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Daniel Grant ’17

Montclair State Paves a Path to Success for Daniel Grant ’17

Posted in: Alumni News and Events, Alumni Profiles

Montclair State has launched hundreds of thousands of successful careers over the course of its 114-year history. Sometimes, however, becoming a Red Hawk has an even more profound impact on a student’s life. Such was the case for Daniel Grant ’17, who studied Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing, Events and Tourism.

“I had no intention of going to college in New Jersey,” Grant says with a laugh. “I also was all over the map in terms of career paths, considering everything from criminal justice to cybersecurity. I was well into the application period when my parents encouraged me to consider a couple of state schools, too.”

Montclair State quickly rose to the top of the list. “Right away, I could see myself being part of Montclair State,” he says. “I couldn’t wait to visit again, and the next time I brought a friend from high school with me – I hadn’t even enrolled yet, and I was already giving my first campus tour!”

“No other campus I visited came close to the positivity and inclusiveness you find at Montclair State,” Grant continues. “It is a great place to explore and to decide what you want to do in life.”

Grant joined the ranks of the Montclair State Admissions Ambassadors at the start of his freshman year, giving him an outlet for his Red Hawk enthusiasm.

In fact, it was at an Ambassadors gathering that Grant found himself attracted to dance major Rebecca Siper ’17. “It was the day before students returned to campus for a new semester,” he recalls. “We spent the day preparing and later walked as a group from College Hall to Applegate Farms. We met again later in the Admissions Office, helping the staff stuff envelopes.”

The two continued to see each other around campus – snowball fights on the quad, snacks at the Red Hawk Diner, residence hall tours – and soon they were inseparable. Now married, their time at Montclair State is full of fond memories of their early relationship.

By the time Grant graduated in 2017, his career was on the fast track. “I went right into the hospitality industry, working for a firm that represents five-star luxury hotels around the world,” he says. “I learned a lot, but I found myself wanting to get back to New Jersey.”

Montclair State again proved to be a transformative force in Grant’s life, when he applied for a marketing position at ENV, an architectural/interior design firm with offices in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and California. “I interviewed with one of the firm’s owners who remembered me from a scholarship event at Montclair State,” he says.

One aspect of the ENV role that particularly appealed to Grant was the opportunity to work for the firm that designed the Feliciano School of Business. “I so enjoyed the open collaborative feel of the School of Business when I was a student,” he says. “I got to know the faculty and was able to learn from their experiences.”

“It was fascinating to learn how the very design of the building – the classrooms, the cafes, the labs – was intended to promote student interaction with each other and with the professors,” Grant adds.

Grant’s role expanded from marketing to representing the firm’s brand in the market and heading up business development. Today, he is Executive Director, overseeing account management, business development and marketing.

“There is never a dull moment,” he says. “It is exciting to see how demographics and real estate markets drive the architecture and design work we do. For example, a town that is projecting growth in the number of residents will need to consider how to adapt its schools and other public facilities to a larger population. My role requires that I learn and understand the community that surrounds a project, and to help the leaders there understand their own scenario. I get to draw on everything I learned at Montclair State, from business to life science.”

Grant cultivates a global perspective of his industry through his role as an elected Board Member of CoreNet Global New Jersey, an organization that advances the practice of corporate real estate. His affinity for the needs of communities and the people who live in them, however, is in many ways rooted in his immersion in Montclair State’s diverse and multicultural community.

“As a student, I coordinated school group tours for school districts across the State including work with the University’s EOF (Educational Opportunity Fund) students. “It was so exciting to be there for a student’s first-ever visit to the campus, or to see a high school student begin to see their future,” he says, noting that he has continued to give career talks for students at area charter and public schools.

Grant recently spoke with Montclair State students about launching their careers and attends alumni events when he can. He also stays connected to his alma mater through ENV’s involvement in the Red Hawk Open golf outings and athletic sponsorships. “In addition, over the years ENV has sponsored various scholarships at Montclair State,” he adds.

“The campus is even more amazing than ever,” he observes. “I can’t believe how much it has changed in the last five years. I hope – and encourage – students to take advantage of all of it. Get involved, reach out to the community. The connections you make at Montclair State will be valuable in the future. I mean, just look at my experience – I showed up at a scholarship dinner and a few years later, it led me to my dream career!”