The Dave Grutman Experience offers real-world advice for all students

Dave Grutman’s last guest for the course was famous rapper Drake.

Fresa V. Straw | Contributing writer

The David Grutman Experience is a class from FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism and an amazing opportunity for all students regardless of their major to engage in real-world experience and advice from people of many successful backgrounds.

It’s the hospitality school’s third successful year hosting this course, with 400 students attending. The David Grutman Experience was not only an entertaining class that all students should consider but also first-hand advice offered by David Grutman, a restaurateur, on how to lead a successful business and life.

Grutman created Groot Hospitality in 2018, an iconic hospitality group that has brought nightclubs like LIV and restaurants like Papi Steak, Swan, Komodo and his latest one Gekko — a collaboration with reggaeton star Bad Bunny. The hospitality mogul is also involved in hotel projects like Goodtime Hotel with rapper and producer Pharrell Williams.

In his class, he offered a candid view of his operations and insight into his path to success from the beginning to the present day. While not only giving his advice, he invited famous guests over to tell their stories and share how they got started and the challenges they faced in their careers. 

Some guest speakers were film director Michael Bay, music producer DJ Khaled, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, talent manager Shep Gordon, fashion designer Victoria Beckham, Go Puff’s co-founder Rafael Llishayev and rapper Drake.

How can this benefit any student in hospitality? Well, for instance, students are encouraged to ask questions to the guests and, after the first week, the class feels more like an intimate chat with some big names in multiple industries.

Grutman and his guests teach the importance of loyalty, honesty and staying true to your vision and dream with the added element of discipline. Consistency is also one of the biggest takeaways from this class.

The class gave students, young and old, insight into the importance of building relationships in all aspects of our lives and how these relationships will transform and be beneficial in the long run— as we never know where we may end up in the future. 

As Grutman shares, many of the people he met in college now manage some of the most renowned DJs, which has given him some advantage in the nightlife business.

The important thing to highlight about this class is that it goes further than just a lineup of some of the most successful names out there — it’s the value of the experiences and messages they leave with all students. 

What truly resonates throughout their talks is the discussion about family and how that should always come first. Authenticity is another principle discussed throughout the class and each of the guests expressed how this is the essence of their success. 

The value of friendship and the power of what Grutman describes as “the coupon” — the ability to give and do for others with no expectation— building a line of connectivity that benefits you and them as well. The phrase “give, give and give,” is repeated over and over again in this class. 

Students that enrolled in this class also accessed real-life Cinderella stories that inspired everyone looking for direction into what they are doing. A perfect example is Victoria Beckham, who described the many challenges while in school, not being popular and getting bullied. 

But now, she’s one of the most recognized fashion designers in the world. Discipline, vision and determination lead her to where she is.

Taking this class will make you think critically about the choices you make while in school. Perhaps even further. 

Grutman and his guests repeatedly say “I love what I do” — which helps us feel and hear the determination they had in order to succeed and, ultimately “never take no for an answer.”

This is an inspirational class for anyone curious to hear stories of people who went through struggles just like us; Filled with dreams and hopes, fearful of defeat and challenges, always doubting and questioning but ended up embracing the struggles and turning them into opportunities. 

This class is for anyone with goals but scared to do something about it.

When the class opens registration next semester, take the chance to be inspired and reassess how you will approach your career.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.