Years of experience in the cement industry told Phillip Teintze he needed a solid business foundation to continue building his career. That infrastructure is blue and orange.
Teintze graduated with a Master of Business Administration with a 4.0 GPA from the Boise State online program in 2017. A production manager for Ash Grove Cement Company, he lives in Fruitland, Idaho, and works in Durkee, Oregon.
"Because I already had a master's degree, I didn't need the MBA to get further along in the company," he said. "As I got more experience and started moving into leadership positions, I realized I needed a better foundation in business to know budgets and finance. I wanted to be ready to step into those roles. Otherwise, it would take me a long time to get to the same point."
Teintze landed his first leadership role as a production superintendent in 2011, prompting his return to higher education. He initially set his sights on becoming a plant manager, but his second master's degree changed his aspirations.
"The MBA is more for the future -- two or three steps down the road," Teintze said. "I want to go as far as I can go, whether that's vice president, president, CEO. We'll see. I don't know how far my talents will take me."
Though Teintze has lived and worked in several states throughout his career with Ash Grove, he's now back with the original plant where he started his career in 2006. He has worked for the company for nine of the last 12 years.
"Our company has eight plants across the U.S.," he said. "We were just acquired by a bigger company, so we'll have plants in Brazil, Canada and Europe. I haven't lived anywhere longer than three years, but Boise is one of my favorite places."
Cementing the Future
Teintze earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and bachelor's and master's degrees in metallurgical and materials engineering from Montana Tech of the University of Montana.
"There were a lot of different industries that I could work in with my degrees," he said. "I picked the company that I liked based on the fit and the feel. I felt like Ash Grove was a good company that would take care of me, although I really didn't know anything about making cement. Once I got into it, I really liked it. It built from there."
One of the primary reasons Teintze chose Boise State was because the MBA program is 100 percent online. Because his company directly contributed to his education through tuition reimbursement, Teintze didn't want school to detract from his job performance. Going online allowed him to keep up with work while still completing the degree. He also liked the university's reputation and proximity.
"When I compared all of the choices, I said, 'Boise State is local. If I ever need anything, I can just go there. It's just 45 minutes down the road,'" he said. "That was appealing."
The blueprint worked like a charm. With work taking four days per week, Teintze concentrated heavily on schoolwork each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"I had to give up some of my time at home, but the goal all along was to have zero interruptions at work so school would be invisible at my job," he said. "It's also a way to pay it back by not taking time from work, as well as taking funds from them. I really liked the online degree. I would encourage people to do it. I liked the flexibility of not having to go anywhere to get classwork done. It was all on my own schedule. It was great."
Down to Business
The online MBA curriculum was a solid mixture of courses that applied to Teintze's job and courses that he simply enjoyed.
"It's hard to pick a favorite," he said. "Marketing Strategy [BUSMBA 505] , for example, was really fun. Am I going to use any of those skills? Probably not, but it was a blast. The most useful course was Corporate Finance [BUSMBA 515]. It was hard, but I use that stuff all of the time. I see it every week, so that was really great."
The first four-credit course in the program, BUSMBA 501: Design Thinking and Strategy, was a great way for Teintze to ease into the online MBA.
"The first course in the program changed my mindset," he said. "It was all about, 'This is how business works.' It talked about the concepts of Blue Ocean [Strategy] and disruptions. That was new to me. It was interesting and different. My background is engineering, so I really enjoyed that one."
Teintze researched Ash Grove's competition for the capstone course, BUSMBA 555: Business Plan Development, but he saw how each course built the big picture of business.
"Overall, there were a lot of background things that helped bolster me so I understood things better," he said. "Some of the classes, I could immediately take to work. Others were building the overall understanding."
Teintze grew up in a German family that heavily emphasized education. His father, Dr. Martin Teintze, is a chemistry professor at Montana State University. His mother, Carol, was the first woman in her family to earn a college degree. She has a bachelor's in biology and a master's in science education.
"I grew up in Bozeman, Montana, but I went to school in Butte, Montana, which is about an hour down the road to Montana Tech, because I didn't want to take any classes from my dad," Teintze joked. "I got great scholarships from Montana Tech and was able to graduate with zero debt. My family supported me and was very happy I was earning an MBA."
Others in his circle weren't so sure.
"A lot of them looked at me and said, 'Why are you going back to school? You've got three degrees. You don't need this.' Including my wife, Breanna, but she supported me once I got started. My coworkers were excited for me because they understood what I was trying to do. It was mixed. Overall, everybody was happy for me," Teintze said.
Teintze believes the hard work invested in the online MBA program is well worth the end result for anybody in business.
"There's no one there walking you through the book, so you have to read it yourself and figure it out," he said. "I found the online program took more time and more effort than I was used to in college, even for an overachiever like me."
Still, Teintze, who will soon be taking his first trip to Germany in 17 years to visit family, feels the online MBA enabled more career opportunities and equipped him for any leadership positions in his future.
"By taking the coursework, I am really more prepared to step into those roles," he said. "We have a lot of people retiring. By taking the MBA classes, I am more prepared to do that sooner rather than later. It absolutely helped."
Learn more about Boise State University's online MBA program.
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