Mercy College Alumnus Phillip Grant, M.B.A. ’08 recently spoke to students, faculty and staff as part of the School of Business Executive Speaker Series. The event, which offers students the opportunity to learn business skills from some of the most prestigious leaders in their fields, was held at Mercy College’s Bronx Campus and livestreamed for those who could not attend in person.
School of Business Dean Lloyd Gibson introduced Grant saying, “I don’t know anybody who embodies the spirit of Mercy College more than Phillip Grant. He exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism and giving back to the community through Mercy and his activities. He’s committed to using his position of leadership to address food insecurity in the Bronx. It is an honor to have him here.”
As the chief executive officer of the Hunts Point Produce Market, Grant leads a team of approximately 110 staff that support the day-to-day operations of the largest wholesale produce market in the nation. He graduated from Mercy College with an MBA in 2008. The Market is composed of nearly 30 different merchants and is essential to the food infrastructure serving the New York City region. The Market partners with local food rescue and food-service organizations to donate surplus produce. For the last two years, the Market has partnered with Mercy’s Mav Market Food and Resource Pantry to provide fresh produce to Mercy’s community. Mercy recognized Grant this year for his accomplishments at the Alumni of Distinction Awards.
“I’m grateful for the role that Mercy College played in my personal and professional growth. Today is an incredible opportunity to give back and inspire the next generation of Mercy College leaders. My education helped lay the foundation for me to take on my current leadership position. When I think about my professional career as a journey, without question, Mercy cleared a path and accelerated my success,” said Grant.
He talked about his career trajectory, from working as an engineer, his profession by trade, and how he came to Mercy College, which he chose because it provided him with the flexibility to grow and advance while working a full-time job.
“My MBA training gave me a better understanding of business and taught me how to manage people. My training stayed true to the Mercy College mission of transforming lives through education. I’m a professional engineer by trade and I spent the last decade building out the city’s infrastructure. Now I spend my days building out a critical piece of the city’s food infrastructure.”
Grant also offered tips to students looking to go the executive route or trying to climb the corporate ladder: hard work, empathy and first impressions. “You have to put in work every day, put yourself in other people’s shoes and do your best with first impressions because first impressions count.”
The top three qualities to run a business, according to Grant, are passion, persistence and hard work. “In all the roles I’ve had, I have made it a point to put my best work forward. Push past those no’s and obstacles and use them to move forward, to meet your goals. Figure out your strengths and build on those strengths.”
He concluded by saying, “Each of you has to be the pilot of your own journey. At Mercy you will gain the knowledge and opportunities to land anywhere.”