By Olivia Catasús
"Tonight's lesson is how to build a business," said David Grutman to his 150-plus students during week four of The David Grutman Experience: The Class, hosted by the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
That might be a good enough lesson on its own, but students got a bonus when Grutman's business partner Pharrell Williams and heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua took the stage.
The surprise visit came just after Chris Cuomo, vice president of operations at Groot Hospitality, Grutman's hospitality company, offered insight on architecture, business design and signing a lease. Grutman provided details about the intricacies of his latest project, the Goodtime Hotel, when his special guests walked through the doors.
The Grammy-winning singer, music producer and partner in the creation of the Goodtime Hotel opened up to students about growing up in the housing projects of his hometown, Virginia Beach, and shared his perception of failure.
“We’re not who we think we are when we’re standing up," Williams said. "We are who we are when we start falling—the way you buckle, that’s just you with no kind of control. But you know what else is you? The way you get back up.”
Heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua spoke about how perseverance and loyalty can form a very successful person. While success is much sought after, Joshua urges students, “Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.”
Valerie Sanchez, a senior at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management with a focus in events, took Williams and Joshua’s inspirational remarks to heart.
“It stuck with me when Anthony Joshua said this because so many times we let failure affect us so deep that it keeps us from moving forward and getting ourselves back up.”
Sanchez left the class with Joshua's last piece of advice: “It’s okay to fail. We can’t be afraid of it. Failing is a way to grow and a lesson that shows you how not to fall the next time.”
Learning from celebrities first-hand is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students enrolled in The David Grutman Experience: The Class, but it isn’t everything.
“You’re part of a bigger chain of things," said Grutman, who emphasizes the importance of creating your own legacy for generations to come.
The David Grutman Experience: The Class ends next week. Week one started out with a visit from Dave Portnoy, President of Barstool Sports, who shared his humble vision of success and how important it is to pay it forward.
Students scored big during week two with a surprise visit from David Beckham, who laid out how to build your own brand. Week three of class transported students to one of the most well-known nightclubs in the world—LIV at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The club opened its doors for the first time in a year just for FIU students, who were met by the Miami Heat's DJ Irie and confetti cannons.