement with programs like our Babson Connections virtual-networking event.”
After spending one year on campus in HR before going remote, how have you adapted and how has your role changed?
“The adaptation was easy, as I was already working two days a week from home. I should say part of the transition was easy. Being a teacher to my 6-year-old son while trying to work was very stressful. Now, things have leveled out a bit with him going back to school. One cool thing that I’ve been working on with my manager from an adaptation standpoint is loosely adapting an agile workflow for my projects. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m grateful for a tool like Trello to help.”
As a co-chair with the Ebony Network employee resource group at Babson, how important is the continued focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion on a campus, and how has it taken on greater significance this year?
“It is really important more so for the folks who are part of the group, as those relationships that are built and the support helps with retention. This year, everything is just intensified with working remotely (which really can make people feel alone) and all of the racial injustice.”
“Babson means possibility to me. My wife got her MBA here, I got my MBA here and work here, and who knows maybe one day my son, Emerson, will go here.”
Michael Bruny MBA'18
You’ve had a wide array of experiences over the years and your website bio includes being a dynamic problem solver with experience in people management, employer branding, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing. How has working at Babson (and earning a master’s degree) aligned with your values and pushed you to think differently with your own company and as a consultant?
“Probably the biggest alignment between my values and Babson is my ‘possibility’ value and Babson’s being known for entrepreneurship. Working at Babson has allowed me to connect with many amazing people in and outside of my MBA. Before COVID-19, I could be found working from the Lewis Institute whenever I needed some good vibes. So, I’ve learned to go where the energy is while at Babson.
“I’ve definitely become more analytical and numbers focused—(Senior Lecturer) Peter Wilson would be proud—when it comes to the different aspects of what I take on. I can forecast and leverage projects to decide if I want to move forward. I have also been shaped by some of the work in the fashion industry at Babson. I was amazed at how much opportunity there is from a sustainability standpoint—shoutout to (Senior Lecturer) Caroline Daniels.”
Everyone associates you with your amazing bow ties. How did that passion start, and how have you turned that into a side hustle?
“I honestly started wearing bow ties back in 2010 because I wanted to learn something new. I did and it just stuck with me. I decided in 2010 to go to a conference and wear a different bow tie each day. People started knowing me for my bow ties at that point. From there, I partnered with someone I was introduced to.
“My bow ties have opened all kinds of doors for me, including being invited to interview Wyclef from the Fugees. One of my favorite things to do back in the day was to go to conferences and ask people with button-down shirts on if they would like to be a bow tie model for me. I would tie the bow tie on and take a picture of them for my website.”
Two More for Michael Bruny
What does Babson mean to you?
“A lot has changed, and all and all, Babson means possibility to me. My wife got her MBA here, I got my MBA here and work here, and who knows maybe one day my son, Emerson, will go here.”
Right now, what are you …
- Reading? “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I pretend it’s for my 6-year-old, but I probably enjoy it just as much as he does.’ Plus, How to be an Antiracist by Professor (Ibram X.) Kendi and Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done by my buddy Charlie Gilkey.”
- Watching? “ ‘Project Power,’ ‘Community’ (old show, but makes me smile when I’m down), ‘Whose Vote Counts, Explained’ on Netflix, and ‘The Great Hack’ on Netflix.”
- Listening to? “The Piano Guys (when I work), Akimbo podcast, Hello Seven podcast, Seeing White podcast, No More Reasonable Doubt podcast (my own … relistening).”
- Doing in your free time? “Hiking with my family. We just went to the Babson Boulders in Dogtown (Gloucester, Massachusetts). And, building out the coaching aspect of my No More Reasonable Doubt business, which is focused on helping mid-career Black professionals start passion projects to expand their impact and brand in the world.”
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