Speaker Urges Students to Unite Faith with Business Pursuits

This has been an especially busy week for Dr. Bruce Grant, whose management consulting business has been integral in the tentative buyout of smartphone company BlackBerry.

But the chemical-engineer-turned-business-consultant took time from his work assisting with mergers, acquisitions, restructuring and corporate rescue to speak to Palm Beach Atlantic University students on Monday about a topic of great importance to him: Redirecting the mission of business for the mission of God.

Applied Value Group President Bruce Grant speaks with Palm Beach Atlantic University pharmacy students Samantha Schmidt (center) and Andrea Carter following the President's Lyceum in the Rinker Board Room. Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) is a private, Christ-centered college in West Palm Beach, Fla., USA.
Applied Value Group President Bruce Grant speaks with Palm Beach Atlantic University pharmacy students Andrea Carter (left) and Samantha Schmidt (center) following the President's Lyceum in the Rinker Board Room.

“The calling for many of you, whatever background you have, can and should be the tough world of business,” said Dr. Grant, who serves as president and chief shareholder of Applied Value Group, a company that combines lean growth consulting, entrepreneurship and social responsibility.

“We as Christians have to shine in a world that’s pretty dark, and the business world is mainly dark,” Dr. Grant said.

Dr. Grant spoke to a group of honors students as part of the President’s Lyceum. Accompanying him was Oheneba “Nana” Otchere, a prominent businessman and member of the royal family of the African country of Ghana.

In addition to working with such high-profile companies as Barclays, DaimlerChrysler, Motorola, Qualcom and Sony Ericson, Dr. Grant has for many years served as a member of the board of World Vision.

The Jupiter resident holds a doctorate in industrial management from the Chalmers School of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Dr. Grant also did some teaching before becoming a consultant.

He told students that he experienced a series of ups and downs both in business and in his spiritual life.

“Business life can suck a lot of your Christian values and Christian life out of you if you don’t stay close to God,” he said.

He also spoke about losing all of his wealth twice, including during the recent financial meltdown. “Don’t be in despair when God puts you through lightning, basically, because it will grow you stronger if you rely on Him,” he said.

He noted that the businesses that God’s people operate must support God’s mission. Businesses that follow ethical management practices are sustainable and profitable, he said, adding that businesses provide the strongest foundation for the elimination of severe poverty throughout the world.

Dr. Grant told the audience that he believes PBA and its students have the ability to reach the business elite with the Gospel. Among his suggestions were including more business and social ethics in the curriculum, encouraging internships geared toward economic development in the developing world and inner-city areas, and creating a graduate program in sustainable business in which economics, business, philosophy, theology and sociology are integrated.

He also offered several suggestions for the students themselves, such as learning how implementing ethical principles and best practices within economic development and management can transform communities, cities and nations; supporting a Christian non-governmental organization like World Vision and doing an internship or working there after graduation; and praying and giving to a social economic justice ministry of their choice.

“You don’t have to have a lot of money to give,” he said. “Even if you’re a poor student, you still should give.”

The President’s Lyceum is a speaker series in which visitors who have distinguished themselves in various professions come to present their insights and experiences in a discussion with PBA students. Earlier this month, students heard from Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Previous speakers have included Kenneth Langone, a financial backer and cofounder of Home Depot; former presidential adviser David Gergen; former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux; former human resources executive Bill Conaty; Cleveland Clinic Florida CEO Dr. Bernie Fernandez; and former high-level Defense Department staffer Philip Odeen.