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College of Business Alumni


Michael J. McGrath, Sr. - CEO, McGrath Auto Group
BS Management 1970

NIU alumnus and 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Mike McGrath visited campus on Friday, October 18 to participate in the College of Business Executive in Residence program and interact with students and faculty. As a guest of Dr. Tim Aurand, he presented in UBUS 310 on the importance of distribution (car dealerships) in the automobile industry.

In 1970, with business degree in hand, Mike pursued a career in a large corporation. He quickly realized that his entrepreneurial spirit did not fit the culture and with help from his dad, Mike purchased his first car dealership and found his passion.

Today, the McGrath Auto Group is among the most successful car businesses in the country. Mike, wife Kristina and his sons operate six dealerships: McGrath Lexus of Chicago, McGrath Lexus of Westmont, McGrath Acura of Chicago, McGrath Acura of Westmont, McGrath Honda and McGrath Hyundai.

Mike's lecture provided unique perspectives and career advice from an executive who has led his businesses through numerous turbulent economic environments. Additionally, he provided fascinating examples on marketing, sales and the importance of acquiring and promoting talented employees.

His strongest suggestion to students is to get involved in political and civic affairs. External factors influence the business environment. It is vitally important to have a network of contacts in order to have a voice in policies which impact the bottom line of many organizations and businesses.

About the Executive in Residence Program
Successful alumni give back to NIU by getting involved in the "Executive in Residence" (EIR) Program. The purpose of the program is to encourage successful alumni and friends to share their experiences in the business environment with College of Business students, re-enforcing our positioning statement, "Where the Classroom Meets the Business World." Enthusiastic and talented alumni tell real-life stories and give an insider's perspective of life outside the NIU campus. These EIR sessions equip our students with practical tools and mentorship to prepare them for life after graduation.

See entire Executive in Residence schedule.