stories | Alumni

Faith, Work, and the Surprise Tuxedo: A Q&A with Greg Grabowski

November 15, 2017 | Madison Peace

In 2002, Grzegorz (Greg) Grabowski moved from Poland to New York City to study at The King’s College. In 2006, he graduated with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. He now lives back in his native Poland and serves as the vice-president and director of production at a 450-person company that produces sweets and sends its products across the globe. Below, he answers a few questions about his work and his experience as an international student at King’s.

What is your current job, and how did you get to it from King’s?

I began my career planning to go into the corporate-trainings business. By God’s grace, after graduating from King’s, I received an internship in the training department at Nestlé and worked there for over a year. I then moved to the HR department at Samsung Electronics R&D. There, I helped them build out a team of over 400 software engineers to develop mobile devices. My main responsibilities at Samsung were recruiting the engineers and providing employer branding.

After my time at Samsung, I was able to move into training and consulting. I built and led soft-skill trainings for over 30 clients—mostly large corporations—in Poland, England, Germany, and Russia. I began to specialize in management and leadership trainings, a topic I learned a lot about during my four years at King’s and specifically through Dr. McMahan’s class. As a consultant, I began to learn more about production systems, Lean Management, and problem-solving methods. I enjoyed production, and when the opportunity came up to serve as a director of production, I took it. I’ve been working in this capacity for five years now.

How did King’s prepare you for your current work?

King’s prepared me for the job I am doing now in my ways. I learned about hard work and taking responsibility. I’ll share two stories as examples.

When I came to the U.S., I spoke English well but had never learned how to read and write in English. Not knowing the U.S. education system, I signed up for 19 credits during my first semester. One of my classes was College Writing I with Dr. Robert Jackson, which was very challenging for someone who had no experience with writing in English. At night, students had to leave the library when the school closed. Not knowing English well, I needed to put in more work and study a couple more hours after the library closed. One of the cleaning personnel in the Empire State Building (where the school was located at the time) used to let me into the library after hours, so I could finish my work. In my first year at King’s, there were many nights that I left the library an hour before the librarian came in the morning.

Another story is about cleaning. After the academic year ended, I was able to make some money by working for the school, cleaning dorms. I was told that I needed to clean the inside and outside of the windows. Cleaning the inside was no problem. But I did not know how to clean the outside. I was unfamiliar with the type of windows in the apartment building and did not know they could be flipped inside for easy and safe cleaning. So, I carefully walked outside of the building through the window, my feet on just a couple inches of the ledge and washed the outside of the windows. A growing group of spectators on 34th Street pointing fingers in my direction made me realize that, perhaps, this was not the best idea. But I knew that a job had to be done, and it was done.

In my current position, the most important thing I learned at King’s is the spirit of servant-leadership. I was transformed by this idea and it shapes my work every day. The servant leader has to make decisions, treat people with respect, and think not about what is comfortable for him but what is right and best for the employees and the company. He has to become the leader for the right reason and keep his ego restrained.

How do you see your work contributing to the kingdom of God?

Christ was the perfect leader. He developed his disciples, built others up, and persevered on His great mission. Even right before his arrest, he took responsibility and care for his disciples. As a leader in my company, I try to display Christ’s character as I fulfill my responsibilities each day. I integrate my faith into my interactions with my boss, employees, and business partners. My faith and my work cannot be separated.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at King’s?

Attending King’s was a life-changing experience. There are so many memories. I was challenged academically and developed as a leader and a Christian. I had the privilege of learning from many faculty and staff and I am even able to count some of them as friends.

One of my favorite memories at King’s was a time when the faculty showed me great love. As a foreign student, I was on a very tight budget. I was invited to attend an event for which I needed a tuxedo. I did not have money for a tuxedo, so I decided I would not go. One day, the dean of students, Duane Moeller, came up to me and told me that the faculty had bought a tuxedo for me. I could not believe it! I attended the event with great joy and thankfulness. During my time at King’s, God provided for me in every way. My four years there were a lesson in love and thankfulness, which cannot be learned from books. They can only be experienced.