Alum Brian Greczyn SBC’97, ’00, Shares Expertise and Guides Rutgers University–Camden Students

By Jeanne Leong

Brian Greczyn relishes working in an industry that makes children as well as adults smile.

“When I start talking about toys at a family dinner or cocktail party or events, people’s eyes light up,” says Greczyn, the senior director of sales at Mattel Toys. “Inevitably, you hear about their favorite toy or about their children’s favorite toy.”

Greczyn has been with the company for a total of 17 years. He left the company for a year in 2004, when the company transferred operations from its Mount Laurel building to its corporate headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. Greczyn worked for a year for the Church & Dwight Co. in Ewing, N.J., then returned to Mattel in 2005. He now works in his home office in West Hampton, N.J.

Greczyn’s deep ties to Rutgers University–Camden began in the 1990s. A 1997 graduate of the Rutgers School of Business–Camden, with a degree in marketing, Greczyn also received his MBA in 2000 from the school.

Beginning in 2005, he taught the course “Principles of Marketing” at the Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick campuses. When his work travel schedule started to pick up in 2010, he began teaching the class online.

Antony Muthangya poses with a sharp-toothed friend at New York City’s Toy Fair in 2015

One of the many fun aspects of Greczyn’s job includes attending the Toy Industry Association’s annual toy show in New York City. Open only to toy industry professionals and retailers, the American International Toy Fair is a trade show where industry professionals and retailers can see some of the upcoming popular toys. Each year, Greczyn takes two or three Rutgers–Camden students to the fair. The opportunity is available to students in the Business Leader Development Program (BLDP) at the Rutgers–Camden business school, which provides undergrads with enhanced leadership training, networking experience, and mentoring by faculty and business leaders from a variety of industries.

At the toy fair, Greczyn meets the students in the morning and together they walk through the Javits Center, which has been transformed into a gigantic toy box filled with hundreds of thousands of toys.

“It is pretty neat,” says Greczyn. “Who doesn’t like toys?”

Princess-themed items, action figures, dinosaurs, games, puzzles, and much more. As Greczyn walks with the students, he talks with them about the toy industry, covering topics from toy trends to the marketing of toys. The students have a chance to get an insider’s view of the toy industry.

“Typically, we will bump into some colleagues,” says Greczyn. “One year we ran into a couple of my customers and we sat and chatted. Another year, we ran into one of the public relations folks we used to work with who worked on the Tickle Me Elmo craze and spent 20 to 30 minutes talking.”

Greczyn makes time to remain involved at Rutgers. In addition to teaching, he is also a guest lecturer at a BLDP class each year. After he meets the students, he gives them his contact information and encourages them to reach out to him.

“This type of interest and loyalty to our students is second to none,” says Carol Kaufman-Scarborough, a professor of marketing and the BDLP’s director at the Rutgers–Camden business school. “He is most generous with his time in talking to students about job opportunities, and how to pursue jobs. He has gone out of his way to reconnect with students of mine who graduated over a year ago just to see if they need any help.” For Greczyn, his involvement with students is mutually beneficial.

“Some semesters, I learn more from the students than I think they learn from me, whether it is media consumption habits, or time management, or what they value,” says Greczyn. “For me it is very much two-way learning.”

Greczyn views his involvement at Rutgers partly as a way of showing his appreciation to the faculty, including Kaufman-Scarborough, Franklin Houston, and Robert Schindler, who supported him when he was a student.

“The faculty helped us chase down every crazy idea,” says Greczyn. “When we went to them looking for an internship, or to talk about the business world, their doors were always open. If I can give a little bit back of what they gave me and help someone become just a little bit better, or help them expand their network a little bit, it is a pleasure.”

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